Beats Music – Reading The Tea Leaves

I sip my freshly brewed tea anticipating the pattern of the tea leaves I will find in the bottom of my cup. I contemplate what will occur in the next rounds of competition in cloud music.

I am not concerned about Spotify and its ecosystem. Rumors of Spotify’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Spotify is very practical as it has a fluid model. It is a well architected cloud music platform with an open set of APIs. It is still very much the darling of the music hackathon global audience. Spotify’s effective use of The Echo Nest music back-end is superior to the “pay” model cloud music, look-alike/similar features crowd (amazon cloud player, X-Box music, Rdio, Google Play and Pandora).

The next shoe to drop could be Apple iRadio as early as the World Wide Developer Conference June 10-14. Apple may not announce iRadio the much rumored streaming subscription iCloud music service if they can’t secure revised licensing deals with Sony Music, Warner Music Group, and BMG. (See the latest MacRumors Web article “Difficult Negotiations May Prevent ‘iRadio’ Launch at WWDC“)

Taking a fresh sip I focus next on Beats Music, the brainchild of music industry visionaries Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor. Beats Music has acquired MOG Music  and appears to be architecting it to the vision of Trent, Jimmy and Dr. Dre. I wrote about this project when it was codenamed “Daisy” late last year.

There has been significant traction in the Beats Music company formation since that blog post. I have dug around in Google and LinkedIn to get a sense of what is transpiring.

Beats Music requires a well-articulated, open cloud music architecture to distinguish its offering from the present cloud music vendors, which I call the Round 1 players. I am curious how Beats Music will re-engineer the MOG distributed music service to meet that goal. Based upon the software engineering talent I see Beats Music attempting to hire they have their design and development work cut out for them.

I foresee Beats Music harnessing Beats Audio with renewed purpose on the Android and Windows Phone devices. I can’t visualize how the Apple IOS Beats Music dev team can get synchronicity with the lack of a similar Beats Audio chassis in the iPhone. I do recall that Tech Crunch mentioned that a meeting took place in March of this year that strongly hints at Apple and Beats Music partnering later this year (It’s a great hedge their bet play with i Radio don’t you think?)

The Music of Our Heart will continue to watch the Cloud Music skies for more definitive plans and announcements from Beats Music and Apple.

Oh and don’t forget when it comes to 100% high-resolution audio in the clouds we also have Neil Young’s PONO solution pending too. Could that be why Warner Music Group is dragging its feet with Apple? One never knows 😉 (Mind you that last comment was purely speculative on my part…)

Special Mention

Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have warmed the cockles of the music of our heart with their $70 million endowment to the University of Southern California.

The duo’s gift will set up the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, an environment for those rare undergraduate students whose interests span fields such as marketing, business entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design, and the arts. The program will prepare them to become a new generation of inspired innovators.

I Googled this announcement after reading the NY Times article from May 14, “Two Music Minds Seek a Different Kind of Mogul“.

The Beats Music ecosystem is establishing very firm academic roots. If you couple that with the investment funding that Beats Music has secured (Forbes: Blavatnik’s Investment In Beats’ Music Service Signals Major Change) I see this initiative as a very serious cloud music innovation play in the months and years ahead.

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