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Introducing Tune Your Taste and Sentence History

While you’ve been out beaching, boating, and basking in the sunshine this summer, here at Beats Music we’ve been busy making sure it’s simple to find something great to listen to. We’ve focused our efforts on the two things that inspired Beats Music in the first place… personalization and curation. Here are some new features now available in Beats Music…

Tune Your Taste: Now you can edit and add to the music and artist preferences you shared when you first set up your Beats Music account. You may have been so anxious to get started you forgot to mention you also love The Beach Boys, Fall Out Boy and Backstreet Boys – not just Soulja Boy. C’mon, you know who you are! Now you can fine-tune those preferences, allowing us to scratch your musical itch more specifically. Remember — sometimes it’s not where you end up but how you get there that matters.

Sentence History: You asked and we listened. It is now possible to view a list of the songs most recently played using The Sentence feature, so you can “heart” the songs you like most, add them to playlists or your library, or simply replay them. Many of you have told us how much new music you’re discovering while using The Sentence, so we want to make sure those newly found favorite songs aren’t lost in the shuffle.

Additionally, we’ve increased the number of playlists added to the Just for You rotation, and further diversified the range of artists we’ve added to the album recommendation pool.

We understand how personal the music you love is and providing the absolute best premium music experience is a responsibility we don’t take lightly.

Enjoy!

Apple to Acquire Beats Music & Beats Electronics

CUPERTINO, California—May 28, 2014—Apple® today announced it has agreed to acquire the critically acclaimed subscription streaming music service Beats Music, and Beats Electronics, which makes the popular Beats headphones, speakers and audio software. As part of the acquisition, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple. Apple is acquiring the two companies for a total of $3 billion, consisting of a purchase price of approximately $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” said Jimmy Iovine. “The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special.”

Iovine has been at the forefront of innovation in the music industry for decades, and he has been an instrumental partner for Apple and iTunes® for more than a decade. He has produced or collaborated with some of the most successful artists in the history of the iTunes Store®, helping make it the world’s number one music retailer. Iovine and Dr. Dre are sound pioneers, artists and entrepreneurs.

Beats Electronics has brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio back to the listening experience and has introduced an entirely new generation to premium sound entertainment. Beats Music was developed by a team of people who have each spent their entire career in music and provides music fans with an incredible curated listening experience.

“Music is such an important part of Apple’s DNA and always will be,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The addition of Beats will make our music lineup even better, from free streaming with iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service in Beats, and of course buying music from the iTunes Store as customers have loved to do for years.”

In just five years since launch, the Beats “b” has become the brand of choice in the music and sports worlds, and is the market leader in the premium headphone market. Music superstars including Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj have designed their own customized Beats headphones and speakers. Fashion designers and street artists such as Alexander Wang, Futura and Snarkitecture have collaborated on special limited products, while renowned athletes including LeBron James, Serena Williams and Neymar use Beats as a critical part of their training and game day process. Beats has quickly become part of pop culture in the US and with the acquisition the Beats product lineup will be offered in many more countries through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

Subject to regulatory approvals, Apple expects the transaction to close in fiscal Q4.

Formally established in 2008 as the brainchild of legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre and Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics (Beats) comprises the Beats by Dr. Dre family of premium consumer headphones, earphones, and speakers as well as patented Beats Audio software technology and streaming music subscription service Beats Music. Through these offerings, Beats has effectively brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio to the listening experience and has introduced an entirely new generation to the possibilities of premium sound entertainment.

Beats Music is a subscription streaming music service that focuses on providing a personalized music experience for each user through a unique blend of digital innovation and musical passion. Programmed by a trusted team of well-respected music experts with over 300 years of experience across all genres, Beats Music delivers the right music for any situation, any time, and any preference, personalized to your tastes. The result is an artist-friendly digital music service that does more than simply offer access to music, but one that establishes an emotional connection to it as well.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Introducing the Beats Audio Manager

In the two months since we launched the Beats Music Developer Platform at SXSW 2014, over 500 applications have begun development. We also participated in Mashery’s SXSW Circus Mashimus, and the first ever SXSW Music Hackathon Championship. The feedback has been nothing short of amazing. We have listened, and we have learned.

In response, we are proud to share with you our Beats Audio Manager, a web playback library that makes it easy for developers to play audio in their web applications. Beats Music subscribers will be able to listen to full-length songs directly from your site. Check out the developer portal on how to get started, and view live examples.

This is only the beginning. We will continue to simplify playback on all platforms. We’re incredibly encouraged by what we’ve seen developed using the platform so far.

