Trying out Beats Music

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.

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