A truly great feature I liked, though wouldn’t use too often, is the ability to select the quality of streaming. The default is 64 Kbps, but it can go up to 320 Kbps. There is a noticeable difference in quality, but depending on your headphones/speakers and your data plan, you might want to stick with the low-end side of things. Listening to a couple of hours of music a day at 320 Kbps certainly will kill your data service quickly.
Beats Music’s debut was a bit shaky, but recent app updates have fixed many of the major issues early adopters ran into. Luckily, I tested the service after the bugs were fixed, so I didn’t run into login problems or freezing. I did, however, have a hard time getting used to the interface design when browsing the service’s different options.
There are sections like playlists, search and custom libraries, but each has their own layout and presentation, which includes different fonts. I hated this because it felt like a teenager customized my settings and I had no way to correct it.
Creating custom playlists is easy enough, and finding artists or songs similar to what you’re listening to is a breeze. The app loads quickly and operated without issue.
Beats Music is a fine product that could benefit from some improvements, but at $9.99 a month, I can’t see it beating out free services provided by its competitors. Those with AT&T do get a break, however, with the option of $14.99 family plan for up to five people and 10 devices.
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Pay to play
Beats Music has a $9.99/month subscription fee. The service is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone and the web. Fans are able to stream their own music or download music to listen to offline.