With widespread reports that Apple is planning to break the bank to buy Beats Electronics, the company that makes Beats by Dr Dre headphones and that is also behind the Beats Music service, we ask: What would such an acquisition mean for DJs?
Firstly, this is actually two separate deals in one. Beats has trained people to spend money on headphones with high price tags, something of course Apple has spectacularly done with computers, media players and smartphones. Sure some may scoff at the audio quality, but the styling and marketing has led to a spectacular profit margin for Beats on its headphones, which to be fair have also improved in quality over the years.
For DJs, you could be sure that Apple would maintain and improve on that quality standard, and also presumably work harder to crack down on the rampant piracy in this market. A pair of Beats round your neck would even more signify quality, like having a glowing Apple emanating from your DJ set-up currently signifies quality, like it or not. Enough to have Apple haters apoplectic, I’m sure, but that’s how it is.
However, possibly the more interesting part of the deal is the fact that Apple would get Beats Music, the subscription streaming music service. We’ve always championed having a streaming music service in your music discovery set-up as a DJ, and while Apple has iTunes Radio and Beats has Beats Music, neither has been a huge success so far numbers-wide. Combining the two would make commercial sense for Apple, especially as Beats Music is subscription-based (like Spotify, and unlike iTunes Radio). But the really interesting thing here is that Beats Music is already an Android app.
Why is that interesting? Presumably, because the logical conclusion would be that any merged service would also arrive on Android. This could suggest that Apple’s longer-term goal is to open up its whole music ecosystem cross-platform. If so, it would strengthen the position of iTunes as the universal music library app (despite DJs’ love/hate relationship with it), because it would mean DJs who have Android devices could enjoy the same seamless discovery / purchase / transfer of music (all the way from streaming music service to DJ software via iTunes) currently enjoyed by those fully in the Apple ecosystem, from smartphone to laptop to DJ software. As music habits move from purchase to streaming, Apple has to decide if its solution is going to be within its own ecosystem or open to all: This could be the start of the company choosing the latter.
However it pans out, Beats has become a brand synonymous with modern music consumption, and if this purchase goes through, at the very least it will validate the opinion of masses of DJs who buy Beats headphones and use them happily for their DJing, despite the scoffs of purists for whom the whole Beats generation embodies everything that’s wrong with modern DJing.
What do you think? Do you wish you could have iTunes and AirPlay on your Android device? Would this mean more higher quality headphones from Beats of interest to DJs? Do you think we’ll see Beats brand DJ controllers as Apple corners the DJ market too? Share your thoughts below!