Talking tech since 2003

Today, CNET points the way back to a blog post by Ian Rogers, the CEO of Beats Music, the forthcoming music streaming subsidiary of Beats Electronics. According to the post, the new streaming service will launch in the United States on January 2014.

I just wish I knew why.

The post by Rogers says that Beats Music is currently in private beta, and that the company has been “providing a few artists and other influencers access to familiarize them with the service and get their early feedback.” The CNET post mentions Beats’ purchase of MOG, “an on-demand subscription service.” Presumably, Beats Music will take some kind of shape resembling whatever MOG was doing. Other than that, there is little to no information about what, if anything, will set Beats Music apart from the rest of the music streaming services that are struggling to stay solvent.

Just yesterday we heard that Spotify—arguably the biggest name in music streaming right now—is offering artists analytic tools in order to try and help sell the skeptical among them on the service. Meanwhile, Apple’s iTunes Radio is struggling, it’s been ages since Pandora has been relevant, and the rumored music streaming service from YouTube—which, I must remind you, is a Google subsidiary—is believed to have been delayed. So the question must be raised: what can Beats Music do that none of these other services can? Beats me.

I have some ideas of my own, primarily that a subscription-based music streaming service ought to take a page from Netflix’s book, and offer exclusive content in return for a monthly membership fee. I can imagine Beats using its connection with co-founder Doctor Dre to secure some exclusive hip hop artists or albums to drive subscriptions and make Beats Music a desirable destination. Other than something like that, I can’t really see a way for the company to distinguish itself from the other services trying and failing to make music streaming a viable business.

That said, I’m not a business man, and I literally have no idea what Beats Music has up its sleeve. That’s kind of the whole point of disruptive technology: it’s going to give users something they never even knew that they desperately want and need. I’d love to have Beats Music debut next month and wow me, silencing all critics, and emerging as a clear innovator in the world of digital music. But until then, I won’t hold my breath.

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