Audio firm Beats is holding a conference call for journalists tonight, although at least some of its news has already leaked: the fact that Topspin boss Ian Rogers is joining the company as CEO of its Daisy subscription music service, joining chief creative officer Trent Reznor.
We’re on the call and reporting live: keep refreshing this post to find out more details, and any other news that Beats has on Daisy.
Rogers spoke first. “It feels like this is the gig I’ve been trained for my whole career,” he said.
“With what they’ve created at Beats, the opportunity is incredible… I really just personally believe that out of all the players in the space, these are the guys who have the ability to take subscription music to the mainstream, and really get it to scale.”
He said Reznor’s role as chief creative officer was a key selling point for taking the CEO role.
“If we really can bring this to the masses, this is a huge step forward. Trent’s proved over the past however-many years that he’s a huge creative talent, but in the past few years he’s proved that his talent isn’t just bounded by recorded music,” he said.
Rogers said Beats’ acquisition of Mog last year means it has “the best streaming service in the business as a starting point”, noting that this was the service he personally used: “Sound quality, better clients… it’s a huge leg-up.” But he returned to the mainstream point.
“These guys have the ingredients to build a mainstream subscription service that’s going to reach huge numbers of people and have that emotional connection that we all want music to have in the digital age.”
Rogers and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine compared their ambitions to Daisy with existing streaming music services, which by not-so-hidden implication they see as unappealing to those mainstream music fans.
“We’re going to do everything we can in our unique position to bring the industry together and do something really progressive, and have a form of curation that doesn’t exist right now,” said Iovine.
“Right now, these things are all utilities: ‘Give me your credit card, here’s 12m songs, and good luck’. We don’t think that’s gonna stick.”
Well, up to a point: Spotify’s last press event showed its determination to focus on exactly the same curation and discovery elements in 2013, with Deezer also talking publicly about its ambitions in this area. It’s going to make for quite a battle this year – one that should be good for overall innovation in making streaming music even more accessible.
“The last 15 years of these services has been about making the music available,” said Rogers. “The next step has to be about building great musical experiences that have that emotional connection that’s the reason we all listen to music to begin with.”
He continued: “The next phase of internet distribution is all about curation by trusted sources… I think it’s what consumers want and need. The opportunity here is to create really the trusted brand in music, where consumers know when they open Daisy, they’re just gonna get an awesome music experience. They’re not just going to get a search box… I don’t believe that any existing services out there are the people who are going to popularise the notion of subscription, certainly not in the way that Jimmy and Luke [Wood, COO] and Beats will do.”
Rogers added that Beats is targeting the second half of 2013 for Daisy’s launch – something backed up by Woods’ admission that Beats hasn’t yet “done an in-depth pricing analysis” to decide on its cost. Rogers did say that the service will be “Mobile-first: iOS, Android, Windows 8, but also desktop”.
Daisy will also be global, or at least as global as licensing deals allow. “There are localisation, technical and licensing issues, but the idea is really to have a global service. We’ll be in as many territories as humanly possible,” said Wood.
Rogers chimed in: “Our mission here is to win, and to win we need to be global.”