Tag Archives: streaming music

Will Beats Music ‘beat’ the streaming music competition? Not with their technology they won’t.

UPDATE: I’ve reviewed the Beats app and you can check it out here.

Beats Music iOS

There’s a new player in the streaming music game, Beats Music.

Yes, Beats as in “Beats By Dre.”

Now at this point, I’d be telling you all about the ‘test drive’ I took of the app, and my general impressions.

But noooo. Beats Music isn’t that simple.

You see, I downloaded the app today, but getting up and running was anything but straightforward.

At the signup page, there were two options: “Sign Up” and “Log In.”

Beats Music Sign Up

I hit “Sign Up” as the service is new and I didn’t think I could use my MOG account.

After completing a few fields, I got a “Registration is Processing” alert.

Beats Music Registration is Processing

Processing? Am I being vetted?

So I took the other route and hit “Log In”.

What’s the harm right?

There was an option to login using either Facebook or Twitter.

Beats Music Log In Facebook or Twitter

I selected Facebook and after a few more pre-populated data entry fields, I got to a “You’re Almost Ready” screen, which I took to mean that I was almost done.

But noooo. Beats Music isn’t that simple.

When I hit “Submit” the screen kinda acted like it wanted to go on to the next step, but stalled.

I tried to click submit several times and several times the app almost did something, and then gave up.

Eventually, I got a “We’re Having Connection Problems.” message and gave up.

Beats Music We're Having Connection Problems.

So I can’t tell you whether Beats Music is any good or not.

But if you look at their website, it’s awesome.

Beats Music Site

It’s only logical that Dr. Dre brings his storied music brand to the streaming music arena.

Who better to help you curate the music thats playing on your Beats By Dre headphones than Dre himself?

Now I have no idea if Dr. Dre actually has anything to do with the introduction of Beats Music, but who cares?

Beats Music is actually a collaboration by Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor.

The fact is that you now have (yet) another streaming service for your iOS or Android device.

If Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, et als aren’t doing it for you, theres a new player ready to disappoint!

And I say disappoint because unlike the other players, who offer ad-free and ad-supported versions of their streaming services, Beats Music has only one speed: premium.

That’s right. Beats Music is a pay to play stream service.

After the seven day trial expires, you’re going to have to fork over $9.99 a month for the privilege of spotty streaming service.

I’m sure it will be great to listen to a stream without those damned commercial interruptions.

That’s because one of Beats Music’s selling points is it’s music curation.

Unlike radio, whose music is determined by some music programmer, or most other streaming services, whose playlists are determined by some algorithm, Beats Music’s titles are curated by real people.

Allegedly, Beats Music employs a bunch of so-called ‘music experts’ to curate it’s playlists, which should mean a better listening experience.

That should be a welcome change to folks who don’t want bots telling them what to listen to.

I’d much rather have my music choices picked by a music nerd than a bot any day!

More important than the human music selection of Beats Music, is the heavy brand recognition that they’ve already built up.

If I had to put up money on who was going to come out on top of the whole steaming music competition, I’d have to go with the guys who have already proven themselves at getting folks ot part with their cash for substandard shit.

If you’re going to part ways with several hundred dollars for a pair of booty ‘branded’ headphones, it’s not a stretch that you’ll part with a few buck a month to listen to a ‘branded’ stream.

Now, I’ve yet to check out whether Beats Music is materially different from other streaming services, in terms of content.

I can say that Beats Music SUCKS in terms of technology because the damn thing doesn’t even work.

Perhaps the demand is so great that their servers are down – yeah that’s the ticket – and they’re overwhelmed with traffic.

Perhaps I will get an email and my registration will go through – one day.

Or perhaps not and I’ll be ignorant of Beats Music forever.

But if this snafu is illustrative of what the rest of the Beats Music experience is like – I’ll keep my $10, thank you very much.

Note to self: update this post if you do get an update from Beats Music.

 

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Battle of the Blah: Streaming Pandora, Live 365, Spotify or iTunes Radio sucks

Streaming iTunes Radio is like Chinese Water Torture.

Streaming iTunes Radio is like Chinese Water Torture.

Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of music on streaming services.

Ever since I was banned from using my personal computer at the job, I’ve had to rely on other means for getting my music fix on.

You see, I have a massive sizeable music library, far too big for an iPod or portable music player.

And as I am loathe to allocate precious memory space on my phone to music, I’ve had to rely on alternate means to soothe my inner savage beast.

Back in the day, I used to rock Pandora hard.

I made a few stations based on artists I liked and was content for a hot second.

But when I realized that was listening to the same 15-20 songs over and over again, it quickly lost is luster.

Then there was last.fm.

Same difference as Pandora – except you could scrobble.

Someone suggested 365 Live as an alternative, and for a while I was content.

I’d primarily listen to their Classical or Jazz stations, and every once in a while stray to their Reggae offering (mistake).

I came across Spotify one day, and decided to give it a try.

In addition to their genres, you could create your own playlist or listen to radio stations built around artists or songs you like.

The problem with Spotify, aside from the annoying ads every three songs, is the repetitious nature of its playlists.

If you listen for more than an hour or to the same station multiple times, invariably you’re going to hear the same songs over and over again.

Now there’s one thing I don’t understand, each of these services claims to have millions of songs, but all of them suffer from repetition.

They all have ads (in the free versions) that pop up more frequently than terrestrial radio, and although they don’t last nearly as long, they’re annoying nonetheless.

For all that, I might as well simply listen to the actual radio.

At least then I’m under no delusion that I’ll experience variety.

But a few weeks ago, after I got my iPhone 5s, I noticed something new in iTunes.

Radio.

Do my eyes deceive me?

I don’t remember iTunes having a radio.

Scanning my memory banks, I did recall some mention of iTunes Radio at the WWDC.

But it was buried in the iOS 7 hoopla, and quickly faded from memory.

Having discovered the radio button in my dock, I decided to give it a go, and quickly created several stations.

The good thing about iTunes Radio is the absence of a learning curve.

Hit any one of the preset stations and you’re off.

Making a new station is as simple as pressing a “+” button and typing in the name of the artist or song you want to create a station around.

iTunes Radio does the rest.

Initially, I was pleased.

iTunes Radio seemed robust and the music was varied and (at first blush) non-repetitious.

But then it happened.

The commercials.

The repetition.

The random song unrelated to the artist or genre I had selected.

Worse than that though, was the spotty service.

Streaming iTunes Radio seemed to be worse than the other streaming services I used.

Now, to be fair, all streaming services suffer from some defect in playback.

But iTunes Radio seems to drop at an inordinately higher rate than Spotify, Pandora, Live365 or last.fm.

Waiting for iTunes Radio to connect (or reconnect as was often the case) was like Chinese Water Torture.

The anticipation was unbearable, especially when you were in the groove.

Despite my initial enthusiasm, iTunes Radio was no better than the rest.

It does provide you with the ability to purchase songs you hear on the fly, but so what?!

In the final analysis, streaming music apps are often more trouble than they’re worth.

I resign myself to the fact that I just have to devote some of my device’s precious memory to storing music.

Because streaming is for the birds!

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