LOS ANGELES (AP) — Upscale headphone maker Beats Electronics is buying music subscription service MOG in an attempt to improve what goes into playback devices as much as what comes out of them.
Beats, founded by rapper Dr. Dre and recording executive Jimmy Iovine, has devoted its brand to high-quality sound. But headphones and speakers are limited in their ability to improve the sound of songs whose data is compressed to squeeze through narrow pipes like older cellular phone networks.
MOG attracted Beats partly because it encodes song files at 320 kilobits per second, slightly more than Apple Inc.'s iTunes songs, which are encoded at 256 kbps. MOG serves up songs at higher bit rates when more bandwidth is available, and at lower rates when it isn't.
Beats hopes to use MOG to provide an end-to-end music experience that helps it compete against bigger subscription music rivals like Rhapsody and Spotify.
MOG's paying subscribers are estimated to be in the tens of thousands compared to more than a million for Rhapsody in the U.S. and 3 million for Spotify worldwide.
"It's too early I think, based on the scale of any of these services, to declare winners and losers," Beats President Luke Wood said in an interview. "I think the future of the marketplace is going to be defined by the greatest product and the best user experience."
Wood wouldn't limit plans for MOG to a race for higher fidelity. The company is looking at how to improve music discovery, curation, consumption and sharing.
"We're committed to the best possible audio playback, and we'll continue to invest in that area. But additionally, we recognize the importance of the product experience," Wood said. "They both have to be considerably better than what is available today for subscription to ultimately win at scale."
Taiwanese cellphone maker HTC said in August that it was buying a 51 percent stake in Beats for $300 million. Wood said MOG would continue to be available on multiple platforms and devices.
Terms of the deal, which closed on Monday, weren't disclosed. The MOG Music Network, a network of blogs about music, was not part of the sale.
MOG charges $10 a month for the ability to choose and play back tracks on mobile devices from a catalog of more than 15 million songs. Ad-free listening is available on computers for $5 a month. If you don't mind the occasional ad, you can use MOG to pick and listen to songs on computers for free.
MOG was founded in 2005 by former Gracenote CEO David Hyman and is based in Berkeley, Calif. Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Menlo Ventures are among its original investors. Wood declined to specify if any original investors were still involved.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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