After reading the Federico Viticci's review of Beats Music on MacStories earlier this week, I decided to give the service a try. Like Viticci, I am a fairly dedicated Rdio guy, but given his good words, I figured it was worth checking out.
After favoriting a handful of albums, plus maybe one or two 20-minute listening sessions a day over the last three days, here is a run-down of what they are currently suggesting for me on my home page:
- Playlist: "Best of 70s Hard Rock, Vol. 2"
- Full Circle - Shigeto
- BCD - Basic Channel
- Are You Experienced - Jimi Hendrix
- Playlist: "Bowie In Berlin"
- Playlist: "Intro to Nicolas Jar"
- The Suburbs - Arcade Fire
- The Next Day - David Bowie
- Playlist: "Microhouse Cool Down"
- Playlist: "Intro to Orbital"
- Returnal - Oneohtrix Point Zero
- Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
- Unleased In the East - Judas Priest
- Playlist: "Intro to The Orb"
- Playlist: "Under the Influence: Kraftwerk"
- Tri Repetae - Autechre
- Country Life - Roxy Music
Given the relatively low amount of effort I have put into building my preferences on the service so far, that's not half bad.
For finding and listening to albums, I still prefer Rdio. Their interface is less cluttered, and I really appreciate their New Releases page. Something I'd like to see in Beats is an equivalent to Rdio's personal radio station. A ton of different (and interesting!) playlists is great, but sometimes I want to be able to push a single button and have it start playing random-ish stuff I'll probably like.
For those reasons and others, I don't see Beats replacing Rdio for me any time soon.
What I can see it replacing for me is Pandora. The suggestions I'm getting so far from Beats are a lot more appropriate and interesting than what I get on Pandora, which mostly seem like "people who liked that also liked that." I also like Beats' mix of playlists and albums, as opposed to Pandora's much more rigid model of artist, album, and genre stations.