Throughout its short history, the Beats brand has always been divisive: its headphones are as often derided for their exaggerated bass and gaudy looks as they are lauded by celebrity endorsers. LeBron James, Cesc Fàbregas, and Neymar Jr. are just some of the sports stars to have associated their names with Beats products, and artists like Will.i.Am, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj have also added to its fame.
Through Beats tumultuous and colourful history one thing has remained; it has always, always come out on top.
Formally established in 2006, Beats is the brain child of the eponymous American record producer and rapper, Andre Young, aka Dr. Dre and the co-founder of Interscope Records, Jimmy Iovine.
Iovine, who was already friends with Dr. Dre, bumped into him by chance and the idea for Beats began.
"I was walking down the beach one day and I ran into Andre Young, Dr. Dre. I was exercising, and I said 'How're you doing?' And Dre is very soft-spoken, doesn't talk much, he just said to me, 'Yo, my lawyer, he wants me to sell sneakers, what do you think?'"
"I said, 'Dre, nobody in the world cares about how you dress or will care about your sneakers, what you should sell is speakers.' At that moment, he said to me, 'We can do that?' And I said, 'F--- yeah.'"
And that's how Beats was born.
On the philosophy behind Beats, Dr Dre once said:
“People aren’t hearing all the music. Artists and producers work hard in the studio perfecting their sound. But people can’t really hear it with normal headphones. Most headphones can’t handle the bass, the detail, the dynamics. Bottom line, the music doesn’t move you. With Beats, people are going to hear what the artists hear, and listen to the music the way they should: the way I do.”
Iovine sought the opinions of musicians such asM.I.A.,Pharrell Williams,will.i.am, andGwen Stefani during the early developmental stage.
Manufactured by Monster Inc, a company that already had a reputation for “premium” products, Beats launched the first ever Beats Studio exclusively sold by Best Buy and Apple in its retail and online stores.
Beats by Dre and Monster teamed up with pop music and fashion icon Lady Gaga to create the Heart Beats. Lady Gaga led the way in associating her brand image with that of Beats — with luxury brands like Ferrari and DJs like Calvin Harris following suit.
Beats made its first foray into embedding its technology in other devices with the limited edition Envy 15. The use of Beats Audio in HP laptops and tablets has since become widespread. This partnership has helped enhance the stature of both brands.
Beats announced its partnership to implement Beats Audio in the Chrysler's automobiles. According to Beats: “Your car is more than just a way to get from A to B. It’s one of the few places where music matters the most. With BeatsAudio you can immerse yourself in your favorite songs and hear them in ways you never have before.”
Today, Beats Audio can also be found in Fiat and Dodge cars.
Mobile manufacturer HTC bought a majority 50.1 percent share in Beats Electronics for $300 million. HTC followed that up by releasing Beats Audio-powered smartphones with the HTC Sensation XE.
Beats Parts Ways With Monster
Beats ended its exclusive partnership with Monster and began manufacturing its products in-house.
Guerilla Marketing at the Olympics
Beats enacts a successful ambush marketing campaign during the 2012 London Olympics, when they shipped boxes of specially decorated headphones to the hotels where Team Britain athletes were staying. Beats had done something similar with LeBron James and the US basketball team in the 2008 Olympics earlier. Both campaigns were hugely successful, with entire sports teams sporting the immediately recognizable Beats logos on their heads.
Almost exactly two years after the XE’s launch, Beats bought back HTC’s share of the company for around $410 million. Beats began valuing itself as a billion dollar company for the first time shortly after the buy big.
Launches Beats Music
Beats Electronics enters the music streaming business to challenge the likes of Spotify, Pandora, and Apple’s iTunes Radio with the highly ambitious, subscription-based service. Beats Music emphasizes recommendations by music professionals alongside algorithmic recommendations.
Apple Acquires Beats for $3.4 Billion
Beats was acquired by Apple in 2014 in a 3.2 Billion dollar, the largest in Apple's history. Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the acquisition by saying: "Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple. That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world."
Both Apple and Beats By D. Dre have been working to fulfill that promise ever since.
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