Beats Music, the music streaming company founded by record executive Jimmy Iovine and partially financed by billionaire Len Blavatnik, launched its subscription service late Monday night.
At $9.99 a month, Beats Music is the latest company to tackle the premium on-demand music market occupied by Spotify, Rhapsody, Slacker, Rdio, Sony Music Unlimited, Xbox Music, Muve, Google Music and, likely later this year, Deezer and YouTube. With download sales showing signs of levellng off and CD sales continuing their downward trajectory, the recorded music industry is looking to paid streaming services such as Beats to make up the difference.
The Santa Monica company, which spun out of headphones maker Beats Electronics after it snagged a $60 million investment from Blavatnik's holding company Access Industries in March, is spending heavily to promote its service, placing television ads that ran during Sunday night's game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. It's also scheduled to run a commercial during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 at a cost of $4 million for each 30-second slot.
A number of celebrities have also stepped up to endorse Beats Music, including Sharon Osbourne, Will.i.am, Florida Georgia Line and Pearl Jam. In addition, the app launched with playlists by "Friends of Beats," with contributions from Demi Lovato, Zedd, MC Hammer, Shaun White, Stevie Nicks and Tom Hanks. Those celebrity endorsements are likely to keep up a steady drumbeat thanks to Iovine, who is also chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records and Trent Reznor frontman for Nine Inch Nails and Beats Music's Chief Creative Officer.
Beats launched on iTunes, Google Play, Web browsers and on Sonos home music systems.
The launch encountered a minor glitch on iTunes when an early version of the app was available a few minutes before midnight, Eastern time, a few minutes ahead of schedule. After some users complained about being unable to sign in, Beats Music advised users to uninstall the early version and wait to download the "correct app."