Beats Music, the highly anticipated and long-awaited music streaming service from the company behind the popular Beats By Dre headphones line, launched Jan. 21 to fanfare and, according to users, a few bugs. In response to the reported problems, the service quickly put a freeze on new members, promising to sort the issue out before expanding further. The high-profile hiccups offer an example of the challenge of nailing a smooth product launch and underscore the importance of catching errors in production.
The "extremely high volume of interest" in Beats Music caused some users to experience performance issues and prompted the company to quickly put a hold on new users, CEO Ian Rodgers explained in a post on the Beats Music blog. Users who already signed up can continue using the service, but new users will have to wait.
"Most people are unaffected, but our priority is to give everyone a great experience," Rodgers wrote. "We prepared for issues like these, have a plan and are going to hold off on letting more people in while we put this plan in action."
The Verge's Ellis Hamburger reported problems with getting the service's offline mode to work reliably, while SFGate writer Julie Balise noted problems with songs randomly skipping or taking a long time to load. At the same time, both writers praised the app's simultaneous launch across Web, iOS, Windows Phone and Android, and they noted that its aims at editorial curation, such as a feature called The Sentence, offered an innovative twist for music streaming apps.
Yet the audience for these innovations may be limited by the service's functionality issues, providing a useful example of the challenges awaiting any development team's product launch. As shown by the challenges of last fall's HealthCare.gov debut, a buggy initial product can quickly garner a wave of bad press, critiques or controversy. While the Beats Music flaws appear minor, developers can avoid such headline-grabbing scenarios by subjecting their code to static analysis software tests and code review in advance of a launch.
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