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May 9, 2014 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Tim Cook beats a new path. Apple management are reported to be finalising a deal with Beats Electronics to purchase the entire company for $3bn+

The Financial Times has reported that Apple are offering $3.2bn for the company co-founded by Dr Dre. The news has quickly spread around the world.

The motivation for starting the company was apparently the poor quality of the headphones supplied with the iPod and iPhone. Beats headphones now have the dominant position in the market for headphones costing over £100. It is thought that the beats music streaming arm is the real prize for Apple.

The Apple brand has been experiencing a 'greying' of its demographic, this acquisition may also be an attempt to appeal to a younger audience.

Previously
posted by asok (141 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Considering how badly Dr. Dre has been fucked over by record labels in his life, he deserves every last dollar.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:46 AM on May 9 [11 favorites]


Mr. Gruber is skeptical.
posted by gwint at 6:50 AM on May 9 [5 favorites]


I always knew that The Chronic was just a 60-minute pitch to Apple. Snoop Dogg = Steve Jobs; Eazy-E = John Sculley
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:53 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Being a billionaire should help Dre on getting that Detox release out. Hopefully wealth doesn't neuter him like Jay-Z
posted by Renoroc at 6:54 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, Apple could buy General Motors and still have $100B cash left in the bank, so if Jony Ive drunk dialed Dr. Dre and promised he'd buy Beats in the morning, Tim Cook could just roll his eyes and do it.
posted by gwint at 6:56 AM on May 9 [41 favorites]


I've long thought that the launch of the iPad marked the end of Apple as a technology company which was really good at marketing, and the start of it as a marketing company that had some really good tech to sell.

This is - and can only be - a marketing move. The balance continues to shift.
posted by Devonian at 6:57 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Some speculation that this is to get Universal Exec Jimmy Iovine
posted by Didymium at 6:58 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


But that can't be all of it. $3.2Bn for one guy is…uh…crazy?
posted by Didymium at 6:59 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Really is kind of weird to see Apple chasing users through acquisitions. Facebook-esque?
posted by selfnoise at 6:59 AM on May 9


Some speculation that this is to get Universal Exec Jimmy Iovine

I may not have my rate sheet available, but I doubt that Jimmy goes for $3.2B.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:00 AM on May 9


Eazy-E = John Sculley

yea i can see that.
posted by echocollate at 7:03 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


I get it from a marketing standpoint, but this is still a shame. Beats headphones are ridiculously overpriced and overhyped for their quality, which is best described as "adequate." Apple's known for their uncompromising design standards and that justifies their high prices. Beats wouldn't make a top ten list for headphones in that price range.
posted by naju at 7:04 AM on May 9 [50 favorites]


I honestly didn't even know that Beats had a streaming service. Can Apple make it competitive with Spotify? It seems sort of unlikely. Obviously the hardware is incredibly lucrative--those headphones are practically the definition of a Veblen good--so that'll be there to prop up lagging subscriptions, but if the streaming is the real meat here, Apple must think it can seriously compete.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:05 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


But that can't be all of it. $3.2Bn for one guy is…uh…crazy?
It's one guy, his price is whatever he says it is, which may have been "buy Beats"
Plus they get a headphone company
Plus it's like money down the sofa to them
posted by fullerine at 7:07 AM on May 9


Apple is just continuing their necessary transformation into a consumer electronics and financial services company.
posted by judson at 7:08 AM on May 9 [5 favorites]


Really is kind of weird to see Apple chasing users through acquisitions.

This is just a sign of the maturity of the markets they're in. Apple's success over the last ~decade has largely been due to identifying two different emerging product categories and nailing them by producing a quality product suitable for use by everyone (not just early adopters) and doing so before any other major player. There really don't seem to be any opportunities like that today. Wearables may be there soon, but I doubt it.
posted by Slothrup at 7:09 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


I would bet that Iovine's check in this deal will have a few more zeroes on it than Dre's.

And my heart's not really going out to either of them given how they managed to screw over Monster when they separated. (And, well, whatever you can say about Monster I'm inclined to agree with, but it's one thing to say "there's no honor among thieves" and another to see it in action.)

> Beats headphones are ridiculously overpriced and overhyped for their quality

I'd take a more nuanced view than that. They've never really been bad, per se; they're fashion accessories as much as they are headphones; as such they're in the category of hundred dollar watches, hundred dollar jeans, hundred dollar sneakers. That they play music tends to make people consider only the technical merits and disregard the rest.
posted by ardgedee at 7:09 AM on May 9 [6 favorites]


beats suck, but they sell a ton. if apple decides to make them better headphones, but keep all the cultural cache that beats enjoys, this could be a gret move for them. i could seem them doing it for that reason and to get iovine - i think he's a shitheel, but he should have his picture under the definition of synergy, so i could see why apple would want him.

does anyone know what share of the company dre holds?
posted by nadawi at 7:10 AM on May 9


This is, for me, another instance of Apple being involved in a music streaming deal that worsens the situation for easy, legal access to high-quality streamed music.

First, Apple bought Lala in 2009, which was a great service, only to shut it down. Oh, I thought, it's going to use Lala's resources/experience to roll out a great music streamer... Nada.

MOG was the best of the current music streaming services. Better interface and catalogue than Spotify, no fiddly "social networking" component; just good-quality streamed music on desktop or mobile. Beats comes in (ooh, Jimmy Iovine! ooh, Dr. Dre!), swallows MOG, shuts it down and replaces it with...a service whose quality I can't judge because I need to have the latest version of iOS on my phone to download the app that'll then allow me to access the Web player.

This stinks of some PR-driven play to grab a not-particularly-discerning segment of the market (like Beats' crap headphones? use them to lsten to our "curated" playlists!).

Fuck them all. I'm going with Spotify and Rdio.
posted by the sobsister at 7:10 AM on May 9 [11 favorites]


iTunes Radio is already more popular than Spotify.

This rumor makes no sense, Apple has been philosophically opposed to the kind of large acquisitions that make headlines but rarely integrate well.

Look at their largest purchases before this, most are well under $500m and these tend to be for things like parts (flash memory, sensors) or as part of a patent portfolio.
posted by 2bucksplus at 7:11 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


as such they're in the category of hundred dollar watches, hundred dollar jeans, hundred dollar sneakers.

