Beats Music update: launch was rocky but things seem to be improving

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Source: Beats Music

Earlier this week I talked about Beats Music, the new streaming music service that launched on Tuesday.

I wanted to do a quick follow-up, because Beats is having a bit of a rough launch. At least it seems that way from my experience with it.

I signed up on Tuesday and once I jumped through the hoops and got my trial going, the service worked great. Things changed on Wednesday. When I tried to log in (using the web interface) I'd get an error message. Sometimes a nicely formatted message and sometimes less so ({"message":"We’re having some problems. Try again later or contact Beats customer service."} on an otherwise blank page). I figured the service was just getting overwhelmed, so I decided I'd give it a few hours to calm down. When I finally went back, they'd actually removed the /login page; trying to get to it resulted in a 404. Beats Music was off-line for web users.

Wednesday evening the following email arrived:

Huge thanks to everyone for making our launch day yesterday so successful. We've been blown away by the love that made us the #1 Music App in the iTunes Store.

Due to the extremely high volume of interest in our service some users are experiencing issues. Most people are unaffected but our priority is to give everyone a great experience. We prepared for issues like these, have a plan, and are going to hold off on letting more people in while we put this plan in action.

For those of you that claimed your name in the lead up to launch, we still have your username reserved and we'll be in touch with your invite. We appreciate your support.

Everyone who registers this week will get an additional seven days added to their trial.

We're staying focused on bringing you the best music experience from the people who know what song comes next. Stay tuned, and thanks for being excited about Beats Music.

Ian Rogers
CEO

The same message was posted on the Beats Music blog.

I was happy to learn we'd all be getting an extra seven days added to our trial, but it must be frustrating for people who were looking forward to the service and now can't sign up. As for me, I went back to Google Music for the remainder of the day.

Yesterday I could log in once again, usually. Sometimes I'd get a {"status":"OK"} message after clicking the submit button on the /login page. If I then manually navigated to https://listen.beatsmusic.com I'd get to my "Just For You" page and everything looked great. But too often when I started up a play list, a song would pause mid-way through. I could always restart it, but it grew tiresome after a while. Not a deal-breaker but an irritant.

So Tuesday was fine, Wednesday was a mess, and Thursday things were better but still a bit wonky. Hopefully today we'll get back to where the service was on Tuesday and it'll be smooth sailing from there on out.

Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers has been busy on Twitter doing a mix of damage control and helping people out. That was good to see. He also wrote a post on his personal blog that was frank to the point of being almost off-putting:

If there’s one criticism that’s been lobbed at us most often over the past couple of weeks it’s regarding our lack of a free, ad-supported version of Beats Music.
This is a very thoughtful and conscious decision. We see more than 25 million people paying more than $10/month for satellite radio, 100 million people paying an average of $1,000/year for cable and satellite. We think ~$100/year for a service that brings you the right song for right now (and knows what song comes next) is a tremendous bargain. I’ll give you my personal view: If you’re the kind of person who pays ~$1,000/year for cable and refuse to spend ~$100/year on a great music service, you and I look at the world very differently from one another. If music, and a service that brings you great music experiences and playlists from everyone from Pitchfork to Downbeat to Mojo to Thrasher isn’t worth $100/year to you I’m afraid we don’t have much in common. Or put more specifically, if you are ok with the playlist below being interrupted by a loud insurance ad, music doesn’t define the moments of your life the same way it does mine

Hey, it's his company and his business and he can say what he wants, but it seems a little niche to say, essentially "I only want people who think like I do to be customers of this company." I am someone who'll pay for music, not because it "defines moments of my life," but because I simply dislike ads. Rogers blog post almost makes me think he doesn't want me as a subscriber. But maybe that's just me being over-sensitive.

Beats Music has more customers than it can serve right now. I hope for their sake they can keep them. Once the novelty wears off I wonder how many people will let their subscriptions lapse and drift off to cheaper alternatives?

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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