Music Industry

So About Apple Looking to Buy Beats…

The big tech/consumer electronics story today is Apple’s (alleged) move to buy Beats, the Jimmy Iovine/Dr. Dre company that sells more headphones than anyone else on the planet and operates the Beats music streaming service.  The price? About $3.2 billion USD.  If this all goes through and that number is correct, it will be one of the biggest purchases Apple has ever made.

Knowing that Tim Cook and co. don’t do anything without exhaustive analysis, Apple watchers are wondering what’s the rationale behind such an expensive and high-profile deal.  Here’s what I’m thinking.

1. Apple covets the headphone market.  The best way to immediately dominate is to buy the biggest player outright. Profits at Beats are huge.  Their marketing is top-notch. And sonic quality aside (I don’t like how Beats sound at all), the quality of Beats gear is generally very good.

2. Beats Music works very well with Android users.  Buying it would mean Apple won’t have to build iTunes for Android.  Or for Windows Phone.  Or any other OS.

3.  A boost in the cool factor.  There are millions and millions of people who haven’t been sucked into the Apple Reality Distortion Field.  Millions of Beats lovers can be brought invisibly into the sphere of influence.

4.  Even though the Beats Music streaming service doesn’t have much in the way of subscribers–it’s only been active since January–iTunes Radio isn’t doing that well, either.  This takes a competitor out of the equation.

5.  Apple wants Jimmy Iovine for…something.

6. Beats’ Illuminati is stronger that Apple’s Illuminati.

7. There’s connection between Apple and Beats that goes back years. And it involves Jonny Ive.

That’s all I’ve been able to come up with so far.  But like I said, I’m probably missing many, many factors in this decision.

Meanwhile, Music Industry Blog has these thoughts.  And then Billboard talks about this potentially be a major turning point in the evolution of streaming music.  Hey, remember when Apple bought a company called SoundJam last century?  Who would have thought they’d turn that into everything that became iTunes.

Then again Business Insider is stumped as to why Apple would make this purchase.  And Digital Music News has seven reasons why this is a bad idea.

We will watch with interest.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38413 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “So About Apple Looking to Buy Beats…

  • It will be interesting to see what they do with brand. In the past, whenever Apple has acquired someone they’ve re-branded them as Apple. This may end up being more of a Rolls / Bentley thing.


Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.