What Should I Listen To?

As you can see in the video above, Rogers (ed:Beats Music CEO Ian C. Rogers) argues that Beats Music is offering something unique compared to its rivals. “It’s not just a catalog and a search box,” Rogers said of Beats Music. “More than half of what people are listening to in Beats Music are the playlists that have been human curated—as well as a feature called the sentence, which is sort of like Mad Libs for music. That stuff, which is only available to Beats Music, is the majority of what people are listening to.”

Still, Rogers said that Beats Music has a ways to go before it’s something people trust to figure out what they should listen to. Rodgers said this was both a challenge and an opportunity for the young app.

“The other services are answering a question about access—it’s streaming. They aren’t even approaching the ‘what should I listen to’ question and frankly i don’t think they’re in any position to,” he said. “They’re not culture companies, they don’t understand music. We do and we are.”

Nathan Olivarez-Giles | The Wall Street Journal

I gave Beats Music a go when it came out but moved back to Rdio once the trial period was over and have more recently left Rdio and have once again returned to Spotify. For one, Beats Music burned through battery like nobody's business, and second, Beats, at least for me, didn't answer Rogers' “what should I listen to” question. Now for most music lovers, I think Beats is fantastic, it did offer up a lot of great music, a lot of variety, and a lot of interesting playlists. Unfortunately, none of it fulfilled my needs. The problem is I have a rather nasty addiction to new music, specifically new and “needs to be very good, rather upbeat, and super catchy” music. This means tracks and albums that are know to me, no matter how good, are dead to me, all I want to do is add some tracks to a playlist, a “new discoveries” playlist if you will, use them like shake n' bake batter and move on. Because it's so damned hard to find music that meets my criteria, that playlist never gets very long, and thus my burn rate is quite high, leading me on incessant search to find that next new thing, it can be…quite frustrating.

So I've tried Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, and now back to Spotify, with small doses of Pandora and iTunes Radio thrown in for good measure. I loved Rdio aesthetically, but the Spotify app feels easier to use and for one reason or another it seems to dish up a track that appeals to me more often than any of the others, though honestly and frustratingly no app has been significantly better or worse than any other, at least when it comes to discovering new music.

So, “what to listen to?" An excellent question, though for me, not one regularly answered by Beats Music, or any other app right now. And yes, I am open to suggestions...