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Tech Talk

Celebs should follow Dr. Dre’s Beats

5/21/2014

Becoming a celebrity opens a lot of doors. Suddenly you’re being paid to attend parties, stay in hotels, drive fancy cars — basically every opportunity you can imagine is handed to you. There is however one notable exception, and that is success in the tech world. A-list missteps include Justin Timberlake’s MySpace revamp and Shaquille O’Neal investing in 12seconds.tv and Tout.com.

Then there’s the tech gem developed by former NWA rapper Dr. Dre, Beats Electronics. Mainly focused in headphones and speakers, the former of which sonically leave something to be desired, Beats products are everywhere — worn by athletes and given out at awards shows — and the most popular models sell for more than $100.

Many celebrities have invested in tech wisely, (e.g. Ashton Kutcher, Bono, Lady Gaga) but Dre may be the only one to find mainstream success with his name front and center in a product’s marketing strategy. He co-founded Beats with entertainment impresario Jimmy Iovine and has worked for almost a decade to make Beats a household name. From its creation, Dre stated he wanted Beats to fight back against the low-quality earbud-era that arose with the introduction of the iPod.

Now Beats is an unquestionable success. Last year the company raked in more than $1 billion in revenue, its online music subscription service is generating millions and Apple is rumored to be in talks for acquiring the company for approximately $3.2 billion. Beats and Apple seem like natural bedfellows — Beats has found success where Apple hasn’t, and Apple’s has the most loyal customer base in tech.

At the heart of Dre’s tech savvies is undoubtedly his understanding of the market. It’s not a stretch to see a rap mogul becoming a success in headphone and speaker technology. So if other celebrities are looking for a lesson, Dre exemplifies the strategy of sticking to what you know before signing over millions for the next wonder gadget. CV

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Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.

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