Check out Beats on Air by Blake Farabi:
http://www.beats-onair.com/

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to reach out on Stack Overflow or shoot us an email at beatsplatform@beatsmusic.com.

Beats Music x Revolt TV x Afrojack Live

Afrojack’s new album Forget the World drops this Monday, and Beats Music is teaming up with Revolt TV to celebrate. The Dutch invasion starts with an Afrojack set live from Hollywood on May 19, and will be streamed on Revolt TV the next day – May 20th (check local listings for times). But that’s not all– 25 lucky listeners (plus their guests) will have a chance to be a part of it all with VIP tickets to the gig. Just head over to Afrojack’s page in Beats Music to register before 4:30 pm PST on Sunday.

Don’t trip if you miss out on this one, there are plenty more #BeatsSeats opportunities on the horizon.

Until then, check a pre-stream of three exclusive tracks from Afrojack’s Forget the World before it comes out, only on Beats Music.

You won’t want to miss this one. Contest valid until May 18th, 2014

afrojack_giveaway

Trans-Atlanticism: Taking the streaming music debate to England and Eire

Ace Shoreditch London

I’ve just returned from two weeks in England and Eire giving talks and taking meetings both public and private on the subject of streaming music services. As Artist & Music Industry Advocate for Beats Music, one of my goals was to flush the streaming music services debate out of the shadows, calm the rhetoric (which has been increasingly harsh on both sides of the pond), and address the misinformation that’s been spreading like wildfire through online media outlets.

It was quite an eye-opener (as well as an ear-opener, as I believe listening trumps talking… listen carefully and you hear the unspoken bon mots that slip out as asides, words that reveal truths or hard-held positions). For starters, attendees at my talks during the Q&A period seemed willing to accept the difficulties inherent in creating a new model recording industry. They understand that a one-size-fits-all model is neither attainable nor is it beneficial. They appear to be more aware than their American counterparts that streaming music services pay the record labels and that the royalty splits are predicated upon the terms of the contracts between artists and labels. And finally, there was no acrimonious finger-pointing about who may have “wronged” musicians in the digital era. In other words, the future has arrived and we are living in it.

But I did hear a few things that I’d like to address. Let me start with an analogy: In Miloš Forman’s movie Amadeus, we hear Emperor Joseph II say to the young Mozart: “My dear young man, don’t take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It’s quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that’s all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect.” Mozart replies: “Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?”

I’d like to cut some words. Here’s a few: disruption, innovation, fair.

Disruption

This is overused and often in the wrong context. I’ve been guilty in the past of applying that word regarding the effects the Internet has had on culture, society and business. After two decades I feel it’s time to stop using it when referring to systems such as the recorded music industry, as I now see that adaptation has occurred in that system, and progress has been made, however incrementally.

Innovation

Innovation is messy, expensive and hard. It often requires large amounts of money, therefore truly beneficial innovative products—ones we all hanker after—are actually quite rare. Nothing proves this point more than when stock market analysts accuse a company of no longer being “innovative.” The market demands more even though those analysts don’t even know what products they would like to see delivered. So they undervalue the company’s shares.

Fair

In a digital era, some musicians complain that things are unfair. But what exactly is unfair in the music marketplace? Unfairness implies cheating, but who’s cheating exactly? It’s neither fair nor unfair that digital distribution is becoming the predominant way to access music. It just is. When we note that people want to access their favorite music on mobile devices is that unfair? Again, no.

I also came away with some interesting notions to ponder. In a private meeting in London with members of the board of the Featured Artists Coalition, I was heartened to hear that those present understood that streaming music services currently provide the best option for the rebuilding of a system that has been in decline for almost two decades. One thing that was mentioned was the idea of a streaming music service like Beats Music being a “retailer.” I’ve been trying to think that one through. I consider iTunes a retailer, yet see streaming music services as “distributors.” Am I wrong? I’m not certain, but it would make for an interesting discussion for managers, artists and labels when addressing the terms of any contract.

Leaving London I flew to Dublin to speak at the National College of Ireland, then went on to Bristol where I spoke twice: first at BIMM and later the same day at the Festival of Ideas Bristol. It’s always interesting to get in front of students – they tend to be more open-minded as their future is not yet baked. The students at BIMM Bristol believe that the illegal downloading of music is in decline, simply because they observe their own actions and those of their peers. They understand that never having to pay for music is a non-starter if we expect to see a flourishing and sustainable recorded music industry.

