With all of the rumors surrounding Apple's alleged interest in acquiring Beats, take a stroll down memory lane with this fascinating clip posted by Hip-Hop Promo (and originally cited by Mark Gurman of 9to5 Mac) which shows Steve Jobs having a video chat with none other than the Doctor himself. The chat took place at an Apple special music event in October 2003 where Jobs also chatted with other musical bigwigs such as Bono and and Mick Jagger. The primary purpose of the event was to introduce iTunes for Windows.
So how did Dr. Dre find himself chatting with Apple's CEO and co-founder at a special Apple media event? Well as it turns out, Walter Isaacson's bio of Jobs explains how the two initially connected.
Perhaps the oddest meeting was when Dr. Dre came to visit Jobs at Apple headquarters. Jobs loved the Beatles and Dylan, but he admitted that the appeal of rap eluded him. Now Jobs needed Eminem and other rappers to agree to be sold in the iTunes Store, so he huddled with Dr. Dre, who was Eminem’s mentor. After Jobs showed him the seamless way the iTunes Store would work with the iPod, Dr. Dre proclaimed, “Man, somebody finally got it right."
Also of note is this blurb from the Jobs biography
"Jobs told Sheryl Crow in May 2003 that he was downloading some Eminem tracks, admitting, "He's starting to grow on me." James Vincent subsequently took him to an Eminem concert. Even so, the rapper missed making it onto Jobs's iPod. As Jobs said to Vincent after the concert, "I don't know..." He later told me, "I respect Eminem as an artist, but I don't want to listen to his music, and I can't relate to his values the way I can to Dylan's."
Now, as for any cogent rationale explaining why Apple might be interested in buying Beats, and for $3.2 billion at that, I've yet to see any explanation that makes any sense. Apple acquires companies and technologies that have a precise fit within the company's future product plans. Beats, no matter how successful its headphones are, doesn't fit the bill.
Some have claimed that Apple may be interested in acquiring Beats for its streaming rights, but there's no solid proof that those rights are transferrable in the first place. And barring any unknown clauses in those contracts, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are not. And oh yes, it's not as if Beats has a super successful streaming service anyhow -- the nascent service reportedly only has 200,000 subscribers at this point.
Further, Om Malik points out that the notion that Apple will bring in some design expertise is misguided.
Someone wrote that Apple will get design help from Beats Audio. LOL. Beats design is done by an outside agency, started by ex-Apple peeps. (#) [Outside agency is Robert Brunner’s Ammunition Group and Brunner hired Jony Ive.]
Nonetheless, with reputable sites like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal all corroborating the rumor, there really may be something here. What's more, the New York Post reported late yesterday evening that Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine may soon be joining Apple as a "special adviser" to Tim Cook.
Beats Electronics boss and veteran music industry executive Jimmy Iovine is in talks to join Apple as a “special adviser” to Tim Cook on creative matters, two sources close to talks tell The Post.
Still, from both a hardware and software perspective, it's hard to find a rationale for the deal that makes any sort of sense. And again, if the $3.2 billion asking price is accurate, that would represent Apple's largest acquisition to date.
For all the noise surrounding this rumor, something just doesn't add up.
It's also worth noting that Dr. Dre appears to have confirmed the deal in a video posted to Youtube, and since deleted (and re-posted). Dre, below, calls himself the first billionaire in Hip Hop (note: strong language NSFW).