AT&T, Dr Dre deliver curated music service

US carrier AT&T has collaborated with rapper-owned music and entertainment firm, Dr Dre’s Beats Music, to deliver an over the top music offering targeted at families.

With Beats Music, AT&T customers on a multiline account get unlimited streaming music and downloads for offline listening for up to five family members across ten devices. Each family member can get access to more than 20 million songs and create a personalised experience for the service.

In addition to the personalisation technology, Beats Music claims to be unique because it has a team of human music experts curate hand-picked songs while streaming to deliver tracks catering to user preferences.

“Our collaboration with Beats Music is solving two major industry challenges. Beats Music is focused on delivering a different music service with personalized curation from real industry experts and AT&T is focused on breaking the affordability barrier that currently exists for families in subscription and downloaded music. Everyone in the family loves music,” said David Christopher, AT&T Mobility chief marketing officer.

Yet there is a counter argument to personalisation, which comes from OTT movie company Netflix. In 2006 Netflix offered a $1m prize to any member of the public who could improve its movie recommendations impact by ten per cent. In 2009 a team of scientists delivered the goods and won the money. But Netflix never used the algorithm because personalisation was no longer important as the company realised that personalisation worked contrary to novelty, so users never discovered the ‘new’ content or other elements of the service.

The partnership is another crack at the mobile market by rapper turned entrepreneur Dr Dre, who saw his partnership with handset firm HTC reach a crashing finale in September last year. The headphone maker, Beats by Dr Dre, bought back the remaining 25 per cent of its shares owned by the Taiwanese firm for $265m. The partnership was a poor deal for Dre and HTC. HTC bought 50.1 per cent of Beats in 2011 for $300m and sold half of that back in 2012 for $150m.

The cost for the family package of Beats Music is $14.99 a month on top of the multiline subscription and the service will launch January 21.

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