Those iconic black and red headphones that adorn the necks of business commuters and Premier League footballers alike almost never were; Beats founder Jimmy Iovine has revealed.
Speaking at the Revolt music conference in Miami, Florida yesterday, Iovine revealed how he convinced Dr Dre to turn his back on plans to start his own trainer company and instead pursue a move into the personal audio market.
What’s more, in a weird round-about way given the recent Beats takeover by Apple, it appears the iPad maker played a pivotal role in this decision.
With Iovine, in his former role at Interscope – a Universal Music label, having played a key role in music rights negotiations at the birth of iTunes in 2003, he suggested his early meetings with Apple founder Steve Jobs would eventually impact his future business judgements.
“I met Steve Jobs and the team at Apple, and I thought: this is where cool lives right now,” he told the Revolt crowd. “The party is at Steve’s house.”
He added: “[Jobs] was a great and dangerous man who I quickly decided to make my friend.”
With Dr Dre’s lawyer, Peter Paterno, pitching the trainer brand idea years later as a means of growing the musician’s personal brand, Iovine drew on Jobs’ influence to push an entirely different business plan.
“The shining example of Steve Jobs and his company stuck in my head,” Iovine said of the decisions made at the birth of Beats.
“I said, ‘Dre, let’s not do sneakers – let’s do speakers.’”
The culmination of this one, Apple-inspired, idea came to fruition earlier this year as the iPhone 6 creator forked out a staggering $3 billion (£1.86bn) for the global headphone giant.
Looking at how the Beats brand has exploded, Iovine added: “The great artists of music have always innovated and boldly changed the game.”
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