A few months ago, rumors began to stir that something was happening between Apple and headphones maker-cum-streaming service Beats By Dr. Dre. Now, Apple is the kind of company that always has all kinds of whispers about new products, staff shake-ups and the like abound, but this was one of the few that had a lot of weight behind it, and we all knew it was only a matter of time.
After what seemed like years of speculation and false confirmations (see: Dr. Dre celebrating becoming the first billionaire in hip-hop), Apple did step forward and say what we all knew already: the tech giant had purchased Beats. While the company didn’t necessarily outline all of its plans for the fashionable audio accessory, one thing was made implicitly clear: that things are going to change in the industry.
Apple has quite a few reasons for buying the company – access to the Beats Music streaming service (to add to their own not-so-popular iTunes Radio), a part of sales of all headphones, etc. – but arguably one of the most important reasons Apple was willing to shell out so much money (a reported $3 billion) is the talent that comes with the deal.
Now that the deal has gone through, both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine have become employees of one of the world’s most respected and valuable brands (though no one will comment on exactly what either will be doing, and it is hard to imagine Jimmy Iovine taking orders from anyone). With this transition, the music world all but loses two of its most important visionaries. Both men are well known for their knack in seeing and developing talent, which is unfortunately no longer their first priority.
So, what does this mean for acts aspiring for the mainstream? Well, as mentioned, it means that two of the biggest names in the business are no longer spending their time looking for you. Sure, these days people like Iovine and Dre aren’t exactly hanging out at the local rock show, but both did put their neck on the line championing acts that went on to rule the charts, such as marquee acts like Lady Gaga, Eminem, No Doubt, Maroon 5 and so many others. Even if they’ve made it big, people like them are always on the lookout for the next legendary artist. Excuse me, were always on the lookout.
Your band may not be Maroon 5 just yet (and you may or may not want it to become that), but the facts remain: It is highly unlikely that either one of these two will have much to do with your getting signed. Instead, there are new names to look out for, new executives to court, and perhaps new opportunities to make it to the big time... just not with the same people who have been making stars for years now.
Hugh McIntyre is a freelance pop music journalist in NYC by way of Boston. He has written for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, MTV, as well as various magazines and blogs around the world. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the blog "Pop! Bang! Boom!" which is dedicated to the genre of pop in all of its glory.