One of the reasons Beats Music is so interesting is that Beats announced it would make the service available to Windows Phone users, and fairly immediately. And just over a week after the service launched on iPhone and Android, it's here as promised: Beats Music for Windows Phone 8.
If you're curious about Beats Music and whether it's a viable alternative to Xbox Music, Spotify, or other cross-platform services, be sure to check out Beats Music Preview and Hands-on with Beats Music. This post will just generally examine the Beats Music app on Windows Phone 8 to see whether it's any different from the iPhone and Android versions.
Note: Since this understandably rankles many readers, I should mention up front that Beats Music is currently US-only. Obviously, that will change.
In Windows Phone 8 guise, Beats Music appears to look and work just like the iPhone and Android versions. Depending on your attitude, that may be good news or bad: As I first discussed in the post Why is the Facebook Beta App for Windows Phone 8 Identical to the Android and iOS Apps? last May, many app makers are opting to promote their brand over the Windows Phone UX, and the resulting apps look identical, or nearly so, between iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Beats Music is such an app, and there's no Metro UI to be seen almost anywhere. But that's not all bad, and as I argued previously, I'd rather see Windows Phone be supported by these major services than ignored, and one way that such a thing can happen is for them to not need to worry about platform-specific differences.
So that's what happens in Beats Music, and you really have to dig to find any Metro UI elements at all. Buttons, text boxes, whatever control you care to find is highly stylized and bears no resemblance to Metro.
(OK, the notification screen uses a standard app bar, at least. I think that's the only standard control in the entire app.)
Familiarity with Beats Music on iPhone or Android will help here, since they all look and work the same. You see the same main navigational screens—Highlights, The Sentence, Find It, and Just For You—and the same side-panel menu that provides access to settings and your phone-based collection.
Ditto for the content, and frankly that's one of the best things about Beats Music: It does have an amazing selection of curated playlists, and of course a neat, Mad Libs-type way to make your own. It's all there.
Performance seems OK, but I'll need to spend more time with it. And I don't believe it can see or use the music you may have synced to the phone, but then in my cases, I believe it's all from Xbox Music, and that wouldn't be available to other apps anyway.
Long story, short: Just looking at the app quickly, it appears to deliver exactly the same experience as we saw last week on Android and iOS. I'll use it more over the weekend, but the initial prognosis is absolutely positive.