I met the COO of Beats Electronics, Luke Wood in Berlin, for an interview; he doesn't look like the usual COO stereotype - his down-to-earth personality and casual dress sense have more in common with a creative person than a typical businessman.
Since its launch in 2006, no one can deny the fact that Beats by Dr. Dre is one of the more high-profile audio brands, popular with both consumers and celebrities.
However, we were keen to find out whether this company was just another money-making concept that uses celebrity endorsements to drive sales or is there something more to it?
Wood, who comes with an extensive music background, explains that the company started because of three main reasons; firstly the massive disruption caused by online file sharing and what it did to traditional music. Secondly, the focus of the music industry moved away from quality to convenience and thirdly, the move from analogue to digital which allows for more audio data to be captured.
He explains that Beats main mission was to produce audio products that would deliver “the same experience and emotions that artists feel during studio recording sessions”. Wood explains "We don't care about product specs, we focus on experience. If the sound is better than the emotion is better."
Expanding on Beats’ new partnerships and the company’s vision for 2013, he said that the company also partnered with Chrysler and Fiat. Beats also acquired the music service MOG which is currently only available in US and Australia. MOG promises to deliver 15 million tracks at 320 kbps, slightly more than Apple's iTunes tracks, which are encoded at 256 kbps.
Overall, this a smart move from Beats. If its brand messaging focuses on quality and experience for the consumer then it also need content that goes with it.
This could be down to a very simple equation. If there were no Apps Store or iTunes then the iPhone and the iPad would be very similar to other products on the market.
It's the apps and content platforms (AKA the ecosystem) that includes iTunes which provides with a compelling selling point over competing products.
Wood added that Beats doesn't focus on competitors adding, "We don't follow culture or trends, we invent them and we always march to our own drumbeats."
Beats COO went on to explain that although the brand is relatively new to the market, it has recruited some of the best marketing people in the industry to launch and market a product.
However they needed help with the manufacturing and that's how the partnership with Monster started. He added that during these five years, both companies learnt a lot from each other but it got to a point that they were ready to carry on with this journey separately.
From January 2013, Beats will become a totally independent company and it's looking to grow its workforce by more than 50 per cent to 200 employees over the next few months.
The company has been buoyed by the decision by Beats founder Andre Young’s (AKA Dr. Dre) to buy back $150 million worth of shares that Beats sold to HTC back in August 2011.
Together with record impresario Jimmy Iovine, he owns 75 per cent of the company with an additional $225 million cash injection from HTC.
Wood pointed out that Beats will probably not address the mass market. He quipped “if we can make cheaper products then we will, however we don't really focus on price brackets.
Sound and performance are key for us, if it doesn't sound good then we won't make it" before adding that it will bring out two new products this October.