Beats by Dre was originally supposed to be a trainer brand, co-founder Jimmy Iovine reveals

Iovine and Dr Dre were inspired by Steve Jobs to set up headphone brand

Beats founder Jimmy Iovine has revealed the popular headphone company could have been a trainer brand instead.

Iovine, 61, who co-founded the company with rapper Dr Dre, said the pair originally set out with the idea of making trainers before following the example set to them by Steve Jobs.

Accepting an award at the Revolt music conference in Miami, Florida, Iovine detailed how Dr Dre was approached by his lawyer who suggested setting up a trainer brand to expand Dre’s personal business with merchandise. “The shining example of Steve Jobs and his company stuck in my head. I said, ‘Dre, let’s not do sneakers – let’s do speakers,'” he explained.


According to The Guardian, Iovine spoke extensively about Steve Jobs during his speech, whose company he’s always had a special relationship with. When he was at Interscope, a label inside Universal Music, Iovine was fundamental in the negotiations over the setup of Apple’s iTunes Music Store in 2003, and in May this year, his own Beats was bought by Apple for $3billion.

“I met Steve Jobs and the team at Apple, and I thought: this is where cool lives right now. The party is at Steve’s house,” he said. “This was a man who understood the lyrics, who understood the music, who understood The Beatles and Bob Dylan, but who also in a visionary way, truly understood lifestyle and technology.”

Iovine also touched on what he sees to be the flaws in the current system of music distribution. “The great artists of music have always innovated and boldly changed the game, but the industry itself has not. Too often, the music business allowed third-party companies to innovate for us – and that simply does not work any more,” he said.

“We must face the fact that our delivery and distribution systems are too sterile and not compelling enough for a new generation of young people who love music in their own way.”

Though it is still unclear exactly what Apple will do with Beats, there have been rumours that sockets on Apple products could be changed to accept only Beats headphones.

This summer, the president of Beats by Dre was forced to defend the sound quality of the company’s headphones after they were accused of being too bass heavy.


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