"Dre said, 'I've had an idea for a company for two years.'"

September 17 [Mon], 2012, 10:54
For Luke -- a former record executive -- and production stars Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre,<リンク:beats by dre> it seems that Beats was an opportunity to invest in something other than the ailing music trade. As I start making some tea of my own, Luke says the three asked themselves, "Since the buying of music is voluntary now, what are we really good at?"

Iovine thought of headphones, an idea that he took to Dre.<リンク:Dre beats studio> "Dre said, 'I've had an idea for a company for two years. Beats, let's call it Beats'."

The move makes sense. After all, there's currently no way to pirate headphones.

"The second issue was the complete degradation of the sound ecosystem," Luke says, as I accidentally splash tea into the saucer while trying to remove the teabag. "That is a combination of, starting with piracy, 128kbps files with unbelievably dirty metadata, on terabyte drives that people were grabbing from university when they left."

Playback devices were another problem. "Primarily looking at laptops, laptops were never meant to play music back, especially in the mid-90s when they became heavily commodified and prices started coming down on laptops and notebook computers. They were made for Word, Excel, then browsing the Internet, they weren't meant to be sound playback devices."

Naff earbuds bundled with iPods Monster Beats Solo HDand feature phones were yet another -- as Luke diplomatically phrases it -- 'issue and opportunity'. "They were put in with the iPod really just for immediate gratification, so you could see how it worked."

The result? "Between the files, playback instrument and headphones, you lost a whole generation that never learned about audio," Luke says. "We were still in the studio making records that were only sounding better because of digital technology, suddenly we were using 96KHz, you know, 24 bits, these really rich -- we were capturing the bottom end the way we never really could because of digital sampling... but the user wasn't hearing any of what we were hearing."

Despite the enormous marketing push and associated glitz, Luke insists that Beats wasn't dreamed up as a corporate ploy to pry people away from their money. "We didn't have a think-tank to think, 'Where can we make a lot of money?' -- it was like, wow we gotta fix sound," he says.
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