[Oh my... looks like I've gone logorrheic again... think we need some bold to give the eye anchors in the text...]
MOG is the middle-aged streaming subscription service that is being subsumed into the new darling of the chatterati, Beats Music. (Rhapsody would be the Grand Old Man, of course.)
Mog (which is scheduled to sink beneath the waves of cyberspace April 15th) is/was much loved by those who value fidelity, as they have had all 'hi fi' 320 kbps streams (although they have had lower quality, smaller files as an option for mobiles).
[SPOILER: the dark horse is -- I couldn't believe it myself, as I checked it out when it was new and was unimpressed but things have really changed, I think -- Google All Access. No kidding. More to come in a second post below.]
(While Spotify Premium hit these shores promising to work toward all-320kbps, their bottom-feeder mentality seems to have subverted that effort and they blow a mix of mostly lower fidelity, lower bitrate files.)
But MOG, while much loved by the discriminating few, was ignored by the techno-chatterati for much of its lifespan. There were a series of suitors and the chatterati perked up when Beats Electronics (the glow-in-the-dark boombox-on-your-head headphone-folks once associated with the redoubtable Dre) put together a team figureheaded by Trent Reznor and some other faded rock stars but really run by a guy named Ian C. Rogers.
Rogers was familiar to me because he oversaw the purchase and eventual dismantling of the first subscription stream service I used, MusicMatch On Demand by Yahoo, who, under Rogers, fielded their own arguably somewhat equivalent knock off of MMoD -- which folded quickly, leaving me washed up on Rhapsody's shores, where I basked until the day Spotify US debuted. I tried it but wasn't all that impressed. But our correspondent Nat Whik mentioned MOG, which unlike Spot, did have all 320 kbps streams. I fell in love in 20 minutes and let my Rhap subscription run out a few weeks later.
MOG was pretty great. The original player (or the one they had when I came onboard) was Flash-based and fairly flexible, with a few quirks. But I basically dug it. But, you know, Flash, right?
So they put together an HTML5-centric browser player -- but then had to use Flash for IP control reasons at the time. It had some nice features (aces among them was the ability to drag and drop album/track 'art' onto the play queue or a playlist link -- a very natural feeling action once you got in the swing).
But there were a number of downsides to the HTML5 UI -- not least of which was a drop in play queue management functionality -- you could no longer 'lasso' and move/delete multiple files in the play que, forcing you to make any changes one track at a time. (Say you accidentally dropped the wrong double album in -- you'd then have to click the wee delete-X on each track; with a modern machine and a good amount of RAM,that went pretty quickly but 24 separate clicks? Oh my!)
But, the BIG downside was that aside from a handful of geeks, most of the world was ignoring MOG -- especially the all important tech writers who were all still sucking down freebies from the mega-hyped Spotify launch, I'm guessing.
Despite the tireless (and often shameless) efforts of a handful of totally volunteer 'evangeleists' like myself, the perception was that MOG was languishing and needed a white knight (maybe they should have gone with Suge instead of Dre?  .
In came the Rogers/Reznor Beats crew ... and out went just about all that I loved about MOG.
Beats is... how to say this nicely?
It seems designed for people who prize bling above almost all else. It's got garish, in your face graphics and UI animations long on flashy movement and short on usability.
And FORGET flexibility. For one thing -- there is NO play queue in Beats, at least the way we tend to think of them. For those using Beats on an Android mobile -- apparently the most developed of the Beats branches?!? -- you can play a track, album, or playlist. You can create a playlist and add a track, album or playlist to it. But you can't change the order of tracks in the playlist -- nor can you even DELETE a track. (This is supposedly promised and support was for a bit claiming it worked but not that I saw.)
If you want to play another track or album, there is NO way to add at track to the end of the play queue. There is no 'play next' -- there's ONLY play right now interrupting what's on. That's it.
The DESKTOP Beats browser version is -- get this -- even MORE stunted.
You can play a track, albulm or playlist. You can't create even a new playlist, but you can add to one you've created from the mobile.
Like the mobile, if you play an album or playlist, you can't change the order they're played in, you can't even delete a track from the play queue (there is no play queue, remember?) If you don't want to hear a track or tracks on an album -- you have to MANUALLY skip them in real time. No kidding. I'm am not lying.
They actually dropped it this way!
So... anyhow, I kept trying Beats Music for two weeks (they had so much trouble with the Beats roll-out they extened the original 7 day trial for those signing up the first few days -- but many people including me couldn't get in for the better part of a week) but it's just a shabby joke, as far as I'm concerned.
The feature that seemed to excite the rubes was this thing called The Sentence, a sort of mad-libs sentence scrambling animated UI feature that throws some vaguely mood/music related phrase bits around into a semblance of a sentence, which then 'generates' a playlist. Clearly Beats had no access to the wealth of my preference info that MOG had accumulated (and used pretty well for it's Just-for-You suggestions) because it was skip-city. I felt like I was using Pandora Free. Just one song I hated after another. Like inverse mind meld. (Beats bot: I'll bet he REALLY hates this!)