Is the Dr Dre Beats dream of joining forces with Apple dead or alive? That is a question many are wondering about, since Dr. Dre made his initial boast of becoming hip-hop’s first billionaire. He may have recently overstepped his bounds by making a bold statement while in a drunken stupor, which is not at all conducive to Apple’s conservative nature. While, Dr. Dre is big and out there, Apple has long been known for its secrecy and this babbling blunder may have Apple wondering if Dr. Dre is the right fit. Can he be trusted with future trade secrets and design before they are ready to be unveiled? Time will tell as to whether the Dr Dre Beats dream with Apple will come to fruition.
Suspense is building as Apple does not seem to be talking. Dr. Dre obviously recognized he may have been talking too much and too soon, as videos of his blundering moment have vanished from social media outlets. The history of Apple’s notorious ability to remain silent, screams for attention, and may have placed a damper on what should have been the Dr Dre Beats celebratory opening for its new campus in Culver City.
Beats had a quiet opening for its headquarters in Culver City. Barbara Bestor, an L.A. architect, designed the 110,000-square-foot compound which sprawls over four buildings, houses 450 employees, and is nestled in the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. The cost was $39 million. The exterior is simple and gray, but the inside is designed for creative minds to flourish. From the inside, a scenic hill can be viewed as there are floor-to-ceiling panel windows, with work spaces that offer high ceilings and openness, likened to an airplane hanger. Dr Dre encourages employee exercise with an outdoor basketball court and inside, a custom gym. A retinal scanner allows confidential access into certain parts of certain buildings. There is a beautiful glass-enclosed atrium and indoor trees. These digs of Dr Dre Beats greets all who enter with a 7-foot-11-inch touch screen, as well as an impressive gold-gilded staircase, which displays the flashy fashion of the Beats hipster.
Bob Lefsetz is known as a music industry guru and seems to have a beef that the Dr Dre Beats headphones has a bass-heavy frequency response, and feels that they are nothing more than mediocre. He goes on to say that Beats music is a me-too service that Jimmy Iovine created for nothing more than wealth. Columbia trained economist, Joe Speicher, said that Dr. Dre needed to brand Beats and they did so as an ecosystem. Speicher, who is also a San Francisco web entrepreneur, recognizes that by Beats branding themselves on this particular platform, it set them up to be acquired. Another upside being that Iovine’s music industry connections is vital to the inter-workings of Beats future success. In spite of Dr. Dre having a drinking blunder, is his Beats dream dead or alive with Apple?
Iovine is known as a marketing mastermind and he simply recognized a branding opportunity. He had the vision to see that the name of Dr. Dre would be a vital connection to the product and branding. Apple is now recognizing that marketing mastermind Iovine has a lot more to offer than just a set of headphones. It is reported that Iovine owns 25 percent of Beats. Apple sees the acquisition as a move for talent, fashion and culture, all of which are very valuable assets.
Gene Munster, an Apple analyst, defines this potential deal as an acquihire, which means that one company buys another to acquire its employees. In the music business, it is all about mixing it up. Combining the Iovine/Dr Dre Beats mix with Apple could harness a whole new move in technology and culture. If this deal becomes solidified, it will be the biggest fish ever caught for Silicon Beach. Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) is coming up June 2-6, in San Francisco, which is where they often make big announcements. Perhaps the knowing nothing about the Beats/Apple deal is supposed to be a suspense builder for the WWDC. In the meantime, the world looks on to learn whether the Dr Dre Beats dream is dead or alive with Apple. The world continues to watch and wait.
Commentary by Jill Boyer-Adriance