As the dust settles surrounding Apple’s surprise acquisition of Beats Audio, the question remains regarding what exactly Dr. Dre – one half of the power duo behind Beats – will be doing at Apple. A new profile on the good doctor, though, suggests that Dre will be “the cool one,” maybe even occupying a role similar to the one Steve Jobs held.
A new profile on Dr. Dre went up today in The Wall Street Journal, exploring what exactly Dre and late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs have in common. It paints Dr. Dre as a mysterious, somewhat reclusive figure, but not without his own peculiar genius. Dr. Dre is reportedly obsessed with perfection, paying granular-level attention to not only the music he produces, but also the look of Beats’ advertisements, and even the fonts and word choices for the Beats Music streaming app.
Dr. Dre doesn’t rely on focus groups, either, often accepting or dismissing ideas on gut feelings and impulse. Dre passes on cliche concepts, telling artists to “keep it pure” when they’re making their work. That approach may have colored the final product of Beats’ newest ad, a smash hit viral sensation that is equal parts riveting, rocking, and risqué. That level of dedication to perfection allowed Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine to build Beats to the number one premium headphone manufacturer in just a few years.
Who else had that sort of determination, detail-orientation, and drive? Apple’s Steve Jobs.
The late Apple founder was a notorious perfectionist, and he often bragged about not doing market research. Jobs was certain that consumers didn’t know what they wanted until you showed it to them, and he was equally certain that he knew what they wanted and could make them want it even more with an Apple logo on it.
Over at BuzzFeed, word is that Apple needed to bring on Iovine and Dr. Dre – who will, apparently, have the titles of “Jimmy and Dre” at the company – because the current management at the company was… a bit behind the times:
One source said that as recently “as last year,” some members of management didn’t even know that Spotify was an on-demand streaming service, assuming it was jut a radio service.
Prior to bringing on Dr. Dre and Iovine with Beats, Apple was worried that it would begin having trouble capturing the younger generation, that the “Apple coolness” would begin to fade. Bringing on Dr. Dre, with his myriad connections to other entertainment and sports luminaries, might help Apple to regain a bit of its cool.
Not that Dr. Dre will be doing the next “One more thing” when Apple introduces the iPhone 6 – and maybe the iWatch – this fall, but Apple is apparently very interested in keeping both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine on staff and active within the company. Apple won’t say exactly what the two will be doing, but speculation is high that Dre could wind up being sort of an “Ambassador of Cool” for the iPhone maker.
Sources tell the Journal that, at Beats, Dr. Dre served as a “cultural barometer” of cool, shutting down wack ideas and pushing better ones. Dr. Dre’s influence may come to bear in Apple’s marketing and ads, as the company has been casting about of late, trying to figure out what image it wants to push to counter rival Samsung’s “Next Big Thing” campaign.
Dr. Dre won’t be stepping into a business where he’s got the answer for everything, though. Apple is a well-oiled machine, regularly posting profits in the tens of billions of dollars each quarter. It is a massive corporation with a worldwide fanbase, but the iPhone maker is a bit concerned that it may be a bit less cool than it was a decade ago when the iPod took off. Fortunately, they’ve now got a Doctor in the house. Dre Day, indeed.