Version Reviewed: 1.0.5
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5s
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Picking a streaming music service can be difficult for users because there are so many services, plans, and options available. Many iPhone users had hoped that Apple’s solution would be the one to top all the others, only to find that while iTunes Radio is a great solution for exploring new music or listening to curated playlists, it’s not so great for those listeners who want to hear a specific song or album.
Beats Music recently jumped into the crowded streaming music field and released their new service - including a unique value-priced Family Plan for AT&T customers (with a 90 day trial). For users who aren’t interested in the Family Plan (or anyone who doesn’t have AT&T mobile service) Beats Music offers a monthly plan for individuals that includes a 7-day free trial (30 days for AT&T customers). Once downloaded, setting up the Beats Music app is a painless process of creating an account and setting one’s music preferences. The Home screen is divided into four categories: a custom tailored suggestion of song, album, and artist collections; a unique complete-the-sentence method of finding music that is ideal for the listener’s current mood and activity; a “Highlights” section which is regularly updated by Beats Music (for Valentine’s Day this was full of romantic albums and playlists); and a playlist section in which listeners can browse by genre (Americana, Country, Electric, etc.), Activities (Cooking, Partying Poolside, Studying, etc.), and Curators (AMP Radio, DJ Mag, Rolling Stone, and more).
Beats Music does allow listeners to search for specific artists, albums, and songs and begin playing them immediately, or to build a playlist to listen to or save for later. It also allows the creation of custom playlists, and even allows playlists, albums, and songs to be downloaded and saved directly to the device. This lets users download their tunes while on WiFi and listen while on the go without burning through their data plan. One minor complaint with the interface is that the search bar is not front-and-center in the Home screen and requires a little extra user clicking to access. Hopefully this will be tweaked a bit in future updates.
Even though listeners are likely to be disappointed when a particular artist isn’t available (no Led Zeppelin, Metallica, or Beatles), Beats Music still has a huge library – over 20 million songs – and a great interface. It’s easy to recommend this app and service since individuals can take it for a free test drive and decide for themselves if it outplays the competition or not.