Trent Reznor is somewhat of a self-made man. Building a self-sustaining cottage industry off the success of (suitably) his own industrial soundtrack as Nine Inch Nails, over time his profile has grown and his creative tendrils spread to include freelancing as a producer, crafting Oscar-winning film scores, as well as dipping his toe into the world of videogames, and as first teased in October, 2012, Reznor is now moving organically into the technological realm.

News developed that the Nine Inch Nails/How To Destroy Angels linchpin had been developing a secret project with high-end headphone makers Beats By Dre, with it later being revealed that he was at the creative helm of a new music streaming service with the project name ‘Daisy’, which Billboard now reports is officially called simply ‘Beats’.

When it was known under the codename Daisy, Reznor claimed that the new subscription-based service would use a combination of tech-savvy mathematics, artist-generated content, and music discovery to become a game-changer in the crowded streaming digital music market, which currently generates approx. $1 billion in music revenue.

Beats “uses mathematics to offer suggestions to the listener,” said Reznor, but would also “present choices based partly on suggestions made by connoisseurs, making it a platform in which the machine and the human would collide more intimately.” Catering to listener’s tastes by taking them on customised music ‘journeys’ – as Reznor puts it.

“[It’s] like having your own guy when you go into the record store, who knows what you like but can also point you down some paths you wouldn’t necessarily have encountered,” Reznor told  The New Yorker at the time, but now more details have emerged about the grander schemes behind Beats and how its creators are looking to expand what has become somewhat of a standardised streaming music service model – popularised by market leader Spotify – and take into other, interesting directions.

An article from HypeBotdescribes how the likes of Spotify, Deezer, Rdio and the many other streaming music services have increased their music libraries and catalogues – to as large as 17 million in the bigger cases – but that broader information on content means turning to other sources. For example, you discover a new favourite rock band, but you still have to head to your browser to google their tour dates, discography, or social media.

[Beats] creates a new business model that proverbially wraps Amazon, Ticketek, and iTunes all into a one-stop digital location for musical exploration.

Merely a “utility that delivers the sound… a walled garden” as Bob Moczydlowsky puts it, the senior Vice President of product and marketing at Topspin Media – one of the companies Beats Electronics invested in after purchasing music startup MOG in 2012 – who are working with Beats and Reznor as a ‘strategic partner’

This ‘walled garden’ is also something Reznor lamented to The New Yorker last year, comparing Beats to Spotify, “‘Here’s sixteen million licensed pieces of music,’ they’ve said, but you’re not stumbling into anything. What’s missing is a service that adds a layer of intelligent curation.”

The Beats Electronics-backed music plans to let music listeners to search for that information – artists performing nearby, Twitter feeds, release information, ticketing, merchandise sales – all available while playing songs within the music service; a ‘marketing funnel’ that would act like an online store that runs in tandem with users listening to music.

It essentially creates a new business model that proverbially wraps Amazon, Ticketek, and iTunes all into a one-stop digital location for musical exploration, which depend less on advertising and subscriptions for revenue. Despite their looming international expansion and global reach, Spotify and Deezer spend most of their profits in paying licensing fees to major labels.

Cnet even reported that Spotify runs at a consistent loss. In 2010 the company reported revenue of US $97 million with a loss of US $37.5 million. In 2011, that revenue increased to US $244 million, but losses again grew, hitting US $59 million.

Beats’ new business model seeks to take back control of monetary opportunities by integrating music fans’ natural desires – purchases, merchandise, ticket sales – into its music streaming service, while enabling artists to take advantage of that fan interactivity. Much in the same way that MySpace intended reinstall itself in the social media chain, attempting to do for music discovery what Facebook and Twitter does for social interaction (only without the controversial hypocrisy of stealing artists’ music in the process).

But all this talk of business models and marketing funnels is for naught if Beats’ creators and strategists (re: Beats Electronics and Topsin Media) are unable to give their music streaming service the creditable music programming experience – as Beats Electronics CEO Jimmy Iovine words it – relying on an artistic vision and that intangible commodity: taste, to set them apart from the Pandora’s and Spotify’s that rely on mathematics and algorithms to give music recommendations.

Which is where Mr. Trent Reznor comes into play.

As Chief Creative Officer, Reznor is partnered with Beats CEO Ian Rogers, formerly of  Topsin Media and as Music Ally reports the pair are working on ensnaring music fanatics – the crate diggers and tasetemakers – as well as the casual listener – the Top 40, mainstream radio type.
“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.” – Ian Rogers, Beats Music CEO

“If we really can bring [Beats] to the masses, this is a huge step forward,” said Rogers. “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.”

“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,” he added. Rogers believes that music curation by trusted sources is the next big step, and Reznor and Rogers are seeking the advice of music experts to take that step.

As Billboard reports, Jimmy Iovine – speaking at the AllThingsD Dive Into Media conference – revealed “we are making tons and tons of curated lists… If you go the gym, we’ll know where you are. So when you wake up in the morning, there will be a list waiting for you.” Iovine noted that ‘around 100 people’ were currently curating content, and asked who, Iovine replied they were “not famous. They’re people who know how to make lists. They’re real pros.”

The other missing ingredient to the Beats music streaming service, which looks set to launch this year, is its cost. After all, if its creative approach to unify innovative money-making business models with the artistic integrity of music discovery curation – or to “marry math with emotion” as Iovine puts it – it’s going to have to be cost-effective.

To that end, the Beats Electronics CEO said it would likely “charge the same thing as everybody else… $10 a month or whatever it is.”

The Trent Reznor-backed Beats music service certainly has the ambition and ideas to enter what is already a very crowded market.

Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, Rara, JB HiFi Now, Muze, 8tracks, Pandora, XBox Music, and the newly announced Songl, Southern Cross Austereo’s own Australian-based on-demand subscription service – the list continues to grow, and new initiatives look set to swell those ranks, but it will take something unique to do for streaming services what the iPod did for the mp3 in the last generation.

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