Beats Electronics, the maker of high-end headphones, will launch its own on-demand music streaming service this summer, Jimmy Iovine, the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M and Beats’ co-founder, announced Tuesday at the AllThingsD Dive Into Media conference.
Iovine said the service, which will be called Beats, will rely heavily on hand-curated lists to differentiate itself from the current pack of music services, including Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve, Slacker and others.
“We are making tons and tons of curated lists,” Iovine said. “If you go the gym, we’ll know where you are. So when you wake up in the morning, there will be a list waiting for you.”
Iovine said Beats Music, which had gone by the code name “Daisy,” has 100 people currently making playlists for every possible occasion they can think of. Asked whether celebrities are among the listmakers, Iovine replied, “Not famous. They’re people who know how to make lists. They’re real pros.”
There is at least one celebrity musician involved — Beats last year tapped Trent Reznor to oversee the service’s curation efforts, which will also use algorithms to serve up personalized playlists for each listener.
Beats wanted to “marry math with emotion,” Iovine said. “Right now, there are only mathematical solutions.”
The approach is similar to Songza, an application that serves up playlists based on the time of day or the context in which music is being heard — whether it’s exercising, driving to work, studying late at night for an exam or winding down at the end of a workday.
Iovine did not specify exactly how much Beats music service would charge, but said it would likely “charge the same thing as everybody else… $10 a month or whatever it is.”
Beats last year bought MOG, a music streaming company based in Berkeley, Calif., for under $10 million.
MOG “was a failed utility,” Iovine said. But “the infrastructure and technology were great. It’s hard to hire 50 good engineers. We were able to retain 99% of them” at MOG.
Among the 1% who left: former MOG chief executive David Hyman, who left the company in November and was replaced in January by Ian Rogers. Rogers once ran Yahoo’s music streaming service and, prior to joining Beats, was CEO of Topspin, a digital marketing and distribution platform for musicians.
Beats will also differentiate itself from other service by giving artists better access to information on who is listening to their music.
“I would die to know who bought my records on iTunes, but I don’t,” Iovine said. Giving artists access to user data is “fair play.”