not_sorry

Yesterday I wrote that MOG users have not been feeling the love from Beats Music, which plans to pull the plug on the music streaming service on April 15th (the same day taxes are due. Oh, joy!). This morning I — and other “Moggers” — found an email in our in boxes from Beats with an “update” signed by Beats CEO Ian Rogers which, by imploring us to try out Beats Music, was really just tone deaf marketing.

Far be it for me to bash Beats marketing. After all, this is a company that has taken over the headphone market by making them fashion accessories. I doubt many buy Beats by Dre for their sound. Compare a pair of, say, V-Moda Cross Fade 100 headphones with the best Beats has to offer, and you’ll hear a tremendous difference in audio quality. But you won’t find Colin Kaepernick sporting a pair of V-Moda’s on a TV commercial.

Getting back to the company missive, there was some useful information, although it’s not good news for me. If I subscribe to Beats I’ll be able to port over playlists, but won’t be able to transfer the 200+ “favorites” I’ve tagged — albums and artists I especially like — since I joined MOG. The reason, according to Rogers: “Beats Music’s feature ‘My Library’ works a bit differently.”

Thanks for clearing that up, but that sounds specious. I’m no engineer but we’re talking about identifying albums that already sit on both Beats and MOG’s servers. I’m not asking Beats engineers to emulate Elon Musk and shoot for Mars (literally), but surely there’s a way to automate this process — if Beats cared enough to do it.

Rogers also claimed that Beats has incorporated some of the best features of MOG, but this seems like empty market-speak.

He wrote:

We wanted to take a moment to highlight how Beats Music has incorporated some of the best features of MOG. The 320kbps high quality audio streams across platforms, competitive 20+ million track catalog available to search-and-play on-demand, and killer personalized recommendations are still essential to the new music experience we’ve built.

First, 320kbps audio streams is standard nowadays, so I don’t see how Rogers can say this qualifies as one of MOG’s best features when other music subscription services stream at this rate. Anyway, would a new music streaming service — especially one affiliated with Dr. Dre — release a product that relied on lower streaming rates and, therefore, likely have lower quality audio? Same goes for the 20+ million track catalog. Of course Beats Music has a vast music catalog. If it didn’t it wouldn’t be able to compete with Spotify and Pandora. That’s not something that Beats took from MOG either.

Rogers also claims that “The Sentence,” which has a user fill in words to create a sentence so that Beats can choose music to reflect that mood, is a “big improvement” over MOG’s artist radio. Well, he and his colleagues may believe this but I don’t.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think it’s an interesting feature, since it results in some pretty wacky haiku. But it is certainly not better than MOG’s artist radio. I don’t want a never-ending radio station based on my mood. I’m a serious listener. I want to choose, say, Keith Jarrett’s album “Whisper Not” then listen to a stream of songs by him and other artists in the same vein — and custom tune it on the fly so I can either get all Jarrett tunes or a mixture of others.

At any rate, I don’t delude myself into thinking Beats Music cares what I think. I’m not their target subscriber.

Fortunately help may be on the horizon. Neil Young may soon be unveiling a new music service with an emphasis on high quality audio. Meanwhile, Blitzr, another potential entrant, will rely on semantic search to bring order to music streaming. And Spotify has been iterating, too.

Here’s Rogers’ note in full:

Hey MOG Listeners,

We owe you an update. We wanted to give you more details and clarification about what you can expect over the next few months.

If you’d like to try Beats Music, please sign up for a free trial and check it out. You don’t have to wait until we send you the free month code – you can add that credit to an existing Beats Music account in March. We wanted to allow as many of you as possible to take advantage of the AT&T offer first.

We’re also building a playlist transfer tool so you can bring your playlists over from MOG to Beats Music. Favorites will not transfer because Beats Music’s feature “My Library” works a bit differently.

We wanted to take a moment to highlight how Beats Music has incorporated some of the best features of MOG. The 320kbps high quality audio streams across platforms, competitive 20+ million track catalog available to search-and-play on-demand, and killer personalized recommendations are still essential to the new music experience we’ve built.

New releases are also available on Beats Music, but now we divide them up so you can browse by genre — we got this feedback from you back in the MOG days, so we hope you like this change. You can browse them by genre from the “Find It” section.

“The Sentence” is a powerful way to create a practically never-ending radio station based on your chosen mood and the genre you’d like to hear. We think it’s a big improvement on artist radio. Also, artist radio fans please check out the “Intro to…” and “Deep Cuts” playlists for artists instead. We’ve found them to be just like human-curated artist stations. More to come!

Lastly — we really want to highlight our expert curation. Please check out our playlists. They’re really, really good. “Find It” and “Just For You” are two great places to start.

Like we said before, MOG will shut down on 4/15/14. Thank you for being a part of it, and thank you for reaching out to us with your feedback over the last few weeks. Seriously. We are humbled by how much you care and we hope this makes the transition easier.

Ian

[Image adapted from Wikimedia]