Talking tech since 2003

Look out, Spotify, you’re about to get some new competition – the long rumored Beats Music service will be launching on January 21st on all major platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows. Beats is promoting the service as a mix between computer algorithms and human curation as a way to recommend new music, as opposed to the likes of Pandora and iTunes Radio which solely rely on algorithms to get the job done.

Unlike Spotify, there will be no free option here – instead, customers will have to pay a $9.99/month subscription fee to get access to their music, and streaming options will be limited to just three devices. If you need more than that, you’ll need to both be an AT&T customer and cough up $14.99/month for the Beats Music family plan. That’s right, AT&T has managed to scoop up exclusive rights to the Family Plan – though thankfully it won’t be taking advantage of that Sponsored Data mess that the mobile carrier announced earlier this week.

The service will reportedly launch with around 20 million songs, all of which will be available for both streaming online and downloading and playing offline for as long as you keep up your Beats Music subscription. Of course, the second you cancel your subscription you’ll be stuck with a bunch of music files that don’t do a whole lot of nothing – Beats will be deploying some sort of DRM scheme to make sure that these downloaded files aren’t able to be shared, similar to what Spotify does with their offline files.

Not convinced? Beats is willing to let you try the service totally free of charge for a total of 7 days (30 days, if you’re an AT&T customer, or 90 days for those trying out the family plan) while you make a decision. All in all, this doesn’t seem like a terrible subscription – as long as they’ve got the content, one could easily make an argument for the price. But considering how excellent Spotify is at this music streaming game, I’d say that Beats has an uphill mountain to climb.

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