Battle of the Bands: Beats Music Takes on Spotify

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Beats Music may have found its slingshot in its battle for subscribers against Spotify.

Beats Music may be joining Apple soon — a company bigger than Spotify — but it’s the underdog in the online music industry compared to its rival. It officially launched in January 2014; Spotify launched in October 2008. Beats Music had 250,000 subscribers; Spotify has 10 million. They both cost about the same per month, although Beats’ annual subscription discount makes it cheaper that way. Beats’ solution to growing its audience is a simple approach — to offer exclusive content not available on Spotify in an attempt to get more subscriptions.

This approach was first proposed when the news broke that Apple bought Beats Music and its parent company Beats Electronics for $3 billion. A recent slightly cryptic tweet by Beats Co-founder Dr. Dre hinted at the first exclusive song. Then an advertisement featuring soccer players wearing Beats headphones featured Jay-Z rapping on the remix of “Jungle,” a song by the X Ambassadors and Jamie N Common premiered during the NBA finals. Soon the news broke that the song was exclusively available for streaming on Beats Music for the next week. The Verge reported that its sources told the tech public that “Jungle” was only the first of several high profile songs to be released to Beats Music in similar fashion.

All of this upcoming exclusive content is likely meant to help draw more potential customers to sign-up for free trials and hopefully become regular subscribers. Unlike Spotify, Beats Music does not have a free streaming option. It is either a subscription after the free trial or no music. Beats Music does not offer the usual free streaming supported by ads model utilized by Spotify and Pandora. However, since Beats Electronics includes its signature headphones and other audio equipment, it’s not like the company lacks other sources of revenue. It is that by adding subscribers, the fledging music streaming music can grow to a size comparable to its rivals.

Like Spotify, Beats Music is available as an app. It has an iOS, Android, and a Windows version, making it available to the majority of smartphone and tablet users. Streaming music is a popular on these devices, especially among younger users. Plus it can be seen as a bargain because for less than the cost of a CD a month, a very large pool of ad-free music is available. Adding in the exclusive content just sweetens the deal.

No word yet on what new single will be the next exclusive offering by the company, but considering Dr. Dre’s connections in the music industry, the next exclusive song could come from any genre. The only thing we know is it will be on Beats Music before it reaches Spotify.

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