Rockin' the living room: Beats Music arrives on Apple TV

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If you have the latest Apple TV and have configured it to accept updates automatically, you’ve seen a couple of new channels on its home screen. The one I want to talk about today is Beats Music.

Beats Music is a $10 a month streaming music service recently acquired by Apple that grants subscribers access to millions of tracks. I think it’s great—and a terrific addition to Apple TV. Let’s take a look around.

When you first set up Beats Music you’re asked about your preferred genres and artists. With this information, Beats can recommend music for you on the Just For You screen. I’ll just take a look at this Sunday Haze & Hangover playlist. I can play the entire playlist or I can scroll down and play just a specific track. To move back up the hierarchy I just press the Menu button on my Apple Remote.

You can also bookmark playlists, albums, and artists so that they appear in the My Music area. By selecting My Playlists and then My Subscriptions I can view the playlists that I’ve added. Or I can move to My Library and check out the albums, songs, and artists I want to keep track of.

The Highlights area is where you can take a look at playlists, albums, and artists that the people running Beats think are worth your attention.

You can also browse the service. One way to do that is through the Genres entry—here you’ll find such genres as alternative, classical, rock, jazz, latin, and hip-hop. Within the genre entries you find a load of playlists created by humans rather than an algorithm. And this human curation is what makes Beats so good—people who really know particular genres create the playlists, thus making sure that you hear the good stuff.

Within the Playing screen you can subscribe to a playlist if you like so it’s easier to find at another time.

And then there are activities. This is one of Beats’ ways of presenting new music to you. But rather than by genre, it’s by mood or what you’re currently doing. I’ve found some great music this way.

Finally, the Curators section is where you find playlists put together by music publications and other music experts. If you like the kind of music that Decibel Magazine writes about, for example, check out some of the playlists they’ve created.

And what would any music service be without the ability to search for specific music you want to listen to? I’m in the mood for some Ian Dury and the Blockheads, so let’s search. “Inbetweenies” is a great track.

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