So completely worth it and with an appreciable increase in quality?

My impression was that beats were overpriced crap.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:11 AM on May 9


I should have qualified my statement by saying *If true,* this is just a sign of the maturity of the markets they're in.
posted by Slothrup at 7:13 AM on May 9


The Beats streaming service was alright for my 1-month trial, but there was no reason to choose it over Rdio or Spotify. It has a nice design, and the recommendation engine is creative and amusing. But it's not a game-changer so much as something slightly different and gimmicky in a crowded space.
posted by naju at 7:13 AM on May 9


Perhaps there was a poor connection during a recent teleconference?

With recent news that Swatch may sue Apple over the name iWatch, maybe Tim Cook yelled that he wanted to "beat Swatch now" -- but it was mis-heard through the static by eager hardware designers as an exhortation to produce a "Beats watch now!"

*shrug* At least those big, colorful cans are a change from tiny, white earbuds.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:15 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


The canonical Beats headphone is tuned for a particular kind of sound presentation (emphasized mid-bass, attenuated highs). They make badly-recorded hip-hop and pop music sound as good as the well-recorded stuff. For those who don't want to think too much about what they're listening to -- which is most people, and that's all right -- this is not a bad way to go.

The product range at this point is fairly diverse, though. I've seen some of the newer models earn grudging appreciation by discerning audiophiles.

Beats still come with significant technical problems (eg, in the noise canceling headphones, once the batteries powering the noise-cancel circuit wear out, the headphones stop working entirely) that they've had years to fix and couldn't be bothered to.

So like I've said, I'd rather take a nuanced view on them. Not all bad, not all good. I've certainly tried much more expensive/exotic equipment in optimal conditions that sounded a lot worse. And cheaper equipment that sounded better. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by ardgedee at 7:18 AM on May 9 [8 favorites]


Beats ARE overpriced crap, but good if you like totally unbalanced bass-heavy fashionable headphones that break just as easy as $20 Skullcandy ear buds.

At first when I saw "greying" I was slightly offended because I thought it meant "adding black to white"... But I guess you meant Apple Is trying to target the youth. Oh well. Apple has completely ruined iTunes, it doesnt surprise me that they buy Beats.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:18 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Motherfuckers act like they forgot about Sennheiser
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:19 AM on May 9 [49 favorites]


Interesting. Excuse me while I speculate about the hardware implications: Right now you can plug any old headphones into an iPhone or iPad, including ones you didn't buy from Apple or a licensed third party. Why continue to allow that with future models? Apple has already proven that consumers are more than willing to buy proprietary accessories so bringing headphones into Apple's warm (and hugely profitable) embrace would seem to be a big win.
posted by Poldo at 7:20 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


I thought Apple already had a significant chunk of the crappy, overpriced earbud market.
posted by malocchio at 7:20 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


i don't understand why people think this won't integrate well. getting an idevice for your teen for christmas? add $50-100 for a set of flashy earbuds. beats is rolling in money and has always been worlds ahead on the flashy design aspect of headphones. if apple adds quality, their partnership would be pretty unstoppable, i think.

i will say that i prefer my $35 panasonic cans in both look and quality to any $100ish beats.
posted by nadawi at 7:20 AM on May 9


Whoever it was that resented Dre's ability to provide his family with groceries must be positively seething now
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:23 AM on May 9 [10 favorites]


The Guardian, September 2013: Dr Dre Beats valued at more than $1bn following Carlyle deal
Dr Dre's headphone company Beats Electronics has been valued at more than $1bn (£620m) following the sale of a minority stake in the business to private equity firm Carlyle Group.
TIME magazine, January 2013: How Dr. Dre Made $300 Headphones a Must-Have Accessory
Over the last several years, the premium headphone market has exploded. According to retail analyst firm NPD Group, U.S. sales of headphones that cost $100 or more increased 73% year-over-year in 2012, far outpacing sales in the headphone market overall. Premium headphones now make up 43% of all headphone sales, and consumers who make the leap to high-end headphones don’t seem to be regretting the decision: Those who own premium headphones have an average of 2.3 pairs, according to NPD.
Counterpoint: celebrity headphones are pretty widely ranked as awful, but Beats by Dre are the worst - The Numbers Don’t Lie: Beats By Dr. Dre Are Overrated
posted by filthy light thief at 7:24 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


nadawi: i will say that i prefer my $35 panasonic cans in both look and quality to any $100ish beats.

Because you are not a teen/twenty-something who values appearance more than quality, and you are actually critical of the sound of your speakers.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:25 AM on May 9 [5 favorites]


This makes no sense. Apple wouldn't be doing this for the headphone technology, as they'd be paying a premium for the aura of hip urban bling that the brand carries with it; if they wanted the tech, they'd be better off buying or investing in someone like Sennheiser or Bose, or perhaps cutting a deal with Sony or Panasonic. It wouldn't be for the brand either, as Apple aren't a multi-brand conglomerate who'd sell Beats alongside Apple products; they'd subsume it and extinguish the original brand.

If this goes ahead, it may be time to sell AAPL, as they seem to be having the corporate equivalent of a mid-life crisis. Either that or this is an expensive feint to get Samsung to do something stupid and costly.
posted by acb at 7:27 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


And once you have spent money on high end or super-fashionable headphones/earbuds that only work on Apple devices, you will be that much less likely to switch to Android or anything else.

If Apple don't do this, shareholders should sue.
posted by Poldo at 7:27 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


they're in the category of hundred dollar watches, hundred dollar jeans, hundred dollar sneakers.

They should be in the category of things that cost $100, but they cost $200-$300. Overpriced, QED.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:28 AM on May 9


I is confused by this.
posted by parki at 7:28 AM on May 9


I'm really going with "this is untrue" the more I think about it.
posted by naju at 7:29 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


filthy light thief - i agree with you. as the rest of my comment said, i think beats have pretty well cornered the flashy fashion thing. i will say that i got the panasonics over some better sounding headphones because i thought they were cuter (and less than 1/2 the price). they do sound great for $35 headphones, though, if anyone is in the market.
posted by nadawi at 7:29 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


There's speculation that this rumor may have been started by an April Fool's Day joke in an industry newsletter.
posted by Ian A.T. at 7:31 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]



Because you are not a teen/twenty-something who values appearance more than quality, and you are actually critical of the sound of your speakers.


