How Beats Electronics Came to Be Worth $3 Billion to Apple (Photos)
3:32 PM PDT 5/9/2014 by Debbie Emery
As Apple nears a deal with the headphone maker and music streaming operator that would be its largest acquisition yet, THR takes a look back at how the company has grown since Dr Dr. and Jimmy Iovine founded it in 2008.
Hip hop star and music producer Andre "Dr. Dre" Young voice behind Beats, having previously established himself as a Grammy award-winning artist, producer co-owner of Death Row Records and founder of Aftermath Entertainment.
Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine
Dr. Dre joined forces with Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, in 2008 to formally launch Beats Electronics (marketed under Beats By Dre) from a Santa Monica, Calif. location. At the time the company was majority-owned by Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC.
Jimmy Iovine, HTC CEO Peter Chou and Dr. Dre
Long before Apple was in the picture, HTC had a majority share in Beats, as Jimmy Iovine, HTC CEO Peter Chou, and Dr. Dre all posed together.
Lady Gaga was one of the first stars to jump onto the Beats bandwagon, with her more delicate, studded Heartbeats earphones, which were released in December 2009.
While he was still a clean-cut teenage pop star in December 2010, Justin Bieber launched his own line of (then) Monster Beats with Justbeats Solo, which came in his favorite shade of purple.
Not content with missing out on the massive market, Jay Z launched his own competitor to Beats by Dre by partnering with Skullcandy to release RocNation branded headphones called "Aviators" in May 2012.
50 Cent got in the game in April 2012 when he launched SYNC designed to be a direct rival to Beats in a collaboration with SMS Audio, selling at $400 a pair.
One of Beats' first independently-developed products after it parted ways from Monster, the Beats Pill is a wireless speaker that was unveiled in October 2012. The capsule-like device was the prime promotion for the Beats Pill Clinic at SXSW the following March, which featured Snoop Dogg reincarnated into Snoop Lion.
The advertising campaign for the sleek Beats Pill speaker system was suitably edgy with sharp studs and gold manicures.
Dr. Dre and P Diddy
When Beats was still partnered with Monster, Diddybeats united P Diddy and Dr. Dre in business as well as music.
Beats speakers had a starring role in Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video for his 2013 summer anthem.
Snoop Lion -- Snoop Dogg's reggae reincarnation -- performed at the Beats Pill Clinic at the 2013 SXSW festival.
The streaming service Beats Music was launched in January 2014 with a hip hop star-filled show on Grammys weekend. Created to compete with Spotify and Pandora, the service promised "a unique stream of music that fits your situation perfectly."