NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The launch of Beats Music Tuesday was a little buggy, but it's a really good app and that alone spells a change in direction in the streaming music sector. While the subscription service still has some problems to iron out, the bugs obvious in the launch appear to have been fixed.
The sector is new -- the roots of free Internet radio service Pandora Media (P) go back only to 2000 and Spotify, a free ad-based service with a subscription upgrade, launched a little over five years ago. As a result, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about how the technology works. Yahoo!'s Alyssa Bereznak, in her otherwise excellent review of some streaming services this week, appears to treat Beat Music's underlying algorithm as an unusual feature. It's really not. At its core, it's basically the same technology that powers Spotify and Rdio. The chief difference as Bereznak points out, for discovery, those services seem to do better when they rely on access to users' other social media platforms to inform selections.
I agree with Bereznak that the algorithm used in Beats Music feels like a much different experience. A lot of that has to do with the interface, but some also has to do with the human faces associated with playlists and song recommendations.
First, let's be clear: nobody is spinning tracks for you. Just like Spotify and Rdio, Beats choices are run moment to moment by an algorithm that feeds back to you selections based on your history of choices. This is the underlying feature of all the streaming music services. It is simply impossible to do a robust, personalized streaming music service for tens of millions of customers any other way.