To be fair, us oldsters should be less critical of sound quality, especially after a few decades of gig-going and/or iPod usage have killed most of the hair cells in our ears, and it's unlikely we'd be able to miss the loss of nuance in our Bach cantatas/Sonic Youth bootlegs. The teens with their perfect hearing are the ones who should be looking at high-end Bowers & Wilkins cans rather than overpriced crap.
posted by acb at 7:31 AM on May 9 [7 favorites]


This will be announced as part of the iWatch announcement
in other words...not gonna.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:31 AM on May 9


And once you have spent money on high end or super-fashionable headphones/earbuds that only work on Apple devices, you will be that much less likely to switch to Android or anything else.

Because we all know that 18-25s are loyal consumers, who stick with brands even after they've been bought out and bait-and-switched. Like everyone still on MySpace and all the teens using Facebook to chat with their friends.
posted by acb at 7:33 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Little about this makes apparent sense. Beats headphones are mediocre hardware and Apple already has a product designer who knows what he's doing. If it's to hire Iovine as a company music exec, why spend $3.2B on the company? It probably isn't for the licensing deals in the Beats music service, which are usually non-transferable. Either this is a joke that got out of hand or a deal with as-yet TBD consequences.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:34 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


It's a marketing play, and it's already working. It's also a move to get the shareholders of their back... Apple is sitting on too much cash. It needs to put it to work. Every hipster on the planet is talking Apple this morning, and as bad as beats headphones are, it's a crapton better than Apple's current sound quality, and they could use some help with the iDevice sound quality, too.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:37 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


The whole Beats thing is 2 or 3 years past its peak, though, no? If Apple really wanted to get in on a hot new youth trend for '14, they'd be trying to corner the urban heroin market.
posted by Sonny Jim at 7:38 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


Apple is buying a brand. If they wanted to improve the quality of their headphones, they could have bought Beyer Dynamic, AKG, Sennheiser, Etymotic Research, etc., for a lot less than $3.2bn.
posted by quidividi at 7:41 AM on May 9


Well, if anything, this has reminded me that I need to buy a pair of Beats to use as a reference for my next mastering project. But I'd rather spend the money on that urban heroin.
posted by malocchio at 7:43 AM on May 9 [5 favorites]


I was reading the news of the deal while I was riding the bus to work this morning and wondered if it made any sense and then looked up and realized that every single set of headphones that I could see were Beats.
posted by octothorpe at 7:44 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Yeah I'm going with Gruber - this seems ... unlikely.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:45 AM on May 9


If they'd bought Sennheiser or someone then every single story world be Apple vs Beats.
They're a marketing company, they care what the story is because their customers care what the story is.

Overpriced, offensively popular, technically average; it's a match made in heaven.
posted by fullerine at 7:47 AM on May 9 [5 favorites]


I was reading the news of the deal while I was riding the bus to work this morning and wondered if it made any sense and then looked up and realized that every single set of headphones that I could see were Beats.

Problem with that is that they're not popular because they're the most technically solid or practically appealing, but because they're fashionable. Which means that at some point they will be out of fashion, dumped cruelly in the hinterland of things that used to be cool. People will actively avoid the Beats brand to avoid looking like they're behind the curve.
posted by acb at 7:48 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Let's see Suge Knight demand the glass masters to this.
posted by dr_dank at 7:53 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


This gizmodo article from last year about the history of Beats -- specifically the father/son company, the son going behind the father's back, the bold entrepreneurial vision, the giving the company away, etc. -- was pretty interesting when I first read it. Does anyone know just how accurate the story is in its interpretation of the events, though? How well off did the father/son become through this whole thing? Clearly they're bargaining position was considerably less than Dre's, but that doesn't mean they were fleeced per se.

Beat by Dre: The Exclusive Inside Story of How Monster Lost the World.
posted by scunning at 7:53 AM on May 9


“Apple buys Beats” sounds like the business equivalent of “Slavoj Žižek is dating Lady Gaga”.
posted by acb at 7:57 AM on May 9 [11 favorites]


scunning see previous thread for some discussion on that.
posted by asok at 7:58 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


I'm skeptical, but if it goes through it aligns with my idea that headphones are the best place for wearable technology.
posted by furtive at 8:02 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


What I really don't understand is I see so many people wearing Beats at the gym. Why would you want to get your expensive headphones all caked in sweat?
posted by kmz at 8:03 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Because how else is everyone going to know that you have enough money to spend on Beats?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:05 AM on May 9 [7 favorites]


does anyone know what share of the company dre holds?

I have no idea where Forbes gets its numbers from, but they're claiming he's somewhere between 20% and 25% owner, which works out to somewhere between $600 million and $800 million for Dre.
posted by Copronymus at 8:06 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


It still makes more sense than making TV sets.
posted by furtive at 8:07 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Beats headphones are ridiculously overpriced and overhyped for their quality, which is best described as "adequate." Apple's known for their uncompromising design standards and that justifies their high prices.

Nope, I think they are actually a perfect pair, both have managed to convince consumers that their products are much, much better than they actually are and both massively overcharge for what you do get.

People will actively avoid the Beats brand to avoid looking like they're behind the curve

Not when they say AppleTM on them they won't, above all else that has been Apple's biggest talent.

(I like Apple fine, have 2 iPhones and a Macbook, they are good products, there are better alternatives to both however in terms of reliability, features, price, etc)
posted by Cosine at 8:07 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


they're claiming he's somewhere between 20% and 25% owner

that's honestly a lot better than i was afraid he had. i was worried dre was given some piddly 3% or something just to use his name. whether they're selling to apple or not, i'm glad to see his business deals doing well for him.
posted by nadawi at 8:08 AM on May 9


It still makes more sense than making TV sets.

I can't think of another cornerstone piece of tech that needs a kick in the ass more than TV's, have you tried using the current batch of "smart" TVs? Apple has a chance to make serious impact in the main room of your home.
posted by Cosine at 8:09 AM on May 9


"Don't quote me boy cuz I ain't said shit." -John Sculley
posted by codswallop at 8:12 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


I'm highly skeptical and have never the headphones, and my immediate reaction to seeing someone wearing Beats on the train is "there's someone who overpaid for crappy headphones!" (I should check myself there.)

