How did Beats by Dre become the billion-dollar company it is today?
It apparently all started by chance when record producer Jimmy Iovine happened to run into Dr. Dre on the beach. Dre told him about his idea to start a sneaker company — but Iovine had a different suggestion.
At the time the headphone idea was born, Apple’s iPod was a massive success, but its cheap plastic earbuds compromised audio quality. Iovine and Dre saw this as an opportunity, and in 2006, the two launched Beats by Dre. It was right in the middle of the recession, which made it difficult to sell to retailers. But after a deal with Best Buy and a number of celebrities sporting the headphones, Beats took off.
The company took on two-thirds of the headphone market, and continued to expand, launching products like the Beats Pill and streaming service. In 2013, Beats was nearing $1.2 billion in annual revenue. But that same year, the duo sold Beats to Apple for $3.2 billion. Now, the headphones are in every Apple store, not to mention on plenty of more celebs’ ears.
Though it started as a shoe idea, Beats ended up totally dominating the audio world.