Dr Dre is set to launch a new music streaming service, Beats Music, in January. Dre first announced the service late last year under the name Daisy, and originally built it out of the streaming service MOG, but will launch it with the Beats Music brand in January 2014.
He previously appointed Nine Inch Nails bandleader Trent Reznor as chief creative officer on the project, who in an interview last year talked up the “intelligent curation” that would be a feature of the site – moving away from the algorithmically-derived recommendations of Spotify, and towards artist-curated playlists and suggestions. “It’s like having your own guy when you go into the record store, who knows what you like but can also point you down some paths you wouldn’t necessarily have encountered,” said Reznor.
In a blog post, the CEO of Beats Music, Ian Rogers, announced that as of today users can register their preferred username with the service, and that “we’re providing a few artists and other influencers access to familiarize them with the service and get their early feedback.”
A source told Reuters in March that Beats Music was at one point in discussion with Apple, whose own iTunes Radio streaming service launched in September, but it appears there has been no tie-up between the two. Beats Music raised $60m investment in March of this year, with a large proportion coming from Access Industries, owner of Warner Music Group. Beats Electronics, which manages the Beats By Dre lines, was valued at over $1bn earlier this year following a sale of a stake to the Carlyle Group, which made Dre himself around $250m.
Jimmy Iovine, CEO of Beats Electronics, said of the streaming service: “Right now, these things are all utilities. It’s give me your credit card, here’s 12 million songs, good luck… We have an entire generation that was brought up on sound being inferior, and sound is the only conduit for emotion that we have. We’ve had ten very bad years in the audio industry. So we want the best possible quality, and it will have global scale. So it will be a balance of those things.”
Beats Music joins a crowded marketplace with Spotify still leading the pack and close competitor Deezer planning a US launch in 2014. YouTube is also planning a premium streaming service – essentially Spotify blended with music video.