But this did cause me to think deeper about the possible reasons in favor of:

- Apple has one model of headphone, right? They are well designed to my purposes - I think the sound quality is fine and the clicker controls work well. But Apple often sells 'good, better, best' for their products, and make great margins on the better and best ($100 per step for more storage on iPhones, right?). They sell third-party (including Beats) headphones online and in their stores and have great data about sales trends there. Why not offer a better or best for their accessories?

- Although Beats has a streaming service, I have to imagine the vast majority of their profits come from hardware sales - just like Apple (at least Apple of a few years ago, App Store, in-app purchase, and iTunes revenues are pretty great now, right?) And will the streaming contracts transfer?

Other than NeXT, has Apple made any notable hardware acquisitions?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:14 AM on May 9


wenestvedt: "Perhaps there was a poor connection during a recent teleconference?

With recent news that Swatch may sue Apple over the name iWatch, maybe Tim Cook yelled that he wanted to "beat Swatch now" -- but it was mis-heard through the static by eager hardware designers as an exhortation to produce a "Beats watch now!"
"

In other news, Apple sues all iCe Cream makers.
posted by symbioid at 8:16 AM on May 9


Poldo: "And once you have spent money on high end or super-fashionable headphones/earbuds that only work on Apple devices, you will be that much less likely to switch to Android or anything else. "

Can we talk about how Apple managed to turn 3.5mm headset plugs from an established and standardized technology into a fragmented market?

I can almost forgive them for not using Micro-USB, but the headphone thing is outright evil. I can't buy decent headphones for my Android phone that contain a working microphone or volume control.

Fuck Apple. Even Microsoft wouldn't do something this asinine.
posted by schmod at 8:18 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


they're claiming he's somewhere between 20% and 25% owner, which works out to somewhere between $600 million and $800 million for Dre

The only piece of evidence that arguably confirms this story is a since-deleted Vine from a couple days ago in which Dre brags about being "the first billionaire in hip-hop," though he doesn't mention any specifics.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:18 AM on May 9


Hmm,"iPhone with Beats" doesn't sound quite right, did Apple ever tie themselves that directly to another brand, no matter who owned them?

Saying in a presentation that this also runs Photoshop/Office/Flappy Bird is a totally different ballpark.
posted by pseudocode at 8:19 AM on May 9


Nope, I think they are actually a perfect pair, both have managed to convince consumers that their products are much, much better than they actually are and both massively overcharge for what you do get.

I've done laptop repair work and I have to say of all the companies, Apple is the only one who gives a shit and they give a shit hard. If an Apple machine breaks (and Apple are in the top tier along with Asus, Toshiba and Sony), you have three working days to fix it the first time and you're expected to get it right. You MRI the machine, figure out the broken part, tell Apple the serial, the part and they FedEx the part to you overnight. You're expected to get it fitted that day and call the customer that afternoon. They only give you three working days because if you order the part after 3pm it's hard to get it out overnight.

If you don't do this for something stupid like 90% of the repairs that come to you a nice person from Apple calls up your manager and threatens to pull your shop's certification.

Every other manufacturer you ship it to them, at your expense mind you, then they sit on it for three weeks and then they ship it back to you UPS ground. Typical repair time? 2-6 weeks. Unless you've shelled out for on-site repairs which only business users do.
posted by Talez at 8:19 AM on May 9 [19 favorites]


Tangentially related: Apple's longtime PR chief is leaving the company.

Money quote:
Apple's PR team does the least of any PR team in the world and could be replaced by a voicemail that says, "No comment" and "the suicides at the factory are down this month."
posted by schmod at 8:20 AM on May 9 [10 favorites]


I can't buy decent headphones for my Android phone that contain a working microphone or volume control.

How in the world is this Apple's fault?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:23 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


> bait-and-switched

How would this be a "bait and switch"? Consumers buying this hypothetical proprietary headphone connector enabled iPhone/iPad would know exactly what they would be getting. I can see the marketing now:
The iPhone 6 now supports the revolutionary patented Beatning™ connector providing unmatched form factor and sound quality! Or use the inexpensive Beatning™ adapter for your old headphones, only $29.99.
Apple might come up with a slightly better name for it.
posted by Poldo at 8:26 AM on May 9


What I really don't understand is I see so many people wearing Beats at the gym. Why would you want to get your expensive headphones all caked in sweat?

As far as I can see, to give me something to giggle at. Oh they're hard men, all right, those spotty twenty-year-olds in the headphones their mommy bought them for Christmas, doing less weight than I can! *snerk*
posted by winna at 8:26 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Earlier I said that the deleted Vine from Dre doesn't mention specifics, but I may have been wrong. The article I linked to states: "In the video, Gibson was hanging out with Dre and friends, holding the camera in selfie mode, when Gibson said the deal was official. "

That sentence is really hard to definitively parse, and there's no additional information, but I think it's saying that the context of the video is that they'd just received word that deal had gone through. Though if that's the case, I'd think the headline would have been "Dr. Dre Confims Apple Purchase", not "Dr. Dre: 'I'm the first billionaire in hip hop'".

If you had told me three hours ago that my morning would be spent treating a CNN Money article like it's the Zapruder film...
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:26 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Whoever it was that resented Dre's ability to provide his family with groceries must be positively seething now

The evidence that we're living through the Millennium of Aftermath only continues to build.
posted by Copronymus at 8:31 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


I'm trying to see how this makes sense for Apple, and I just don't get it. Or, more exactly, I don't get how this makes 3 billion dollars of sense. I just... That's an incomprehensible sum for a headphone company and a music service.

Yet another sign that taxes are too low.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:36 AM on May 9 [9 favorites]


People will actively avoid the Beats brand to avoid looking like they're behind the curve

Not when they say AppleTM on them they won't, above all else that has been Apple's biggest talent.


So Apple are buying the Beats brand so they can rebrand it as Apple, and have an Apple-branded line of technically middling, high-priced headphones? Got that.
posted by acb at 8:48 AM on May 9


These Premises Are Alarmed: "How in the world is this Apple's fault?"

Because there was a pre-existing standard, Apple changed it, and most of the headphone makers followed Apple's lead, chasing after the most lucrative market.

Making things worse, the inline remotes require a proprietary authentication chip to operate, which is only available from Apple. 3rd-party earbud makers can buy the chip from Apple (and possibly reverse-engineer it), although Apple would almost certainly sue the pants off of any Android vendor who tried to reverse-engineer the technology to put in their own phones.