We also discussed the talk of “devaluing” music and found agreement that when people talk of “devaluation” it is about music’s worth on open markets and other exchanges as a good. Music is not “valued” that way by music fans. It’s clear that everyone must work hard to ensure that musicians get their rightful rewards for making music while reminding them that success relies upon a strange mixture of talent, charisma and timing.

I mentioned above that I’d like to cut out some words from the debate, yet I’d like to add a couple – perseverance and resilience. The biggest surprise for me during my visit abroad was that everyone I met was interested in discussing the future of music. It was clear that some thought had been put into the possibility of streaming music being the answer to the decline of music sales. In the USA, the conversation always seems to begin and end with the economics of the new paradigm. In my conversations in the UK & Eire, the machinations of how royalties might flow were left to one side. It’s still the elephant in the room but it was not the foremost consideration in the debate over how we might create an entirely new recorded music industry.

In an unexpected development, it was interesting to return home to find that Steve Albini thinks the Internet solved the problem with music.

Still, the future is not yet written.

[Here's a social media timeline of my trip from Storify.]

Introducing the Beats Music iPad App

The majority of our listeners are using Beats Music on their iOS device, iPhone or iPad. Until today, to find and use Beats Music on an iPad, they had to download the iPhone app to their iPad and use the small-screen version on the bigger screen.  We’re proud today to announce the arrival of Beats Music for iPad, the first version of Beats Music optimized for the larger tablet screen.

To celebrate, we’re giving away a year-long subscription to Beats Music and an iPad to one lucky fan on Twitter. To enter for your chance to win, follow @BeatsMusic and retweet this promotional message. For more details, see the official rules.

All the features from the iPhone app — Just For You, The Sentence, Highlights, Playlists by Genre, Activity, and Curators — plus the ability to find artists, albums tracks, and playlists bookmarked for later are included in the iPad app. Listeners can change their profile, make a playlist and share it with the world, as well as download music to the iPad to listen on the plane or anywhere, even if there’s no Internet connection. And it’s all available now on a larger screen, both in portrait or landscape.

But this is more than just about a bigger screen. The iPad is the gateway to streaming music inside the home. According to recent research, 80% of all tablet use takes place in the home, with most of that taking place in the living room. What’s more, entertainment apps (like music) account for more than half of tablet usage, more than any other category combined. Beats Music was designed as a mobile-first app, as most music listening takes place on mobile phones today. But it’s not a mobile-only app, as our integration with Sonos, and now the iPad app, shows. We believe music should be part of every aspect of life, and that means making music available in all places and in all forms fans desire.

Download Beats Music for iPad, fire up your Beats Pill, and let the music play.

100 Days and Runnin’

Music is culture. Music is life. Life is better with more great music in it. Beats Music doesn’t want to just give you access to a music catalog, we want to help you fill your life with great music every moment of the day — the right song for right now. And guess what… it’s working.

In just three short months, Beats Music launched on all major mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone), and is available in your Web browser, Sonos, and Chevy cars. We’ve given out keys to our API to some 500 developers. We’ve aired a Super Bowl commercial with Ellen DeGeneres, partnered with some of the nations biggest brands–like AT&T and Target–and acquired the ArtistLink artist services platform from Topspin. But we didn’t stop there.

We set incredibly high expectations for converting trial listeners to paid listeners through our AT&T partnership, specifically through our one-of-a-kind family plan (five subscriptions for $14.99/month). One hundred days in and the rate of conversion from trial to paid has far surpassed our projections by more than 40%, and 33% of our overall subscriptions have come through AT&T. But we didn’t stop there either.

We saw that more than half our listeners are using the service through an iPhone or iPad and so we added the ability to pay with your Apple ID just over a week ago.  As a result, we’ve seen a 5x increase in our daily paid conversion making us the #1 music app in iTunes.

100 days of beats music

It’s been a busy 100 days and we’re not slowing down any time soon. The more our Beats Music subscribers use the service, the better the experience we’re able to deliver. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

  • Listeners love the curation: Curated playlists have generated 690 years worth of listening hours to date. In addition to our curators – our community of listeners have already created more than 2 million playlists of their own
  • People don’t just stop by, they stay awhile: Engagement is off the charts with more than 60% of our listeners using the service multiple times a day. They’ve also collectively followed artists 27 million times and actively “loved” 17.5 million tracks, genres and albums
  • We’re delivering the right song at the right time: More than half the music played stems from our expert-curated playlists and the feature known as “The Sentence”
  • Curation and personalization ARE enabling discovery: In the past 100 days, more than 70% of our listeners streamed a song for the first time due to one of our curated features
  • All artists are treated equally: One in four plays on Beats Music is from an independent label, who receive the same payment as major label acts
  • And those artists are seeing the value in Beats Music listeners: We’ve offered exclusives from artists like Nine Inch Nails, YG and Future, Lykke Li and A$AP Rocky as well as numerous digital exclusives in partnership with Target

Thanks sincerely to all our subscribers for supporting us, to everyone who’s ever tested Beats Music for giving us a chance, to all our partners for their belief in us, and most of all to the entire team here who have dedicated their time, energy, passion to this effort.

