It's not easy to accomplish what Spotify (and Rdio) have accomplished on the subscription side of Internet radio or what Pandora (P) has pulled off on the pure-play personalized radio side. If you're going to come at these guys, you need to bring your A-game and bring it from day one.
As this understated and euphemistic memo to Beats users from its CEO, Ian Rogers, indicates, that simply did not happen:
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.
While the Beats app is as buggy as can be with a sloppy and wholly unintuitive user interface, one area where Beats doesn't lack is in misleading people sans context and pounding its chest inaccurately, prematurely and with downright false claims.
Yes, it is the #1 free music app in Apple's (AAPL) App Store, however, consistency is what counts.
Upon launch, tons of people are simultaneously downloading your app, which inflates what will end up being a temporary position on the App Store chart. Same thing happened when Songza debuted and triggered considerable media coverage. But it's the long haul that matters. The snapshot I published Tuesday provides a view of how things actually look in the App Store on an ongoing basis. I reckon Beats will fade down the charts the same way Songza did.
Here's what Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told the Hollywood Reporter about Beats. And, by the way, he's 110% spot on:
It's a competitor, for sure, but my way of looking at it is, if it gets people to understand the value of streaming, it is ultimately good. Our way of doing this is not just slapping some celebrity brand on it and hoping it will be good. We are a social service; we are a product company. People have tried to put a brand on it and thought that's enough, and they have failed: Microsoft ( MSFT), Nokia ( NOK) -- many big companies.
And his thoughts on Apple as a competitor ... also on the money:
iTunes is more of a competitor (than Pandora) because it is "your music" for a lot of people. But it is so obvious that Spotify is much better because you can put more than 20 million songs in your pocket and access at any moment. You just pay your $10 per month or even use it for free. The benefit of being on Spotify as opposed to iTunes is huge.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.