Beats Music vs. Spotify vs. Rdio: What’s the Best Streaming Music Service?
In the race to power what music is playing in your earbuds, the Beats go on.
On Tuesday, Beats Music — a new streaming music service from the Dr. Dre-associated Beats Electronics — launched, offering music lovers yet another choice for how to stream their jams and offering competition to entrenched services like Spotify and Rdio.
Considering the near ubiquity of Dr. Dre’s music accessory empire, it’s no doubt that many people will at least give Beats Music a go. But is it the one that you want?
Below, we’ve gathered a list of the pros and cons of all of the most promising streaming music services, to make it easier for you to decide which one deserves your hard-earned cash. Let’s start with the newcomer.
Pros: In theory, Beats Music could change the way music services generally work. Rather than using your social networks and baseline listening habits for primary recommendations, Beats runs you through an initiation process, analyzing your musical tastes based on your age, gender and every aspect of the listening choices you make while using the service.
Its algorithm doesn’t just clock your age and robotically conclude that because you are 20 to 25 you must like Justin Timberlake. It goes deeper to understand the music you listened to in your adolescence — what might have been playing at your senior prom or blasting from the speakers of your parents’ Volvo on a particular sophomore year joyride.
And it doesn’t stop at your history. Beats continues to track your everyday listening habits by noting your location, listening method and volume every time you listen to a song. It knows that you play Macklemore at high volume on your earbuds when you’re alone at the gym, as opposed to the Stan Getz that tastefully wafts from your home speaker system at perfect dinner party volume.
Also brilliant: Beats’ ability to prioritize the essential albums of artists you search for. Say you’ve just recently gotten into Weezer. Rather than being immediately presented with “Death to False Metal,” a human with respectable musical tastes will have organized the band’s discography to present The Blue Album first and foremost.
And in the same vein, it will also cajole musicians, DJs and music writers to create playlists (kind of like how Dre has persuaded almost every major recording artist to prance around in a pair of blinged-out Beats headphones).