Dr. Dre to rock WWDC, and 5 other Beats revelations

drdre-power106

Dr. Dre and Beats partner Jimmy Iovine could share the stage with Apple next month.

Apple’s biggest acquisition ever is all the tech world can talk about, and Apple hasn’t even confirmed the news yet.

Last week it was reported that Apple has plans to acquire Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. Shortly after the news broke, Beats co-founder and legendary producer Dr. Dre called himself the “first billionaire in hip-hop.”

Now Dre and music industry tycoon Jimmy Iovine are rumored to appear onstage at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next month. What exactly the future holds for Apple and Beats remains unclear, but here are five things to know about the monumental deal:

Jimmy Iovine is a big deal for Apple

The most powerful man in music.

The most powerful man in music.

As perhaps the most well-connected man in the music industry, Jimmy Iovine is likely a big reason Apple wants Beats. Besides running Beats, Iovine is also the CEO of Interscope Records, one of the biggest labels on the planet. His contract with Interscope is set to expire later this year, which would give him the chance to take a job somewhere else… like in Cupertino.

Iovine has a long history with Apple, and he was one of the first record label executives to be on board with the iTunes Store back in the early 2000s. He was a personal friend of Steve Jobs, and he has described pitching a streaming service to Jobs years before services like Spotify came onto the scene.

Iovine is one of the most forward-thinking executives in the music industry, and he could bring a lot of connections and expertise to the table. Apple reportedly wants Iovine to “revamp and run its whole music strategy.” He’s certainly the man for the job.

Beats will likely remain a separate brand

(Gif provided by gadgetlove.com)

There are a lot of ways Apple could choose to use Beats, but it’s believed that the iconic brand will not go away.

Beats headphones are almost as ubiquitous on city streets as Apple’s white EarPods. Apple could choose to just re-brand Beats headphones as its own, but instead “Apple plans to work with the company to improve the quality of design in future versions.”

Apple needs Black America, which Beats understands

Nearly two thirds of African Americans use Android over the iPhone, according to Nielsen’s market research. Thanks largely to the cultural influence of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s savviness, Beats has managed to market itself very effectively to black Americans.

Beats-By-Dre-630x347

Professional athletes, rappers, and celebrities are seen sporting Beats in public and in advertisements. Beats owns not only the market share, but the mindshare of the premium headphones market. And it has managed to do that while also appealing to a specific demographic Apple has trouble reaching.

Apple is completely rethinking its music strategy

Digital downloads are beginning to free-fall as streaming services like Spotify have started catching on. Before the Beats news came out, it was reported that Apple was considering a completely redesigned iTunes Store.

Beats Music could mean that Apple finally becomes an established player in the world of music streaming. And while Steve Jobs was famously against music streaming, it’s obvious that Tim Cook and Eddy Cue are warming up to the idea.

The deal is also about wearables

x119SOLOHDB-o_studio

Our own Leander Kahney made a strong argument over the weekend about how Beats is important for Apple’s wearable plans. In an interview with Robert Brunner, the man who hired Jony Ive at Apple and designed the first pair of Beats headphones, it’s made clear that Beats understands fashion.

Brunner explained to Cult of Mac how Beats has approached wearables:

1. It’s more about how you feel wearing it than function. If you don’t feel it’s part of who you are and it is enhancing that, then you won’t wear it. This is where fashion and emotion come in and few tech companies get this. It’s something we focused on day one with Beats.
2. It’s not about technology at all, but about what it does for you and how it fits and enhances your life. It is not magic anymore just to be connected per se. It needs to do something valuable and meaningful in your life.
3. It’s important who adopts it first. With Beats we were overt in enlisting visible, aspirational people to wear the product. Bluetooth headsets and Google Glass are victims of their early adopters and this has — or will — limit how pervasive they will be. No one wants to be seen as a sales rep or an arrogant “glasshole.” Again, it’s fashion and who is wearing it first matters.

Read the full article here.

(animated gif courtesy of GadgetLove)

  • PMB01

    What I learned from this is that white people actually know how to pick good headphones.

    I agree that Beats headphones will stay branded as such, but the streaming service will get absorbed into the iTunes sphere (a la Lala) and the Beats Music standalone service will be axed. The only way this won’t suck for Android users is if it’s done in combination with a launch of iTunes for Android. Other than that, this will probably frustrate that user base, however small it may be.

    • JessicaSideways

      You mean just like how the Gallo Winery hides the fact that it produces bumwines such as Thunderbird and Night Train Express?

      • PMB01

        Congratulations on the most irrelevant comment of the day!

  • JJ

    So Apple hired Dr Dre out of consolation for black Americans? Tanning salons don’t get a lot of black American customers. I guess hiring more black Americans at tanning salons will turn the business around. My point is, not all products work for all groups of people. Apple products are of course good for everyone. So the question is, what is it about Apple products that black Americans don’t find appealing? If the answer is because there is no black person in their executive panel, then that’s pretty shallow.

    • robogobo

      Well, I guess I’d have to ask first where the heck everyone got this idea that black people don’t like Apple products, and they love Beats so much. Is there some kind of official polling available, or are we just being extremely racially ignorant?

  • http://www.paolospen.blogspot.com/ Paolo Maligaya

    I hope this means Apple is taking iPod seriously again. I’m still waiting for an iPod HD, a dedicated music player that could play high resolution files.

    • Joshua D.

      i will never understand the purpose of a ipod touch when an iphone does the same dang thing and more.

      • Thomas DM

        Money. Money’s the purpose.
        Not everyone lives in a country where smartphones are heavily subsidized. Where I live, a 64GB iPod touch sells for 429€, or $590. You’d have to shell out more than twice as much for a 64GB iPhone 5s (899€, or $1237).

  • Joshua D.

    you can get Audio Technica headphones starting at a price range as low as $49.99 to higher end around $160. The $49.99 pair are better than some of beats midrange headphones that start around $200 – $300 while ignorant people will claim your poor and just can’t afford it and that its high quality, yet the audio technica headphones look just as good and sound 10x better.

    • Andy Shorrock

      Yeah, but Audio Technica hasn’t got the cache. It’s not a “Brand” – the whole point is Apple’s moving away from Geeks (tech or audiophiles) & into the mainstream of becoming a fashionable brand in it’s own right.
      This allows them to come at it from a different angle – Apple thinking differently again – a damn good sign!

  • Mohamed Danish

    Perfect acquisition for a long time for Apple..

    • JessicaSideways

      How?

  • Paul Armer Aavmcc

    More power to him…….as long as apple replace the terrible earphones they have been supplying for so long with some of these bad boys, i will be happy!

    • JessicaSideways

      So, replace terrible earphones with more terrible earphones?

      • ff

        actually try out some of the new stuff beats came out with before acting like a total cunt

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in Featured stories, News, Top stories | Tagged: , , , |