If you can imagine me shaking my first towards the air as I say this—”I remember when we only had one or two internet radio services to choose from, and we liked them!” That’s no longer the case, as every phone manufacturer has their own radio app now, in addition to the tried and true Rdio, Spotify, and Slacker Radio third parties that are still lingering around in the market.
One of the newest contenders is Beats Music—one of the biggest names in the home music industry right now. Whatever your opinion is on the quality of Beats hardware is irrelevant, as the brand has taken the world by storm and amassed quite a fortune over the past few years, launching its own radio service to rule them all.
Beats’ primary focus is customization and taste. After booting the program up (and signing up for its 14-day free trial, or $10 per month service), it’ll immediately ask you what your favorite genres and artists are in a nice easy to read bubble-like UI. You can eliminate stuff you hate, tap once for “like,” and tap twice for “love.” It’s a nice little exercise that’s very easy to do and very effective in terms of giving you what you want right off the bat.
Beats Music also has a team of employees curating music at a decent rate, which helps people figure out what to listen to without resorting to robotic recommendation algorithms. One big customization though is “The Sentence,” which is probably one of the most useless, trendy additions I’ve ever seen in an app. By use of a miniature game of Mad Libs (with nonsensical phrases like “selfie” and “no regrets” as choices), you’ll choose your “mood,” which will generate a playlist. It’s fun to do once and then ever again—instead, I’d rather they scrap the feature and add more to relevant areas.
In terms of playback functionality Beats Music is rather bare-bones. You can pause, skip, shuffle, and like or unlike songs. It all plays into the recommendation system, which is quite nice at a base level, but that’s about all you’re going to get. The good news is that said tracks are actually 320 Kbps MP3s, which is the top-end of quality for streaming programs—Beats also boasts 20 million tracks, a lot of which are relevant and not throwaway tracks.
Where Beats really shines is longevity. Due to the nature of the Beats name, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s star power, you can expect the brand to be around for a long, long while—especially with Apple’s recent purchase. This ensures that you’re buying into an ecosystem that will last, and not potentially fold like a number of other services. Having said that, those services generally outperform Beats Music right now, but be sure to keep an eye on it as it adds more and more functionality.
Beats Music is an app that can be downloaded for free in the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.