Southwest Airlines starts streaming Beats Music

Southwest Airlines has inked a deal with Beats Music that will see specially-customized playlists from the streaming service piped straight into select flights. Available on Southwest's WiFi-enabled routes, the Beats Music integration will see both pre-curated playlists offered for streaming, as well as tap into the Apple-owned system's ability to piece together a uniquely tailored playlist of tracks based on a few individual preferences of the listener themselves. Users won't have to cough up for internet access, however.

Instead, as long as you don't want to go browsing – or, indeed, streaming – anywhere else, there'll be nothing to pay whatsoever.

Beats Music's auto-curation feature takes location, activity, surroundings, and musical preference and cooks up a list of tracks the service believes will suit. On a plane, that presumably means "aisle seat," "eating peanuts," "trying to avoid nudging someone's elbow on the shared armrest," and "anything which drowns out that crying baby."

Many airlines have offered in-flight radio or even a full catalog of albums from which passengers can piece together their own playlists. However, the infrastructure for that is not inconsiderable, and would of course require each seat have a display.

That wouldn't fit with Southwest's budget ambitions, hence the focus instead on the passenger's own device. The Beats Music player will work both with the iOS and Android apps, as well as in the web browser.