AT&T, Dr. Dre’s Beats Team Up for Music Streaming Service

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AT&T and Beats Electronics, the premium headphone and speaker company co-founded by rapper/producer Dr. Dre, are collaborating on a new music streaming subscription service in the U.S., the companies announced Monday.

Beats Music will be available exclusively to AT&T wireless customers beginning Jan. 21 for $14.99 a month for families. Up to five family members will have access to unlimited streaming music and downloads across 10 devices, with each device capable of having its own personalized music. For a limited time, the first 90 days of the service is free, according to AT&T.

Individual AT&T wireless customers can get the same access across three devices for $9.99 a month with the first 30 days free, AT&T said.

The service will be available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone as well as via the web. The music can either be streamed or downloaded to listen offline.

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AT&T is entering the highly competitive music streaming market for the first time. There are plenty of similar services out there, both free and paid subscription, including Spotify, Slacker Radio, Pandora Radio and Apple’s iTunes Radio. There is also Google Play Music All Access, Napster, Sony Music Unlimited and others.

“Beats Music is different from existing services in that it provides a truly personalized experience,” said AT&T spokesman Lance Skelly, adding “real music experts and DJs select your content to help you discover new music that matches your own taste and interests.”

Skelly would not disclose AT&T’s financial investment in the service. He said AT&T is the first carrier to work with Beats to design a music subscription offer tailored for shared wireless service plans.

The companies said the service will rely on a catalog of more than 20 million licensed songs from all the major labels, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, as well as all independent labels.

With backing from HTC Corp., Hewlett-Packard and Chrysler, Beats Electronics was launched in 2008 by Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, and co-founder Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records unit.

“Beats was created so people could hear the music the way the artists intended, but speakers were just the first step,” said Luke Wood, president of Beats Electronics. “Beats Music is the final piece in making that vision a reality.”

Iovine said Beats Music’s ability to organize and maintain a collection of music for its users is a key part of the service.

“It takes a highly curated, uninterrupted sequence of songs to achieve a fulfilling music experience, where the only song as important as the song you are listening to is the song that comes next,” Iovine said in announcing the service.

Last September, Beats Electronics announced a $500 million investment boost the from Carlyle Group. In exchange, Carlyle reportedly gained a minority stake in the Santa Monica-based company.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Beats had revenue of about $1 billion in 2012, up from less than $200 million in 2010, helped by earphones that run between $200 and $400. Market researchers at NPD group said Beats now has more than half the U.S. market for premium headphones.

 

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About the Author

Ivan Castilho is a citizen of the world; CEO at Mindfield Digital and Executive Director at AppleMagazine, and Techlife News. Ivan's been an avid Apple user and consumer since 2008, with a major in Marketing and extensive experience in strategic management and consulting for tech companies. Hobbies include photography, design, and music.