Drop the Beats: headphone head honcho Dr Dre launches Spotify-rivalling streaming service Beats Music today in the US, promising better recommendations than other music services.
"We tried to remember a time a robot found us magic," says Beats Music in an introductory blog post, "but all we could find were the times the robot made us laugh. "'You like Pantera? Have you heard of Black Sabbath? You like Mumford and Sons? Here's another song with banjos!'"
Having been informed this morning by Spotify that "Westlife is popular in your area," I can relate to the sentiment. Beats is only available in the US for now, where an initial 30-day free trial is followed by a $9.99 monthly payment for unlimited access online or through apps on iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. US network AT&T also offers a $14.99 family pack.
I've contacted Beats to shed some light on how soon the service is coming to these shores, but no date is yet forthcoming.
Meanwhile Spotify has come out fighting with new virtual merch stands on artists' profile pages, allowing you to buy t-shirts, physical albums and other merchandise from your favourite turns right there in the app. The move, announced yesterday, goes some way to answer critics by funneling more money to artists. Spotify also recently revealed how much it pays artists with a new Spotify Artists website.
Here in the UK the big players including iTunes and Spotify are competing with an increasingly crowded field of music streaming and shopping services such as Rdio, Bloom.fm, or own brand services tied to hardware like Google Play and Nokia Music.
How do you listen to music in the digital age? Can Beats beat Spotify? Beat your chest in the comments or on our Facebook page.