So, yeah. Totally Apple's fault.
posted by schmod at 8:48 AM on May 9 [4 favorites]


This didn't really do anything to help HTC when they tried it.
posted by heathkit at 8:49 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


I try so hard to keep up with the gadget and tech industries and am a huge music fan. But I just learned from this post that there's a company called Beats Electronics and that it's worth BILLIONS. Am I the only one?
posted by freecellwizard at 8:53 AM on May 9


Beats is a textbook example of convincing consumers that they are getting high quality hardware simply by pricing it higher. It seems like a good fit for Apple.
posted by rocket88 at 9:00 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


You are not the only one who didn't know about Beats, freecellwizard. I knew about the streaming service but not the headphones. But I'm an old, so I'm not the target demographic they're chasing (Apple already pwns my house).
posted by immlass at 9:00 AM on May 9


Monster Cable has a lot to answer for.
posted by Shepherd at 9:05 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


I agree it sounds like an unlikely deal, but if it's true perhaps it's just to keep Beats away from other manufacturers. My HP laptop has Beats by Dre speakers. I didn't know this until I already owned it so it wasn't a selling point for me, but maybe it is for some folks. If it's popular enough maybe Apple just doesn't want anyone else to "synergize" with it.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:09 AM on May 9


I was a happy Mog user when Beats took them over. They offered to transfer your playlists over to their new service before they shut down Mog, but not your favorites list, for some odd reason.

But then they didn't offer software to transfer anything, until the shutdown date got closer and closer. I think they extended the shutdown date and finally offered the transfer software, but by then I and many others abandoned them. They also offered one month for free for the former Mog customers. Hey, Google offers one month for free for everyone.

So you get the feeling they didn't really care about their former abandonded Mog customers. I heard that it was because Mog only had a customer count in the six figures and they were going for seven figures. I've also read recently that they aren't doing too well and their customer count never made it past six figures. So this sale comes at a good time for them.

I'm glad I switched though, because I would be afraid that Apple will make Beats Music only available on iPhones (yes, Google Play Music does the same thing with Android, but I have Android, so it works for me).
posted by eye of newt at 9:12 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


These Premises Are Alarmed: Other than NeXT, has Apple made any notable hardware acquisitions?

Apple tends to buy small companies for components or domain expertise. The most notable recent hardware push was when they were starting to produce their own chip designs for use in iphone/ipads.

going off the wiki page:

Semicondutor manufacturers:
2008-04 - P.A. Semi for $278,000,000
2010-04 - Intrinsity for $121,000,000
2013-08 - Passif Semiconductor for an unknown amount
2013-11 - PrimeSense for $345,000,000

Of these, only P.A. Semi was reported enough that I noticed it. Nothing "notable" in the sense that anyone had heard of the other company. And definitely nothing on this scale.

A couple other hardware acquisitions on the list: one for flash memory, one for tiny LED displays just recently, one that went into the TouchID bit on the newer iPhones, one back in 2002 for Firewire chips, and one in 1999 for GPU something or other. And that's all the hardware acquisitions since NeXT.

Beats is new territory.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:13 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


A lesser known but important hardware acquisition: Fingerworks, which basically invented (or at least has most of the original patents for) multitouch interfaces.

I wonder if Beats has invented something that they haven't put on the market yet? That would make this purchase more interesting.
posted by eye of newt at 9:19 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


Beats is a textbook example of convincing consumers that they are getting high quality hardware simply by pricing it higher. It seems like a good fit for Apple.

Well, except that Apple's hardware is actually of a high quality, well-designed, and, more often than not, value for money when you take specs and build quality into account (as was the case with the new Mac Pro, for example). The grumpy-old-man “$1500 on a MacBook? Feh, I can get a Windows 98 laptop at Wal-Mart for $99 that can do everything it does!”) only works if you declare a broad range of factors, from whether or not its a pain to use (you can train yourself to work around the shitty rough edges the damned thing's made of, right? What are you, some preening pantywaist who needs a shiny MacBook?) to how long until the case starts falling apart, to be irrelevant.
posted by acb at 9:27 AM on May 9 [9 favorites]


Because there was a pre-existing standard, Apple changed it, and most of the headphone makers followed Apple's lead, chasing after the most lucrative market.

Making things worse, the inline remotes require a proprietary authentication chip to operate, which is only available from Apple. 3rd-party earbud makers can buy the chip from Apple (and possibly reverse-engineer it), although Apple would almost certainly sue the pants off of any Android vendor who tried to reverse-engineer the technology to put in their own phones.

So, yeah. Totally Apple's fault.


What? That was for a single generation for iPod Shuffles. The latest set used on the iPhone are standard TRRS 4 conductor plugs. The arrangement of the pins is what differs. You have the Open Mobile Terminal Platform and the CTIA arrangement where the mic and ground wires pick different conductors (OMTP has the mic on the third conductor while CTIA is on the sleeve). These arrangements are sprinkled throughout the various Android phone vendors as well with most Android vendors switching over to the CTIA arrangement if they hadn't been already (Samsung and Sony being late to the party). Apple uses the CTIA arrangement.

The play/pause is just shorting the mic and ground and volume up/down just play with the mic voltage. There is no standard for this so it can differ in between Android vendors. The Apple stuff was dead easy to reverse engineer since there's a billion different headsets for it.
posted by Talez at 9:43 AM on May 9 [16 favorites]


I wonder if Beats has invented something that they haven't put on the market yet? That would make this purchase more interesting.

I wonder if there's any overlap with this hire. Biometrics with Beats branding might make the new technology more interesting to young people.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:44 AM on May 9


What? That was for a single generation for iPod Shuffles. The latest set used on the iPhone are standard TRRS 4 conductor plugs. The arrangement of the pins is what differs. You have the Open Mobile Terminal Platform and the CTIA arrangement where the mic and ground wires pick different conductors (OMTP has the mic on the third conductor while CTIA is on the sleeve). These arrangements are sprinkled throughout the various Android phone vendors as well with most Android vendors switching over to the CTIA arrangement if they hadn't been already (Samsung and Sony being late to the party). Apple uses the CTIA arrangement.

