The music-streaming market just got a little more crowded. Today, Beats Music joins the likes of Spotify, Rdio, Rhapdsody, and many others -- and that's not even counting more radio-style services such as the ones offered by Pandora, Apple, and Google.
So what's special about Beats, besides the fact that Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor, and Jimmy Iovine are behind it? It's not the music -- with 20 million songs, it reportedly has about the same catalog as most of the other services. It's not the price, either: unlike Spotify or Rdio, there's no free option to use Beats Music. If you want it beyond a seven-day trial, you'll need to pay $9.99 a month.
Rather, the big feature Beats can offer that other services can't is a unique recommendation engine that takes into account your music preferences, both through genres and bands and through your mood and situation. Upon initial start-up, Beats asks what genres of music you like. You can tell it you love or hate certain artists as it selects songs. You can also complete a sentence based on what kind of music you're in the mood for -- a feature that the early reviews say works pretty well. (Others say that in the short time they used Beats, it didn't pick up the finer points of their tastes.)
So is Beats here to stay? There's no way to know now, as the so-called streaming wars are just heating up. Without having tried it, we can't say if Beats' unique features make it worth switching (or paying) for. But it's definitely making the streaming music market more interesting.