Saturday, May 31, 2014

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Beats Deal, But Were Afraid To Ask

VIA: Three weeks of speculation and rumors have led to this. Apple is finally buying Beats for $3 billion.
News of the deal broke weeks ago but the tech world is still scratching its head, wondering why Apple decided to buy a company that peddles overpriced plastic headphones and is co-anchored by one of hip-hop’s most notorious MCs.
Forgetting the fact the fact that Beats has captured 60% of its market, makes over $1 billion in sales and has one of the fastest growing music subscription service in the U.S., the acquisition is the most perplexing Apple purchase since NeXT, but now that Tim Cook has broken the silence on why Apple bought Beats we finally answers you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

So Apple bought Beats for the headphones?

Not really. In an Q&A with Recode, Tim Cook says the purchase is mostly about buying the talented people who turned Beats into one of the world’s top music brands.

“What Beats brings to Apple are guys with very rare skills. People like this aren’t born every day. They’re very rare. They really get music deeply. So we get infusion in Apple of some great talent.
The thing that Beats provides us is a head start. They provide us with incredible people, that don’t grow on trees. They’re creative souls, kindred spirits.”

Apple notably mentions “the critically acclaimed subscription streaming music service Beats Music” first in its press release, with Beats Electronic – the headphone division – being nearly a mere side note. Beats Music is already celebrating the purchase by lowering its annual subscription price to $99

Does that mean Apple is going to kill the headphone business?

Not so fast. Beats Electronics had over a billion in sales last year alone. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to iPhone, iPad, and even Mac sales, but considering Beats managed to capture 60% of the market in just five years, Tim says there’s definitely some value in those shiny headphones.

“They’ve also built an incredible premium headphone business that’s been tuned by experts and critical ears. We’re fans of that. It’s a reasonable-size business that’s fast-growing.”

Apple’s design team has already taken over on Beats hardware. Ammunition, the design company behind the Beats Studio, the Beats Pro and the Beats Pill, says the transition is already underway after having worked with Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre since 2006.

What about the Beats Audio deals with HP and HTC?

Those are getting the axe. According to CNET, Hewlett-Packard will continue to sell computers touting “Beats Audio technology” until the end of 2015, but they only have until the end of 2014 to develop the products. Beats Audio is currently used in 15-20% of the companies products. No word from HTC when it will drop the Beats partnership but it’ll likely happen soon too.

Couldn’t Apple have built its own music subscription service?

Yes, definitely. But Cook says Apple could build pretty much anything in the world it wants, but like the 27 other companies it bought since 2013, Cook told the New York Times it wanted the people.

“Could Eddy’s team have built a subscription service? Of course. We could’ve built those 27 other things ourselves, too. You don’t build everything yourself. It’s not one thing that excites us here. It’s the people. It’s the service.”

Why not buy Spotify or Rdio though?

Beats is the first company to get music subscription to get it right in the eyes of Apple. The human element of curation was highly praised by Cook in interviews.

“We believe is the first subscription service that really got it right. They had the insight early on to know how important human curation is. That technology by itself wasn’t enough — that it was the marriage of the two that would really be great, and produce a feeling in people that we want to produce.”

Are Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre going to be Apple employees?

Yep. Cook says Jimmy and Dre will be full-time executives. They’ve been commuting to Cupertino on a regular basis and will continue doing that for a long time to come.

But Iovine will continue running the Interscope music empire too, right?

Nope. Iovine is making a clean break from the music industry with Billboard reporting John Janick has been named his successor at Interscope Geffen A&M as the new chairman and CEO after Iovine spent the last 25 years in the role.

What will Jimmy and Dre do at Apple?

Handle content deals and oversee aspects of Beats Music probably. Jimmy and Dre will be working under Eddie Cue who’s in charge of Apple’s of Internet Services. Cue has been Mr. Fixit around Apple and handles negotiations for content, but the addition of Jimmy Iovine gives Apple one of the most influential executives in the history of the industry. He’s the closest thing you can get to the Steve Jobs reality-distortion field in the music industry, maybe he’ll handle video negotiations now too.

But seriously Dr. Dre the rapper will be working at Apple next to Jony Ive?

Yes. Andre Young’s prestige as one of the co-founders of gangsta rap has lots of Apple fanboys wondering how he’ll fit in at 1 Infinite Loop, but Compton’s favorite son hasn’t had to rely on rap to make a living since Drake was in diapers and has turned himself into a media icon.

Like Iovine, Dre holds serious sway in the music industry and beyond. With Dre rocking the space grey iPhone his connections outside the music industry could also help Apple tap into the African-American smartphone market where nearly two-thirds choose Android over iPhone.