Thanks for posting this — I was wondering which standard was used.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 AM on May 9


Oh, and before Apple started using TRRS 4 conductor plugs, phone headsets were a massive clusterfuck of proprietary ports (pop ports you can go fuck yourself) and a mix of 2.5mm headset connectors thrown in. You can't tell me that's a better way of doing things than the standard "plug your 3.5mm headphones in and they just work" that's on EVERY SINGLE PHONE now.
posted by Talez at 9:50 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


World Star Hip-Hop has the video I described earlier, where Dre seems to confirm that he'll be getting a lot of money very soon. [NSFW audio]

The word "Apple" isn't mentioned, and there is nothing specific said about how Dre became a billionaire. However, though I'm still skeptical about this story and I don't think this video confirms anything, it seems fairly clear that Dre received some big financial news just before the video was filmed. Whether that news came from Apple remains to be seen.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:02 AM on May 9


There are some really onerous non-disclosure agreements and termination clauses in any deal of this nature, and months of due diligence. I'm not buying that he just gets a little drunk on some Heineken and blabs his mouth to the whole world, if there's this much riding on the deal to go through.
posted by naju at 10:13 AM on May 9


add $50-100 for a set of flashy earbuds.

See, this is just one of those things that I absolutely do not get at all.

Reading the $100+ fancy/flashy earbuds and all--the earbuds that are so awesomely cool looking that they are just sweeping the nation and people are trampling each other for the opportunity to pay over $100 for.

And I'm imagining something. I don't know exactly what--but something fancy, or stand-out-ish, or that will attract sexual partners in droves due to their magic powers, or well, at least actually VISIBLE in some noticeable way. Maybe something a bit like this.

But I look at those $50-$100 earbuds and I literally can't differentiate visually between them and the $5 pair I picked up at Walmart. They're both small round-ish things that you stick in your ear, with a cord attached.

I confess, I just don't get it.
posted by flug at 10:15 AM on May 9


I'm not buying that he just gets a little drunk on some Heineken and blabs his mouth to the whole world

Oh I see now he's too good for American beer
posted by aubilenon at 10:37 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


MOG was music streaming for total music dorks and was really really good

Beats is ok but it's just way too social for me

I have grudgingly gone back to Spotify damn all of them to hell
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:37 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


I confess, I just don't get it.

This is what you want, if you're going to drop $100+ on earbuds, get the ones that sound like a concert hall while you're riding a crowded subway.

Dropping that much on the same crappy internals with a red cord because Lebron James said to is idiotic.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:41 AM on May 9 [3 favorites]


I can see Facebook, Google or Microsoft picking up Beats before Apple. This doesn't track for me.

My first instinct is that it's a rumor started to increase Beats' selling price, but evidence suggests that a deal of some sort has already been signed.

The biggest red flag on this is that Beats is really a marketing company: as pointed out (endlessly) the headphones themselves aren't that great — the value is in how they look and in the brand. Anything Apple has only ever been Apple branded. Buying a company for its brand would be orthogonal to everything they've done and been.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:46 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


The video mentioned above has been reposted by someone to YouTube. No mention of Apple.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:53 AM on May 9


Compared to Spotify valuing themselves at $4+ billion and Pandora valuing themselves for $5.7b, I guess buying Beats for $3.2b just for Beats Music seems like a bargain. If it means I get a Spotify-a-like included in my iTunes Match sub all the better.
posted by Talez at 11:00 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


The only way I can personally see this working is if every music executive that worked with Beats was a braindead moron who forgot to include non-transfer clauses in their streaming contract.

...which strikes me as being pretty unlikely, unless the Beats guys have some truly gargantuan blackmail files.
posted by aramaic at 11:03 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


I can see Facebook, Google or Microsoft picking up Beats before Apple.

For some insane reason I read this as "Facebook, Google or Minecraft picking up Beats before Apple" and that led me down a very interesting mental pathway.
posted by Shepherd at 11:08 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Sonny Jim: The whole Beats thing is 2 or 3 years past its peak, though, no?

Not sure if that was a joke, but for a single anecdote, this past December I was asked to help the mother of a high school boy find appropriate headphones for her son who specifically requested Beats by Dre, and she wanted a less expensive alternative.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:08 AM on May 9


There's mentions in a few of the articles about this to Beats' patents. Here's a google patent link for all their patents, if anyone is interested in seeing if there's anything here worth 3.2.

I would but no time today!!
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:39 AM on May 9


Via Gruber again, here's an interesting take:

There are two numbers that you need to pay attention to in order to make sense of Apple’s breathtaking acquisition of Beats Electronics. Neither of them is the rumored $3.2 billion price. They are 13.3 and 800 million.

The first number is the percentage that music downloads have decreased in Q1 of this year compared with 2013. This is on the heels of a 5% decrease last year, so it’s looking like the decline is picking up speed. It’s pretty clear that the download era is waning [...]

The second number refers to the 800 million iTunes accounts, most with credit cards on file.

posted by RedOrGreen at 11:39 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Assuming the license deals transfer over...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on May 9 [1 favorite]


This has nothing to do with "Beats by Dre" and everything to do with Beats Music, the subscription music streaming service.

Pandora has already proved that people are willing to pay to avoid commercials, and Spotify has proved that a lot of the market wants to be able to listen to what they want, when they want to, without having to listen to ads (and will pay for that service) and Beats Music is essentially just that, another platform subscription service, that just happens to have a lot of big names associated with it. Of course, this also means that those big names (who were big names in the music recording/distribution industry) are seeing that their ship is sunk, and they are finally getting off the bench and trying to get into the market that companies like Apple and Facebook have the money to build and maintain. The headphone/hardware company is not the prize. It is entirely about the subscriber base, and the contracts that Beats Music holds within the now dying music recording/distribution industry.
posted by daq at 11:48 AM on May 9


"Assuming the license deals transfer over..."

The only way they wouldn't would be if Apple were to dismantle the company, which will now be a subsidiary of Apple Inc, much like Filemaker and a lot of other companies that Apple has acquired over the years. One would hope that they learned their lesson with what they ended up doing to Ping.fm (which originally was a social media aggregation platform, then Apple bought them, then they shoehorned it in to iTunes, and then it died a very ignoble death).