We’re just getting started but already one thing is becoming clear–numbers don’t lie: a curated, personalized music service that drives discovery and connects listeners directly to artists IS worth paying for. We’ve always known it.

Happy 100 days.

REVOLT TO AIR 24-HOUR BEATS MUSIC CONCERT ON APRIL 20th

It Was A Good Day,
Beats Music Presents: The Live 90′s Hip Hop Playlist

24hr Concert Marathon Premieres Exclusively on Revolt TV
6am EST 
Sunday April 20th through 6am EST Monday April 21st

REVOLT TV will air a 24-hour Beats Music marathon highlighting the star-studded 2014 Grammy weekend concert that marked its official launch. The special, titled “It Was A Good Day, Beats Music Presents: The Live 90′s Hip Hop Playlist,” is an instant classic, headlined by industry icons such as Dr. DreEminemNasPuff DaddyIce Cube and Mase, featuring additional performances by Cypress HillBusta RhymesMethod Man & RedmanBone Thugs-N-HarmonyGeto BoysSouls of Mischief, and Fatlip & Slimkid (formerly of The Pharcyde). Each of these legendary superstars performed one song, resulting in a perfectly curated playlist brought to life and featuring the very best of 90s hip-hop- an experience only Beats Music could bring.

It Was A Good Day
Beats Music Presents: The Live 90′s Hip Hop Playlist
Sunday, April 20 – Monday, April 21, 2014
6am – 6am EST
Exclusively on REVOLT TV
Sign-up to watch online Monday 4/21 at BeatsMusic.com

Rome Was Not Built in a Day

The rise of the streaming music services.

There has been a cavalcade of articles and blog posts spinning their way across the Web recently that purport to provide insights that predict the future of streaming music services. Unfortunately except for a tiny minority, they tend to lack two things: facts and gravitas.

What they don’t lack are headlines that attract attention; hence the Web swirl. For the most part, they are negative about the future prospects of streaming music services. This negativity is nothing new; we have seen many articles where the author knows, just knows, that streaming music services will fail, and what then follows is a list of why they will fail. It would be great if these articles reflected how their authors had parsed the data.

We might say that attempting to predict the future is a fool’s errand.

By nature I am an optimist, but this does not mean that I don’t look at cold hard facts before making a determination about a topic, a service, a change in plans, etc. My take is clear: music fans (who are not exactly a small subset of society) have shown a clear preference for accessing music via their mobile devices when they are on the go.

Just enter any office and note what is taking place; most of the time you will see people sitting at their desks, wearing headphones, streaming music. Perhaps the in-office Sonos system is streaming music for all? Now clearly, that is only anecdotal evidence at best, not a robust user study, and yet I would challenge anyone who says they have not seen evidence of this societal shift. A simple question from me would be “so, how do you access your favorite music?”

To me, that reality makes a streaming music model inevitable. But it will take time. The fact is that the recorded music industry is under pressure because of this shift by music fans. If there’s one prediction I would stand behind, it would be that we are not going to see a return to the days of CDs selling by the millions every week. I know some very smart people in the recorded music world and they understand what’s happening to their business.

None of the above is a suggestion from me that there haven’t been, or will continue to be, pitfalls. Over time there will be changes and adjustments to how streaming music services adapt to these still fluid markets. This is where the continued engagement between streaming music services, labels and musicians is paramount.

We all have to understand and solve real problems, not perceived problems.

At Beats Music we have nothing but the utmost respect for music and musicians. That is why we are striving to provide real solutions for everyone involved: Musicians, labels and the music fans.

As the title of my post says – Rome wasn’t built in a day. Patience is required.

Nirvana Nostalgia: Seattle Memories, Tech Tales, and The Passing of a Legend

My Dad and I laugh all the time about how much technology has changed things over the last 20 years. It’s something I’m thinking about even more today as we mark the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s tragic death–where we were, what we did, and how we reacted back then in the pre-smartphone, pre-Internet, pre-social media days.

