Beats Headphones – More Marketing than Innovation
Beats by Dre is now as ubiquitous as the iPhone. Dr. Dre and his associates struck gold when they took the world of headphone manufacturing by storm and reinvented the way headphones were marketed to consumers.
Andre Romelle Young, who is recognized by hip-hop fans worldwide as Dr. Dre. He was a founding member of the rap group N.W.A and the Death Row Records label. Dr. Dre, along with his colleague Jimmy Iovine, former Interscope Geffen A&M Records chairman, founded Beats in 2006 with partner, Monster Cable.
Beats Skirt Olympic Advertisement Prohibitions
The first headphones to reach the market were the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio in late 2008. In the early days of Beats, Dre and Iovine teamed up with popular musicians and athletes to market their products by giving away their headphones to celebrities and other consumer influencers.
In 2008 Dr. Dre gave a pair of studio headphones to Lebron James. Lebron liked them so much he asked for 15 more pairs, and he gave them to his fellow American athletes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This move allowed the policy of prohibiting nonofficial advertisers from advertising during the Olympics to be bypassed, thus giving free worldwide advertising to the Beats headphones.
Branding and Design Drive Success
Easily recognized by their assortment of bright colors and a prominent logo while being worn by the likes of Lebron James, Kanye West, Michael Phelps, and Fergie, BeatsTM quickly became a fashion status symbol that drove the brand on the path to success.
The new sensation soon generated a reported $1 billion between 2010 and 2012. Despite the lack of innovation, Beats by Dre continued to dominate the market by selling 59% of the high-end headphones being sold. In 2012 Beats produced advertisements that were trendy, cutting edge, and on point.
When Robin Thicke released his hit single “Blurred Lines,” Iovine bought the rights to use the song in an ad, and then persuaded Thicke to shoot an ad for Beats Pill in the format of the music video–within five days of the original shoot.
Not long after that Will.i.am released “Scream and Shout,” which featured samples from Brittany Spears and was used as the theme song in the commercial for Beats by Dre Color. This television ad played for two weeks before Black Friday and on Thanksgiving Day football games.
In addition to a solid traditional and guerrilla advertising, the success of the company can also be traced to the Social media sphere as soon as they started, directly influencing customers with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Yet even throughout social media, celebrity endorsements are always at the core of the Beats enterprise.
Despite audio quality that is substandard to other high-end headphones, including headphones that sell for less money. Beats still has a quarter of the $1.8 billion headphone market and sells more than half the “premium” headphones sold in 2014.
Beats Enters New Markets
Beats has been on the market for almost a decade and is still going strong, steadily introducing new audio products. Recent offerings include the Beats Pill (a Bluetooth-enabled speaker) and a larger model of the Beats speakers. On top of the original Studio headphone, they have created new wireless headphones and earphones, keeping true to their $150-$400 price tag.
Beats are pop culture phenomena fueled by the consumer-driven market of middle-class America. In less than a decade, a new powerhouse in the electronic speaker market was created. Despite lawsuits filed against them by Bose and Monster Cable, both cases ended badly for the companies when Beats’ metaphorical big brother Apple stepped in and stopped the sale of the company’s products or terminated their contract for making Apple exclusive products.
These lawsuits stand only to strengthen the name of Beats and what they stand for quality bass and music. The creator, Dr. Dre, wants people to “hear what the artists hear, and listen to the music the way they should: the way I do.” He has given both his audience and consumers a noise-cancelling $400 headphone like the true altruist he is.
In addition to having a lineup of personal headphones, Beats audio is now being installed into cars and laptops. The 2012 Chrysler 300S luxury vehicles included a 10-speaker Beats sound system, which has also been included in models from Fiat Chrysler automobiles to Dodge and FIAT.
The Beats Brand
The Beats brand hasn’t stopped at just making a headphone empire, they went headfirst into the tumultuous prospects of a music-streaming program called Beats music. On paper, it’s a risky move, considering the surplus of music streaming services already available from Pandora to Spotify and even to YouTube music. Although the service already has thousands of monthly paying users, the sensation just keeps growing with no signs of slowing down. What could be next for this massive brand? A takeover of Apple? Their own phone brands? The sky is truly the limit for this pop-culture-fueled phenomenon in the new era of technology.
Through corporate marketing, HTC and Apple have owned shares of the company since August 1, 2014, when Apple bought Beats for a $3 billion cash and stock deal. The audio product producer, Beats Electronics, is a subsidiary of Apple Inc., and is headquartered in Culver City, California,