Beats Music Is Starting To Sound A Lot Like Songza

The Beats Electronics spin-off subscription music service is banking heavily on thousands of human-curated playlists to draw in listeners. Which happens to be exactly what Songza does.

Beats Music Is Starting To Sound A Lot Like Songza

The dream team behind Beats Music, the forthcoming digital music subscription service formerly known as Project Daisy, has been coy about sharing many details of how it will actually work.


A new GigaOm report that includes snippets from an internal training guide for Beats Music’s freelance employees provides some insight into how the subscription service, a spin-off of Beats Electronics, plans to differentiate itself from both streaming music heavy hitters like Spotify and Pandora and smaller online radio startups like Muve and Slacker.

Most media and industry speculators have surmised Beats Music will directly compete with the Spotify and Rdio class of streaming services, which both offer ad-supported and premium, ad-free access to their respective catalogs, which each contain millions of songs. But Beats Music appears to be making a a big bet on human-curated playlists created specially for the service by a mix of industry experts, from well-known artists and music writers to freelancers who are compiling thousands of playlists on assignment.

In February, Beats By Dre cofounder and CEO Jimmy Iovine told Billboard Beats had 100 people creating playlists “for every possible occasion they can think of.” GigaOm reports freelancers have apparently been instructed to create various playlists around different genres, years, activities (e.g., working out), and moods.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s pretty much what Songza already does. Although Songza isn’t a subscription service like Beats Music will be, it relies on a stable of music experts to create its themed playlists, which show up within its app based on the time of day and what activity it thinks you might be up to. (Opening up Songza in the middle of a Wednesday might bring up playlists for “Working In An Office” or “Getting Fired Up.”)

Perhaps not surprisingly, Beats Music’s freelancers have been instructed to “beware of personal whims” and avoid “talking down to listeners.”

We’ve reached out to Beats Music and Songza for comment and will update this story when we hear from them.

[Image: Flickr user Tchacky]

About the author

Christina is an associate editor at Fast Company, where she writes about technology, social media, and business.