Dr. Dre and Beats Music: Genius or Copycat?

PHOTO: Rapper Dr. Dre performs in Indio, Calif., April 15, 2012. Right Beats Music .

Beats Music, co-founded by rapper Dr. Dre, launched today, hoping to provide stiff competition to Spotify, Pandora, and Google Play Music.

After earning millions of dollars from Beats by Dre headphones, Dr. Dre, whose real name is Andre Young, and Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Universal Music Group's Interscope Geffen A&M Records, say on the company website that their service is an "artist-friendly digital music service that does more than simply offer access to music, but one that establishes an emotional connection to it as well."

Beats Music doesn't elaborate how they are more artist-friendly, though they have Trent Reznor of the metal band Nine Inch Nails, on the board.

Beats Music did not respond to a request for comment.

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With Iovine, Dr. Dre co-founded Beats Electronics in 2006, then sold about half his stake for $300 million to Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC. In July 2012, HTC sold half its stake back to Beats for $150 million. Then last September, when private equity firm Carlyle Group announced it was investing $500 million into Beats, HTC announced it was selling back to Beats its 25 percent stake for $265 million.

On the heels of the launch of Beats music, Swedish competitor Spotify announced it's offering unlimited free mobile streaming with advertisements. If you want Spotify without ads, the premium service is available at $9.99 a month.

Available in the Apple App store, as an Android App on Google Play and in the Windows Store, Beats Music is offering a free seven-day trial for anyone. For AT&T subscribers, the app is free for up to three months if you’re a family plan subscriber, and for one month if you have an individual plan. Then you pay a recurring $9.99 a month through your phone bill.

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