Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on April 1st, 2014

My experience and review of Beats Music

Music streaming services. There are plenty available from freebies with ads or preset playlists you cannot bypass, to paid services. There is Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, Rdio and now enter Beats Music. Beats Music debuted in January of 2014. They even had a fun Superbowl ad featuring Ellen DeGeneres.

We had been longtime Rdio subscribers. Our kids love constantly changing up their playlists. Our oldest studies four kinds of dance and always wants the latest song they learned a new piece to in class. With Rdio, it got pricey for five people to share it. We shared one account with a large selection of playlists. Playlists in our family varied from rap to country to 80's to hockey warm-up songs to recital pieces. The problem we had was that we shared due to the high expense of each kid having their own subscription. So, it required the kids to sync everything to mobile and then they had to go to airplane mode to not kick someone else off of the service. To say we were intrigued when we heard reports AT&T would offer a Beats Music 5 user family plan, was an understatement.

So, as promised in January AT&T launched the family plan. The plan is $14.99 for 5 users and up to 10 devices. We got an extended free trial because we got in during Beta. The kids tried it out first while I stayed loyal to what I was used to, and where I had added almost all of my favorites to varying playlists. The problem I had was songs vanishing from playlists because they became suddenly unavailable. So, when the kids proclaimed Beats to be far better than Rdio, I made the switch.

Beats offers unlimited downloads of songs. So what we do to save on data is create playlists at home using wi-fi only and download them, making them available for play without using data. For the kids on the bus, at the rink or dance studio, this is huge!!! I found that songs I was missing that were not on Rdio were in fact on Beats, and with many versions to choose from.

One feature I enjoy from Beats is that they take my playlists and make very good suggestions based on my preferences. For instance, while I listen to current music, my favorite stuff is 80's "Retro/new-wave". Low and behold within days after making my playlists and building my library I logged in to find "Best of 80's Goth" on my home page as well as features on favorites such as Depeche Mode, Morrissey, The Cure, etc. I was beyond excited. You see I have such large playlists and listen to such a vast array of music I am always forgetting some long lost favorite song I want to add. I have a tendency to take a picture of my display console in the car when a long lost favorite pops up on "The 1st Wave" station on SiriusXM!

Now, I will say Beats isn't perfect. Managing the family plan still, needs work. We had some login issues for one of our users. Beats and AT&T struggled with assisting us outside of the main user. After much guess work, we figured it out. But, my thought was this. It's a family plan, so kids are using it, right. Parents should have ultimate control and if that means we want to disable their use we should be able to do so from the main account screen. I will give Beats props for reaching out via social media when I was frustrated and not getting our issue resolved via email/help desk. Ultimately we worked it out, but from a developer standpoint, it shouldn't have been so difficult. One other item I am curious on is what if you have a younger family member with an iPod versus a phone, I am not sure how you can get them on the plan because with AT&T it's currently linked to active members on your phone plan. Something I will have to look into.

So, overall I would give Beats a 9/10 rating right now. Beats is after all still an infant, being launched since late January. I suspect user enhancements will always be popping up. I am hopeful that the main user will soon be able to see a list of all active users and their information to assist with account management. In reality, the account management is not something I will use often, so it doesn't affect my overall usage. So, after spending time making sure I made mirrored playlists of all my Rdio ones, we are now fully on Beats. What music streaming service do you use? Have you tried Beats, I would be interested in your thoughts or comparisons to other services.

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