January 10, 2013 | By Phil Gallo, Los Angeles
Beats Electronics today announced that its new music service, project “Daisy,” will have Topspin’s Ian Rogers as its CEO. Rogers will oversee the “direction, vision and strategy” for project “Daisy” and the team developing the service, the company said in a press release.
Simultaneously, Rogers will step into the leadership position at MOG, the streaming music service Beats acquired in 2012, and Beats is making “a significant investment” in Topspin, Beats chief Jimmy Iovine said on a conference call. Rogers, who became CEO of Topspin in 2008 after serving as general manger of Yahoo! Music, will remain on the Topspin board of directors and serve as executive chairman. Rogers said in a blog post that COO Jeremy Bellinghausen will take over as CEO.
The subscription service, being called Daisy internally, is Beats’ revamping of the former MOG service, which Beats acquired last year. The service is set to launch in late 2013 as a stand-alone company under the Beats Electronics umbrella. As previously announced, the new service’s chief creative officer is Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor.
In their announcement, Iovine, Rogers and Beats president/COO Luke Wood emphasized the introduction of Daisy as part of “a complete thought in music.” The first step was creating a trusted brand in Beats headphones; part two is introducing a curated subscription service with high-quality audio that allows for a connection between fans and artists and vice-versa.
“First off, these other services are not providing an environment for artists or fans to interface [with each other],” said Iovine, who is also chairman of the Interscope Geffen A&M label group. “Our intention is to everything to bring the industry together through a form of curation that doesn’t exist right now. I don’t believe the ‘here’s a credit card — you get 12 million songs’ will stick. The industry desperately needs subscription to get the business back to where it was and I think everyone is on board now.”
The service will be offered on desktops, IOS, androids and Windows 8. While there are rights issues and other hurdles that come with taking the service beyond the borders of the United States, Rogers said “our mission is to win and to win we do global.”
Iovine detailed curation as meaning the service would offer music bundles as “a solution” to music needs, whether its for a ride in a specific part of the country, a party or other get-togethers. Ultimately, all three said, the goal is to restore the emotional connection fans felt with music in earlier generations that digital has not delivered. The key, Iovine noted, is for Daisy to have a human element that goes beyond the usual algorithm-based suggestion boxes.
Reznor’s role was vaguely defined as relating to aesthetics and the curation. “He is one of the leading artists making sure things are done right from a credibility standpoint,” Iovine said.
The team has yet to come up with a ballpark figure that consumers would be charged, but they were confident enough to say that the strength of the service will make it “relatively price-insensitive.”