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Can Beats help AT&T make money in mobile music?

Cnet reports that Jimmy Iovine of Beats Electronics is hoping to partner with AT&T to help launch of his company’s upcoming subscription music service. Iovine’s strategy reportedly is to package the service free with the carrier’s data plans for a limited time to grow the audience quickly, then try to convert those users to paying subscribers.

While the ringtone craze was immensely lucrative for carriers (as well as third-party content providers), they have since failed miserably to monetize mobile music. Offerings like Verizon Wireless’s Vcast Music were outrageously overpriced, difficult to navigate and nearly impossible to integrate with users’ existing music libraries or services.

But Beats’ upcoming service, called Daisy, could prove compelling. Iovine has promised that quality curation will be a key differentiator for Daisy, serving up the most appropriate music choices to users based on their personal schedules and listening habits. And AT&T could help make Daisy even more attractive by enabling Beats to leverage consumer data like mobile browsing histories to create a more customized experience. Carriers have consistently proven they are incapable of providing a quality mobile music experience at a reasonable price. But AT&T — or another carrier, for that matter — could give Daisy a big boost if it simply stays out of the way and allows Beats to manage it.