Beats by Dr. Dre: Making Monster Moves
With an image as meticulously crafted as their products, the Beats by Dr. Dre brand made it clear on Oct. 11 that the red lowercase ‘b‘ dominating the space where our ears once were is more than just a clever marketing scheme.
They were selling an all-around experience. With greeters sharing white smiles while pouring Double Cross vodka, to a bright red room glowing ominously from the floor to the ceiling, Beats arranged a sleek event space with confidence in the brand and disdain for the competition.
There was a Holiday 2011 lineup to discuss and Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Intercope and co-owner of Beats, dominated the conversation with his excitement over the new Beats Studio Colors, Beats Wireless, Beats Mixr, and Beats Portable Beatbox.
Here are the cliff notes:
- Beats Studio Colors: The Studio received a cosmetic facelift, delivering purple, yellow, blue, orange, pink, and more to the battery-powered Studio market. Thew new colors are also an effort to thwart bootleg sales. (I own the 2010 Studio Beats and can confirm a sturdy feel to the 2011 headband.)
- Beats Wireless: Somewhere between the size of the Solo HD and Studio is the bluetooth-enabled Wireless. “We’ve been trying to come out with a wireless headphone from day one.” Iovine explained. “To be very frank, we didn’t give a s**t if the headphones came out ever, or never. Dre wanted wireless proved to him. … These sound like music, not a telephone.”
- Beats Mixr: Described as DJ-friendly headphones, the Mixr is a lightweight Beats solution with swiveling ear cups for storage convenience–or just relieving pressure from your ears without having to completely remove and stow.
- Beats Beatbox: Ideal for portability, with up to eight hours of music-blasting playback after a full charge. The implication here is that you shouldn’t need to worry about being conservative to preserve the battery, unless you plan on partying for more than eight hours.
Confident in their technology, Beats and Monster Cable did stress the emphasis of having a cool product on the market.
“Headphones, up until now, we believe have looked like medical equipment,” Iovine said. “We wanted to bring fashion and style, yet inspirational sound. … Nothing comes out until we feel it sounds exactly the way it was meant to sound when it was made in the studio.”
Also on the docket was a Beats by Dr. Dre boutique in SoHo for prospective customers to find exclusive products. “The retail experience isn’t good,” Iovine explained. “We want people to feel it right.”
If you’ve ever been tempted to test out Beats at your local Best Buy, only to find broken headphones, or filthy and sweaty floor models, then the Beats boutique might be ideal for you.
There was also discussion of a partnership with HTC to optimize the relationship with Beats’ booming headphones and their smartphones and tablets. Iovine is a big fan of tablets, but, most importantly, is convinced that delivering the buying experience to the phone is essential for saving the industry.
“People that make the music are finally the ones making the products,” Iovine said.
Without a doubt, the brand relies heavily on Dr. Dre’s name and reputation to sell its products, but that can’t possibly be a bad thing when people revere Dre’s name and reputation for his undeniable talent. Borrowing his name for a line of high-end speakers was logical and, from a marketing standpoint, cool and hip. So don’t be a whippersnapper.