Updated from Jan. 11, 2013, 10 a.m. to include management of Beats' new music service.
He wants to control every aspect of the sound. With Beats, he can even control how it sounds after it leaves the studio, how it sounds in your ears. But those control issues are married with great business instincts. Where another artist would sell T-shirts and crap or slap his stage name on a brand of perfume, Dre has taken merchandizing to a whole new level, creating a substantial business. With Beats by Dre, the artist brand and the company brand work together as equal partners. It was a brilliant move and, in the process, he actually changed the face of the audio products market and set a new benchmark for other entrepreneurs. Dr. Dre founded Beats in 2006 with Jimmy Iovine, chairman and CEO of Interscope/Geffen/A&M, ostensibly to create a listener experience comparable to the recording studio. Small, high-quality home audio systems already existed -- Bose had pioneered the space -- but widely used products that appealed to the young popular music crowd were simply absent. Think about it: Where have you seen Bose outside of magazine ads? A coffee table or bookshelf in a well-to-do living room or bedroom. The company's products are sleek and the sound quality is remarkable but the appeal is quiet, staid and low-key. Apart from Bose, other makers of headphones just didn't seem interested in marketing an improved audio experience, particularly not for the average pop music listener. Beats saw the opening and took it, putting out a cool-looking line of high-quality audio headphones designed to rock the house anywhere, anytime. Colorful and packaged with trademark audio technology, they were branded with Dre's producer cred and marketed with a $200-to-$300 price point.
|Beats by Dre|