Saying Goodbye to Beep

Friends, 


This is a really tough email for me to write. So I’ll get straight to the point: over the next few weeks we’ll be wrapping up work on Beep music.

This has been a really tough decision for the team and for me personally. We love the Beep Dial, and we loved what it was about -- bringing more music into your life. We love that thousands of people use it every week to listen to music at home, and we would love to keep working on it and other music products.

But to keep investing in something, we need a business that works. And we’ve failed to find a business in music that can support Beep.

The truth is, we didn’t make any money selling the Beep Dial -- it would take very high volumes to turn a profit. We were okay with that because we planned to make money by integrating our technology with speaker manufacturers, but those efforts did not materialize into partnerships that could financially support Beep. (A long story -- buy me a drink some time and I’ll tell you about it. :) )

Finally, competition has changed significantly over the past year, and the market opportunity we saw has gone away.

So what does this mean for you? Hopefully not too much. Your Beep Dials will continue to work as they do today. They won’t be getting new features, and if partners like Pandora and Spotify change things, those integrations may break. But we’ll keep things running as long as we can. For the next few weeks we’ll still be working with partners on fixes for known issues.

If you do want to make a transition off of Beep, the timing is good. Google just launched a product that will give you a very similar experience to Beep and costs $35. (They promise multi-room sync is coming soon, too.)

Mostly, I just wanted to tell you what’s going on. You’ve been our early adopters and supporters, and Beep only saw the light of day because of you. I’m very thankful for that and wanted to let you know what’s happening with us.

Thanks again for being part of this journey with us.

With sadness about the outcome, but thankfulness for the journey,

Daniel
Co-founder & CEO
Beep

 

DLNA and Music Library Playback

In the latest release of Beep (3/11/15) we’ve added the capability for Beep to act as a DLNA renderer.

This allows Beep to play music sent from any DLNA server, as controlled by any DLNA controller. (You can catch up on DLNA terminology here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Living_Network_Alliance.)

We chose to start here for building support for local music for Beep. DLNA is an open standard, and it allows you to play your music from lots of other apps, which fits well with our open philosophy.

The experience so far is “alpha” level. We have been using it internally, and it works, but it’s finicky at best.

We believe our implementation on Beep is solid, but the apps that act as DLNA controllers are not particularly stable. We’ve tried ~20 different apps each on Android and iOS, and here are the best one’s we’ve found. The Android apps are quite a bit better than the iOS ones — we’d love more recommendations if you have them!

DLNA Controller Apps, Android 

BubbleUPNP isn’t bad, and it supports the full set of DLNA features. Choose “Local Media Server” as the “Library” to play the music files on your phone.

AllCast is pretty stable. I like the UI better than BubbleUPNP, but AllCast can only play music on your phone, not your computer or NAS. Ads are a bit annoying on the free version, so might be worth an upgrade.

DLNA Controller Apps, iOS 

Media Link Player, weighing in at 2 stars, is one of the ugliest apps we’ve seen in a long time. Surprisingly, it seems to work reasonably well. You have to buy the $5 version — the free one won’t work.

PlugPlayer, also $5, is significantly better-looking than Media Link. But it’s not quite as stable. I find myself using it anyway, because I just can’t look at Media Link.

DLNA Servers (The app that runs on your PC to make your music library discoverable.) 

Logitech Media Server has a minimal UI, runs in the background, and works great.

Plex takes a bit more setup, but also should work. You can use Plex if you already have it set up.

And that’s it. We’d love to have you give it a try and let us all know what you learn on this thread.

Daniel

Nest

We’re very excited to announce we are working with Nest.

One of the great things about Nest Protect is that it can give you alerts without sounding a loud alarm. But those alerts won’t help much if you have your music up too loud to hear them.

So we’ve worked with Nest to do something really simple: turn down the music when Nest Protect has something you need to hear.

We aren’t rolling it out quite yet, but the basic implementation is in place and and we wanted to let you know that it’s coming. Here’s the formal announcement. And more info here: www.shop.thisisbeep.com/nest

--

Today, Beep announces an integration with the Nest Protect: Smoke & Carbon Monoxide, adding an audio platform to the connected home. If you’re listening to music throughout your house and Nest Protect detects smoke or CO, Beep can silence what’s playing so you can hear the message. 

The Beep Dial can be placed anywhere in your home and works with any speaker system with an aux-in port, connecting your speakers to your music over Wi-Fi. Beep can synchronize music throughout the house, or play different music in different rooms.

Beep is compatible with iOS and Android devices, and control of Beep is directly integrated into the Pandora and Spotify apps.

Co-founded in 2012 by Daniel Conrad and Shawn Lewis, the company is headquartered in San Francisco. 

To learn more about how Beep works with Nest, visit www.shop.thisisbeep.com/nest

Background on Beep:

  • Beep builds devices and open technology for multi-room home audio. More at www.thisisbeep.com.
  • Control of Beep is integrated directly into both Spotify and Pandora apps.
  • Beep’s first product, the Beep Dial, is shipping now. The Dial retrofits your existing speakers, connecting them to Wi-Fi for synchronized multi-room playback (functionality can be compared to the Sonos Connect). Beep Dials are assembled in San Francisco, and cost $99 each.
  • Beep is also working with several speaker manufacturers to directly integrate Beep technology into speakers, for market in 2015.
  • Beep was founded in San Francisco in 2012 by former members of Google’s Android and Platforms teams. Beep has raised $4M in seed financing. Investors include David Dolby, Tony Hsieh, Justin Kan, Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan, Technicolor Ventures, Y Combinator, WTI.
  • Product images are available at this link.