Once upon a time, a famous 90s rap artist named Dr. Dre decided to enter the headphone business because he discovered how lucrative it would be to sell $99 headphones for $249 to people who care about being cool and not audio quality. HTC wanted to attach themselves to the “Beats” brand, so they bought half the company and started slapping the “Beats” logo on the back of all their smartphones. When HTC’s financial situation turned nasty, they decided to dump their investment in Dr. Dre’s company, which brings us to today’s news.
“Beats” is going to launch a music streaming service that’s essentially a clone of Spotify and Google Play Music All Access. Starting on January 21st, people using Android, iOS, and even Windows Phone, will be able to give Dr. Dre $10 per month to enjoy listening to whatever it is they want. If you’re on AT&T, you’ll be able to subscribe to “Beats” for a more expensive $15 per month plan that will let you access the service on as many as 10 devices. So for $5 per month more, you essentially get 10 accounts. As someone who has Spotify, I can’t tell you how annoying it is to share an account with my girlfriend, so good on Dr. Dre for this multi-account feature.
Should Google or Spotify be worried? I honestly don’t know. When “Beats” launched those silly overpriced headphones, I thought no one would buy them, but boy I was wrong. Everyone did. And when I went backpacking through Asia last year, every country I visited had street vendor selling imitation “Beats” headphones. They’re seen as some sort of aspirational thing over there.
So best of luck, Dr. Dre. Call me when you launch your service in Europe.