Will Apple kill the Windows and Android Beats apps?

The deal is all about the music, according to the Financial Time’s Tim Bradshaw, so the Android and Windows apps will continue to be supported after the acquisition is finalized.

Now that the King of Chronic is in Cupertino will weed be allowed on campus?

No, but apparently investors like ISI Group’s Brian Marshall are concerned that Dre’s rap affiliations will lead to medical marijuana popping up at the Spaceship like orange groves. In a note to investors Marshall claims “there are no plans to house a medical marijuana dispensary in AAPL’s new “spaceship” campus headquarters” despite Dr. Dre’s popular 1992 album being titled “The Chronic.”

The deal isn’t expected to finalize until Q4 2014 though so there’s still time for some addition to Dre’s office.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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Danny McBride Is Returning To HBO With a New Show

Danny McBride, star of the hit HBO comedy series “Eastbound & Down,” will return to the network in the comedy series VICE PRINCIPALS, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. The show is slated for 18 episodes, with the debut date and number of episodes per season to be announced as they are confirmed.

Created by Danny McBride and Jody Hill, who were also the creators of “Eastbound & Down,” VICE PRINCIPALS tells the story of a high school and the people who almost run it, the vice principals.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Just Julie Andrews, Jonah Hill, And Channing Tatum Talking About Nude Scenes

Ever Wondered What 2Pac's Last Words Were?

VIA: We all know most of the story behind Pac's untimely death on that cold, fateful Friday the 13th in September. Just six days ago, a busy Saturday evening, on the 7th of September, Pac was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting. The shooting occurred on Flamingo Road near The Westin Hotel (formerly Maxim Hotel). For the full story, head to Vegas Seven.

Following the shooting, one of the first cops to show up at the scene was Sergeant Chris Carroll of the "Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s bike patrol unit." Carroll mushed through the heavy traffic on his bike through the strip (the traffic was due to the Tyson vs. Sheldon match earlier that evening, in which Tyson came out the victor in a 1st round TKO).

Not knowing exactly what happened, Carroll drew his weapon. "So I pulled out my gun, and there’s maybe 10 people. And it was apparent immediately after they got out of the cars that this wasn’t Joe Citizen driving with his wife; these were hard-ass guys. So I’ve got my gun out, and I think one of them is probably the shooter. So I’m yelling for everybody to get down; there’s a ton of people up and down the Strip" Carroll said. "I’m concerned about crossfire; I’m concerned that I don’t know who the shooter is. I’m trying to point a gun at five different cars at once, anticipating gunfire. And to my surprise, the gunfire never comes."

Carroll approached the shot up BMW Pac was in, when he turned and saw Suge Knight, bleeding from a GSW (gun shot wound) to the back of his head, walk toward him. After getting the situation with Suge settled, Carroll worked on getting to the BMW and addressing that situation. Carroll finally got the car door to the BMW to open and started his police work, despite Pac's obvious wounds and critical condition. Sergeant Carroll pressed on, asking "Who did this? Who shot you?" to which Pac completely ignored.

"When I saw in his face, in his movements, all of a sudden in the snap of a finger, he changed. And he went from struggling to speak, being noncooperative, to an ‘I’m at peace’ type of thing. Just like that" Carroll said. "When he made that transition, he looked at me, and he’s looking right in my eyes. And that’s when I looked at him and said one more time, ‘Who shot you?’ He looked at me and he took a breath to get the words out, and he opened his mouth, and I thought I was actually going to get some cooperation. And then the words came out: ‘Fuck you.’"

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Has Dr. Dre’s Drunken Boast Cost His Company $3.2 billion?

VIA: We haven’t heard anything official about its supposed $3.2 billion purchase of Beats from Apple yet and now Billboard reports there’s a good reason for that. According to Billboard’s sources, Apple was not at all happy about a video posted by actor Tyrese Gibson where a couple of weeks ago in which Beats founder and hip-hop legend Dr. Dre boasts about becoming “the first billionaire in hip-hop.” Apple was also probably not happy to hear that Gibson said that Dre was “drunk off of Heinekens” in the video, which was posted on Gibson’s Facebook page right after news broke that Apple would be buying Beats for $3.2 billion.

While most of us found the Dre video funny, it’s pretty obvious why Apple did not — the company has long thrived with a culture of extreme secrecy and it probably took the video as a sign that the team at Beats might not be a good fit. In addition to this, Billboard says that Apple was not happy that Beats apparently leaked news about the deal well before the company was ready to make it formal.

This doesn’t mean the deal to acquire Beats is dead, of course, but it seems that Apple is rethinking the terms of an acceptable deal and doing its due diligence to make sure it’s not making a huge mistake.

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