GigaOm gets a view of how Beats instructs human curators to program playlists for new service

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 1:10pm

Music subscription services have lately shown a greater understanding of the power and need for musical "gatekeepers" or curators to help users parse the oceans of music to discover that which they're likely to enjoy (just lately, see Spotify Browse  and Rdio Stations). In radio, of course, these wise sherpas have been called "programmers."

Beats Music (more in RAIN here) has stated that effective curation is its guiding principle as it rebuilds the Mog service (we've covered this here).

GigaOm got access to some Beats Music "internal guidance" for the musicians and freelancers who are creating playlists for the new service. These programmers are working with a web authoring system to sample songs and build playlists that Beats Music editors request (apparently focused on artists, genres, years, and listener activity -- and less than 70 minutes long).

"Beats Music definitely doesn’t want to sound like college radio. It wants human curation, but no strong DJ characters, with the exception of those well-known musicians asked to participate," writes Janko Roettgers for GigaOm. "Freelancers are told to 'beware of personal whims' and 'avoid overly clever transitions.' Oh, and 'talking down to listeners' isn’t desired, either. Record store clerks apparently don’t need to apply."

Read GigaOm here.

A "daisy" no longer, Beats names upcoming music service "Beats Music"

Monday, August 12, 2013 - 1:00pm

Beats Electronics has officially named its upcoming music service Beats Music, reports Hypebot.

Beats Music (it's working name was "Daisy") is now advertising career positions for designers and engineers on its website here.

Beats Electronics (the headphone maker) employs luminaries like Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, and former Topspin and Yahoo! Music head Ian Rogers. Beats owns on-demand service MOG, but says it wants to develop an online service backed by expert curation as well as machine intelligence to enable music discovery better than competitors (read more in RAIN here).

Read Hypebot's coverage here.

CNet: With music services so reliant on mobile, bundling makes sense

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 12:20pm

A CNet report says Beats Electronics is negotiating with AT&T to launch its music-streaming service Daisy bundled with mobile data plans.

The goal for Beats would be to build up a large audience in a very short time -- in a sense, to "catch up" on competitors like Spotify and Google. Key for AT&T is Beats' "well-established brand," says CNet. AT&T might see it as a worthy partner to drive phone and data sales plans.

Beats owns the online streaming service MOG now. The company says they'll differentiate their new service by making it more focused on "curation," that is, programming designed by musical experts.

CNet writes, "With mobile at the center of all music offerings now, partnering with a big carrier makes good sense. There is also precedent for successful tie-ins, although no big examples in the United States. Spotify, for instance, captured a huge chunk of the Swedish population when, in 2009, it tied up with telco Telia -- an example that music label execs point to as showing the potential of bundling with wireless carriers."

Read more in CNet here.

Beats reportedly talking to Apple about Daisy music service; picks up $60M in new funding

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 12:30pm

Apple is reportedly in talks with Beats Electronics on a possible music streaming service partnership.

Sources say Apple CEO Tim Cook and Internet products chief Eddy Cue met with Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine to learn more about the Beats' upcoming "Daisy" streaming music service.

Relatedly, Beats announced yesterday $60 million in new funding for the project from an investment group that includes Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik, to bankroll the service's planned late-2013 launch.

It was early last September when word first leaked that Apple was planning to launch its own customizable streaming music service (RAIN coverage here) -- but on that was more of an Internet radio/Pandora competitor.

Beats is the Dr. Dre/Iovine company that makes the popular Beats headphones, and owns music subscription service MOG (which is being rebuilt as "Daisy"). At CES in January, Iovine told AllThingsDigital's Peter Kafka he'd long been trying to push the late Apple founder Steve Jobs towards creating a streaming music subscription service (see RAIN coverage here). Also at CES, Iovine and his company named former Yahoo! Music and Topspin CEO Ian Rogers (RAIN coverage here) CEO of Daisy. More on Daisy in RAIN here.

Read more about Apple and Beats from here and Reuters here.

Beats chief Iovine says he was pushing Steve Jobs for an Apple streaming service

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 12:25pm

Beats Electronics CEO (and Universal Music exec and record industry legend) Jimmy Iovine thinks that when it comes to creating a music service that fans will embrace, the tech guys don't stand a chance.

"I was shocked at how culturally inept most consumer electronics companies are... You can build Facebook, you can build YouTube, you can build Twitter — you can be a tech company and do that," he told AllThingsDigital's Peter Kafka at CES. "Subscription [music] needs a programmer. It needs culture. And tech guys can’t do that. They don’t even know who to hire. They’re utilities."

Obviously, Iovine has faith that his company, with "guys who know music and culture" like himself, Dr. Dre, and Trent Reznor at the helm, is far more suited to creating the killer streaming music experience.

"[Other music subscription] companies, these services, all lack curation... There’s no curation. That’s what we did as a record label, we curated," he said. "We are heavy on curation, and we believe it’s a combination of human and math... Right now, somebody’s giving you 12 million songs, and you give them your credit card, and they tell you 'good luck.' You need to have some kind of help. I’m going to offer you a guide... a trusted voice, and it’s going to be really good."

Interestingly, Iovine says he'd long been trying to push the late Apple founder Steve Jobs towards creating a streaming music subscription service.

"He wasn’t keen on it right away. [Beats co-founder] Luke Wood and I spent about three years trying to talk him into it... He didn’t want to pay the record companies enough. He felt that they would come down, eventually... I think in the end Steve was feeling it, but the economics... he wanted to pay the labels [for subscriptions], but [the fees were] not going to be acceptable to them."

At CES, Iovine and his company named former Yahoo! Music and Topspin CEO Ian Rogers (RAIN coverage here) CEO of Beats' music subscription service, codenamed "Daisy" (which will likely be a repurposed MOG, which Beats owns). More on Daisy in RAIN here.

Read the AllThingsDigital interview with Beats' Iovine here.

New Beats exec is former Yahoo! Music chief

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 11:10am

Beats Electronics has named Ian Rogers as CEO of its new music project "Daisy." Rogers will also become part of the leadership of Beats-owned music subscription service MOG.

We reported on Beats' Daisy project in RAIN here.

Rogers has been CEO of Topspin Media (a tech provider of retail and marketing software for musicians and other content creators) since 2008, after a stint as general manger of Yahoo! Music (including, at the time, Yahoo's online radio service).

Billboard reports, "Daisy... is Beats' revamping of the former MOG service, which Beats acquired last year. The service is set to launch in late 2013 as a stand-alone company under the Beats Electronics umbrella." Daisy's chief creative officer is Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor.

Read more in Billboard here. and in AllThingsDigital here.

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