Beats Music will launch in January, strikes partnership with AT&T

Beats Music, the Spotify competitor spearheaded by music industry veteran Jimmy Iovine, will launch in January, according to Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers. The company didn’t give out a firm launch date, but all signs point to a launch at CES. And we’ve learned one more thing: Beats is partnering with AT&T. (S ATT)

Rogers announced the January launch on his blog Wednesday, writing:

“Beats Music is real. We’re in an internal, private beta with people who know and love music (including a few of my personal heroes). We’re providing a few artists and other influencers access to familiarize them with the service and get their early feedback. We’re making improvements based on that feedback. We can’t wait to share it with the world, and are set to launch in the US in January.”

Rogers went on to say that users can now register their user name on

Beats Music aims to compete with Spotify, Rhapsofy, Rdio and others by putting a big emphasis on human curation. The company has hired a number of freelance curators, who have been busy building playlists around moods, genres, artists and even situations you’d want to listen music in. In August, we reported a number of internal details about this curation process, including the fact that curators are encouraged to avoid elitism and “overly clever transitions.”

Earlier this year, CNET also reported that Beats was in negotiations with AT&T for a carrier partnership. We can now confirm that this partnership is in fact in place, and it looks like Beats will be launching out of the gate with support from AT&T, save for any last-minute hiccups.

The details of the partnership are however not clear yet. Music services have been trying to strike a variety of partnerships with mobile carriers, ranging from the ability to bill monthly subscription fees through a carrier’s phone bill to promotional app placements of carrier-distributed handsets to full-on bundles that include music access in a user’s monthly data plan — a strategy that Muve Music has been fairly successful with.

It’s unlikely that AT&T will go as far, but given the company’s existing relationship with Beats Electronics, it’s possible that the phone company will do some significant promotion.