Beats Music will be first, and foremost, a furthering of Apple's marketing arm which uses celebrities and celebrity endorsement to keep their image and brand current. Not only is Dr. Dre one of the founders of Beats Music, in 2013, they hired Trent Reznor as the Chief Creative Officer, and have a staff of professional musicians who create custom playlists as "curators" and lends a major resurgence of possible radio-like possibilities. The main thing, though, is that they offer the ability to download songs for offline listening (though the DRM will disable the playback once the subscription expires), which is one of the golden handcuffs the music industry had been looking for, and that Apple has been trying to incorporate into iTunes for quite a while. That part is going to be the major shit show of this deal, honestly.
posted by daq at 11:57 AM on May 9


Everybody sees your headphones. The bigger the better for status signalling. That is the whole point of large branded earphones. Sound is at best secondary. It makes sense for apple to hop on this because their products also have major Veblen function but have shrunk themselves into the obscurity of people's pockets.
posted by srboisvert at 12:07 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


This has nothing to do with "Beats by Dre" and everything to do with Beats Music, the subscription music streaming service.

Which has all of a couple hundred thousand subscribers, ie. piss-all.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:29 PM on May 9


Copronymus: The evidence that we're living through the Millennium of Aftermath only continues to build.

After the renouncing of rap after receiving one more platinum plaque, the good doctor will go on the hunt for the elusive mad rapper.
posted by dr_dank at 12:30 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


In other news, Apple sues all iCe Cream makers.

Damn. That's just... not. No way.

Fuck that.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 12:38 PM on May 9 [5 favorites]


I hope after dropping 3 billion the next Apple devices at least come with usable earbuds.
posted by hwestiii at 12:46 PM on May 9


I hope after dropping 3 billion the next Apple devices at least come with usable earbuds.

What do you mean by usable? There is zero chance this potential deal is being done for audio technology.
posted by stopgap at 12:48 PM on May 9


What do you mean by usable? There is zero chance this potential deal is being done for audio technology.

I mean that every time I've bought an iPod or iPhone (5 times at present count), packed in the box was a set of earbuds that wouldn't last more than a minute before either falling out or wiggling into a position that seriously reduced my listening enjoyment.
posted by hwestiii at 1:03 PM on May 9


Okay, I guess I can see this as an acquisition of a functioning streaming service. Beats has already done the engineering work that could take Apple a year or two to do on their own. If Apple spins off the headphone business or keeps it as a separate entity (making bank) and brings on the Beats team that excels at hip, "urban" consumer branding … this could be legit.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:15 PM on May 9


Beats quality reputation is not historically undeserved, but it has changed DRAMATICALLY since it stopped being monster. It's worth an reevaluation, IMO.

I do know someone that is an engineer there, or otherwise I would not have done so myself. But I don't just take him at his word. Nor do I own any Beats. I just hate to see a company who has made big changes continue to be raked across the coals.

the fact that I worked at myspace may have something to do with this
posted by flaterik at 2:30 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


Which has all of a couple hundred thousand subscribers, ie. piss-all.

I think my real point about the streaming service would be in my second post about this, at the end, specifically:
"The main thing, though, is that they offer the ability to download songs for offline listening (though the DRM will disable the playback once the subscription expires), which is one of the golden handcuffs the music industry had been looking for, and that Apple has been trying to incorporate into iTunes for quite a while. That part is going to be the major shit show of this deal, honestly."

Ever since Napster, the music industry has been trying, and trying, and trying to get people to repeatedly pay for every single time you play a song on your computer. This, of course, has failed miserably. However, through market research, and a lot of trial and error, Beats Music was able to take many of the features of a lot of other services and incorporate them into a single service. You pay a monthly or yearly subscription, you get access to their entire catalogue. You can download as many songs as you want, and listen to them on your computer (not sure about portables like iPod or iPhone, though I know you can with the Android app, though you can only play them with the App, not with another music player), BUT, you have to have an active subscription in order to listen to the songs you've downloaded. And this is key, now; they have effectively made it so in order for you to listen to your legally downloaded music, you have to keep paying them, ostensibly forever. So instead of being able to buy a CD and listen to it in whatever device will play it (or rip it to MP3/Ogg/whatever), in order to listen to that music at some future point, you have to keep paying your subscription.

Now, mind you, for a lot of consumers, this is fine and dandy, and is pretty much what they have been trained to expect with subscription services online. And the number of people who are actively downloading music and feel like they "own" those files is decreasing rapidly.

For me, as a DJ, I need to have all my music files in a format that does not have DRM, as most of the professional DJ software will not play DRM locked files (Traktor specifically, but also Ableton and a few others I've used in the past). Consumer level services like this are total anathema to me, but I am definitely an outlier, and it's only been a decade since the Napster/P2P sharing wars.

The fact that everyone is harping on the stupid headphones is ridiculous. The real prize is in the service model, and I will not be at all surprised to see Apple keep Beats Music as a separate company (much like how they treat Filemaker), but push it as the replacement to iTunes in the future (notice how Apple does not offer a database-ish program in the iWork Suite? Gee, I wonder why that might be?). The main thing to watch for is what happens to iTunes, and whether they keep updating it, or just let it ride out into limbo until it's no longer part of the operating system, replaced by a "mobile device sync" service that replaces the tie in that iTunes has held with their iPhones/iPod/iPad for syncing and managing the device. They already have a utility called Apple Configurator, which is meant for corporate admins to be able to manage mobile devices (badly, I might add). iPhoto and Image Capture both can pull/sync your photos. It is just a matter of time until Beats Music becomes the Apple Music App.
posted by daq at 2:43 PM on May 9 [3 favorites]


This is a wearables-sector strategic acquisition, no? Why try and persuade people to wear some new funny-looking glasses when much of your target demographic has a solid plastic cage on their head half the time already (and aren't getting thrown out of bars for wearing them)?

