You know about Apple, the electronics giant, and you've probably heard of Beats by Dre, the company famous for their headphones. But did you know the companies are connected?
In 2008 Beats Electronics (which operates Beats by Dre) opened for business, and partway through 2014 Apple bought them out. While Beats by Dre focuses on music equipment, Beats Music (also operated under this company) provides music streaming. And even though they're new and only available in the US, they've got competitive features and a growing reputation.
Founded by Jimmy Iovine and rapper Dr. Dre, Beats Music was first developed in 2012 and officially launched in January 2014. Initially referred to as Daisy, this streaming service detects individuals' music preferences and uses algorithms to personalize their stations.
So what makes Beats Music stand out?
They emphasize hearing all of the music-every note and every beat-which isn't surprising considering they're associated with Beats by Dre, the people with phenomenal headphones. Rather than giving you a subpar experience with music, Beats strives to provide the best audio quality and optimal songs.
To start out, Beats Music is pretty user-friendly.
Signing up is simple. To create an account, you provide your email address, birth date, gender, and phone number, and you create a username and password. Like some competitors, Beats features "love" and "dislike" buttons to indicate your preferences. There's even a feature to "Fill In the Sentence," in which you insert your location, mood, etc. and then enjoy a corresponding playlist. Features like these allow Beats Music to detect, track, and match your tastes.
But that's not exactly rare in the music streaming industry.
Similar to many competitors, Beats charges $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. What some companies don't offer, however, are family accounts for customers with AT&T. No matter the account, you can download tracks and listen to them offline. (And offline listening is a major pro in and of itself!) But individual accounts can do this with three devices while families can listen offline with up to ten.
With Beats Music, you'll also enjoy accessibility to a variety of devices. They sync well with Web, Android, iOS, and Windows, so most of your bases are covered. They also stream music at up to 320 kbps, which bodes well for having a positive streaming experience. The higher the audio quality, the more sound you'll hear. And after all, Beats strives to bring the best, fullest sound possible.
The Beats website is simple with very few links. Fewer links means less clutter, which makes their services even more user-friendly. To use Beats Music, you do have to pay a fee, but you get what you pay for. With a subscription, you'll enjoy interruption-free streaming (that's right-no ads!) as well as unlimited downloading. Their 20 million track library is worthy of mentioning, so that unlimited downloading comes in handy.
For better or worse, no ads means you pay the price. Beats Music doesn't offer a free version, which is a definite con for anyone looking for inexpensive streaming. Their free trial length is also shorter than most-no more than 14 days.
The fact that their website has very few links serves as both a pro and a con. Sure, you have less clutter and enjoy simple navigation. But sometimes it's difficult to find answers to your questions because of this. Instead of providing too much information, their site almost makes you hunt around for FAQs and help pages.
Despite its growing reputation, Beats Music is also extremely new. They've only been around since 2014, so they don't have the years of experience some competitors do. Being new, they've still had time to learn from other companies' mistakes, but they're just fresh enough that they might still need to work out some kinks.
Other limitations of Beats Music are relatively minor. Their streaming is currently available in only the US, which means you can't travel with them. In addition, you can only download their songs to your device; you can't upload your own tunes to your online library. Depending on your preferences, these factors could make or break your decision to stream with them.
The Bottom Line
Beats Music emphasizes one thing: hearing all of your music. Without the right headphones, speakers, bit rate, and accessibility, music can easily become background noise rather than the emotional, fulfilling sound that adds to your day. Furthermore, ads and other interruptions can be distracting and intrude on your experience. With that ideal in mind, Beats Music strives to provide access to a variety of tracks, excellent sound quality, and personalization features.
All that sounds great, but, admittedly, Beats Music is quite young in the streaming industry, and you do have to pay to enjoy their features. If you're willing to pay the fee and take a risk on a newer service, you'll probably love everything this company has to offer.