I think back to 1994 Seattle. I was 16 years old, and music was my life. Already, I was juggling three radio station gigs I’d had for a couple of years: pulling shifts at a college radio station during the peak of the grunge movement, a high school dance station, and overnight at a Hip Hop Station KUBE 93. I have stories I will tell my grandchildren, but none more than these three memorable Nirvana experiences…

The Show

Back then, Seattle had enacted the Teen Dance Ordinance–a “Footloose-esque” law which made it nearly impossible for venues to host all ages shows–which unfortunately remained in effect for my entire youth. I had already missed one Nirvana show as a result, so when Nirvana announced the In Utero Tour, it became my top priority.

Today, getting concert tickets online is a snap. But back then, tickets would go on sale at 10 a.m. (during school!) at Ticketmaster. You would need to either call in to purchase tickets or camp out at a Ticketmaster location to buy them in person. With no cell phones, calling in wasn’t an option. I don’t remember how we got tickets to In Utero. I’m not sure if someone ditched school to get the tickets or one of our parents saved the day but, somehow, about 10 of my friends and I got tickets and all went to the show.

Maybe it was the hassle of obtaining tickets, or the enormity of Nirvana’s post-Nevermind return, but it was one of the most memorable concerts of my life. It took place at the Mercer Arena, where security was so lax at the time that kids could lick the red stamp on their wrists that gave them access to the general admission floor and rub them on their friends wrists to get them in as well. So the ENTIRE arena was on the floor, resulting one, huge, mosh pit from the stage to the back.

I spent the entire show just trying to stay alive… I’m not kidding. I’m talking both feet planted firmly on the floor, clutching my purse, with an entire arena’s worth of people slamming into me every 4 seconds. I have never been more trapped, tired, and honestly potentially at risk of being trampled in my entire life. All I really remember seeing at that show were the “In Utero” mannequins being demolished at the end of the night like a biology classroom being ransacked, Kurt smashing every last thing on stage to pieces, and the feeling of euphoria I had leaving the venue.

The News

The day they found Kurt Cobain’s body I remember being in the car and hearing it on the radio. We didn’t have the Internet, Twitter, or cell phones. We were glued to the radio. I babysat for a woman who was interim Program Director at KXRX in Seattle, which was the radio station the electrician who spotted Kurt’s dead body called before calling the police. My friend had to make the decision whether or not to go on air with the story. That’s how close to home it was.

The city was in shock, and it jolted us all out of our pre-defined roles. This was before the “iPod generation” made listening to different types of music the norm. Back then, people who liked rock hung out with other rockers. Kids that liked pop music stayed in their lane. Hip Hop was so “street” that some radio stations edited the “rap” out of TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

But after Kurt Cobain died, the city was so shook up that the hip hop radio station I worked for, KUBE 93, started playing Nirvana every hour between Snoop Dogg and 2 Pac, and eventually changed formats to “The New Music Revolution” playing both rock and hiphop interchangeably. It was the only thing anyone could talk about, but could only do so through radio call in times, or with each. Imagine if Twitter existed that day!

The Memorial

Eventually, KUBE 93 called me to report live from Kurt’s memorial. But my Mom didn’t want me to go. I’m an only child and I had really strict parents. I wasn’t allowed to “drive into Seattle” from our suburb about 20 miles away. As the news reported on rumors of potential copycat suicides and kids not being able to handle Kurt’s death my Mom thought there could be “riots” at the event. “This is the most important event in music history and you’re making me miss it!” I sobbed. Finally, my Dad caved, and he volunteered to take me himself.

At Seattle Center, there were thousands of kids sprinkled all over the grass. It was somber with candles, flowers, flannels, and Doc Martins as far as your eyes could see. They played a tape of Courtney reading the suicide letter out loud. The most alarming part about the tape was her commentary on Kurt’s suicide note, calling him an asshole for saying certain things, then asking the crowd to scream “asshole!” which they loudly did. The only footage of this that exists now is old TV clips. No Intagram. No Foursquare or Facebook.

As kids mounted the Seattle Center fountain, and Nirvana music played, I kept dashing back and forth to the pay phone to go live with news reports for the radio station. I hand to phone. I couldn’t live-Tweet this. It’s hard to believe that now I’m in my 30s, because as timeless as Nirvana’s music is… remembering back to an era when we didn’t have social media, access to the Internet, or even cell phones makes me feel 100 years old!

I can’t believe Kurt Cobain has been gone for 20 years. My Seattle memories are stories I will tell my grandchildren. In the meantime, enjoy my playlist Big In Seattle: My Teen Spirit! We lost a legend on April 5th but there was so much more to that music moment. Please enjoy some of my favorites from growing up in the 206!

Big In Seattle: My Teen Spirit

big-in-seattle