And, thinking about it, if you mount an accelerometer in each earpiece you can tell which way the wearer is looking, and you don't need a (more) obtrusive battery pack because the damn things are huge anyway.
posted by cromagnon at 4:55 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


This is a wearables-sector strategic acquisition, no? Why try and persuade people to wear some new funny-looking glasses when much of your target demographic has a solid plastic cage on their head half the time already

That is a solid observation. The problem with Google Glass is that it makes you look like a dork. Google can't summon the style cachet required. Apple and Beats can convince twenty-somethings hang ridiculous contraptions off their face all damn day... they got cachet.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:15 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


The little mosquito-delicate dancing hum in the air, the electrical murmur of a hidden wasp snug in its special pink warm nest. The music was almost loud enough so he could follow the tune.
Without turning on the light he imagined how this room would look. His wife stretched on the bed, uncovered and cold, like a body displayed on the lid of the tomb, her eyes fixed in the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable. And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind. The room was indeed empty. Every night the waves came in and bore her off on their great tides of sound, floating her, wide-eyed, toward morning. There had been no night in the last two years that Mildred had not swum that sea, had not gladly gone down in it for the third time. -- Fahrenheit 451.
posted by jadepearl at 5:29 PM on May 9 [1 favorite]


This is a wearables-sector strategic acquisition, no? Why try and persuade people to wear some new funny-looking glasses when much of your target demographic has a solid plastic cage on their head half the time already (and aren't getting thrown out of bars for wearing them)?

Glassholes don't get kicked out of places because they look kinda doofy. The objection isn't the look, it's the function. Incorporating those functions into headphones (which surely Apple could do without buying a headphones company; it's not as if headphones are complicated or proprietary technology) would get exactly the same pushback.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:01 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


The point would be to make the function secondary - you're wearing sweet cans. You're looking at the drinks menu, and swing down the eyepiece a minute. Siri recognizes cocktails, and fires up a mixology app that pops up a recipe for each. Vermouth! Yuck! Let's go with the Tequila Sunrise. Flip up the eyepiece.

Google Glass - Glasshole.

Beats by Apple - Sweet cans! What's that thing? It did what? Coooool...
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:19 PM on May 9


BUT, you have to have an active subscription in order to listen to the songs you've downloaded.

Wasn't this the Zune Marketplace model?
posted by drezdn at 6:29 PM on May 9


Let's Call It 'Apple Privilege'
posted by homunculus at 6:43 PM on May 9 [2 favorites]


Beats streaming took over Mog, which was the best-sounding streaming music service. The interface is worse than Mog's, but some of the curation/suggestions are really great.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 4:23 AM on May 10


Incorporating those functions into headphones (which surely Apple could do without buying a headphones company; it's not as if headphones are complicated or proprietary technology) would get exactly the same pushback.

Not if Apple did it.
posted by Cosine at 9:54 AM on May 10


Not if Apple did it.

As Google Glass shows, creepy surveillance technology is tough to market easily, but in any case it would appear to take a major cultural shift within the company to change its general attitude towards personal privacy. Mainly, it would be brand suicide for Apple to turn users into walking video and audio surveillance agents for another ad company. It's just not something it makes nor what its customers buy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:51 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]


Beats streaming took over Mog, which was the best-sounding streaming music service.

Sorry to harp on this but HOLY SHIT it really was the best. I'm really missing it right now (yes I know the service is up till May 31 but I decided a clean break on my own terms was best...)

I think Apple's Beats acquisition is interesting mostly because of the MOG pedigree. For example:

-MOG started up in 2005, whereas Spotify started up in 2008
-MOG has already gone through several reinventions of itself: first is was like a "facebook for music lovers", then it was a frontend for Rhapsody (2007), then a blogging platform...and then finally it became a subscription service similar to Spotify.

In my experience, MOG did not have as broad of a library as Spotify, but it made for that in depth. I thought MOG's genres,sub-genres and related artists categorizations were generally much better and more interesting than anything on Spotify. I discovered a hell of a lot of cool music because of MOG. I discovered Tim Hecker and The Dead Texan and Pan American (basically the entire catalog of kranky records, tbh) because of MOG.

I lost 5 pounds because of my MOG "Workout Killer" playlist.

I have never been this emotional over a subscription service ending. I need to re-evaluate my life.

ARGGH I HAVE SUCH FEELS
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:46 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Wow, according to Mike Pesca's The Gist podcast (relevant quote is at about 4 minutes, 20 seconds in), the cost to make the $350 dollar Beat headphones is a whopping fourteen dollars--wow, that is... just, wow.

I mean, that leaves the realm of "crazy markup" and enters the realm of "And with each purchase we send someone to your house to beat you up in front of that girl from high-school you always had a crush on".
posted by blueberry at 9:48 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


Official announcement.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:35 PM on May 28


Also, Re/Code: Tim Cook Explains Why Apple Is Buying Beats (Q&A)

"This is all about music, and we’ve always viewed that music was key to society and culture. Music’s always been at the heart of Apple. It’s deep in our DNA."
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:28 PM on May 28


This is all about music, and we’ve always viewed that music was key to society and culture.

"...and that we should be controlling it and profiting from it."
posted by Sys Rq at 6:36 AM on May 29 [2 favorites]


You know what I think would be cool to come out of this? If they built an MP3 player into the headphones.
posted by drezdn at 3:38 PM on May 29


There is a suggestion today that Apple might be using Beats as a way to lock-in its devices to its own proprietary headphone port technology. The Lightning port seems to have some advantages over the standard headphone jack, too, but I'm not sure how people will feel about only being able to use Apple-licensed headphones.
posted by Copronymus at 12:12 PM on June 5


I'm not sure how people will feel about only being able to use Apple-licensed headphones.

The lightning port is significantly thinner than the standard headphone port, and I wouldn't be surprised if Apple does intend to eventually phase out the standard jack. But I hope they have the sense to give it some time between the introduction of the lightning headphones to the elimination of the non-lightning headphone jack.

I'm pretty sure even then they'd need to sell a lightning to standard headphone adapter, though.
posted by aubilenon at 4:11 PM on June 5


For about $29.99, I'd guess.
posted by rocket88 at 4:22 PM on June 5 [2 favorites]


You know what I think would be cool to come out of this? If they built an MP3 player into the headphones.

Close, but I think the real next step will be built-in ADC's and wifi.

Wired headphones are on their way out. Cables are annoying, and battery life is getting to the point where they're practical and will outlast your smartphone. Sound quality is "Meh" - not terrible, but not great - but moving the ADC's to the headphones and streaming at a high bitrate over Bluetooth 4.1 will solve a lot of issues audiophiles have been having with portable gear.

In that event, it won't matter if the phone has a headphone jack or not - bluetooth adapters with a headphone jack are, what, $20 currently? That's only going to go down.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:23 AM on June 6


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