Is the Apple/Beats Acquisition A Good Thing For DJs?

Beats Apple

Will Apple buying Dr Dre’s Beats business make a difference to you?

Now that Apple has officially bought Beats for a cool $3 billion, it is time to look at what this means to DJs and what impact it will have on the music industry.

Looking at the detail of the deal, Apple has not really bought a business selling headphones (although that is a big bonus as this business makes a shedload of money); in reality it has bought the technology the firm was developing that may just blow the music streaming service apart.

In a memo to employees, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that Beats is the “first streaming service that really got it right”.

He said that a great music service requires a “strong editorial and curation team”. In a Q&A session with Recode magazine, Cook said Beats brings to Apple people with “very rare skills”.

He added that “technology by itself wasn’t enough — that it was the marriage of the two that would really be great and produce a feeling in people that we want to produce.”

The joining of the two companies means that they can now do things that neither company could do on its own, according to Cook.

But what is down the line for Apple now? iTunes Radio, Genius and even Ping have met with mixed success over the years (And I think we are being generous in our description here), would Beats Music fare any better?

It will mean that Beats Music getting more exposure thanks to Apple’s global footprint. The service itself relies not just on algorithms, but people choosing the music that gets played. A rather novel feature of the service is “The Sentence”; type in what you are up to and the service will pick music for that moment. Of course there is a search bar to find specific tracks and artists, but in this way users can discover tracks they may have never heard before.

But it is the curation aspect of the service that will perhaps bring more DJ-picked music to the mainstream as rather than being forced to remember artists they want to listen to, they choose someone with the expertise and skill to do so for them. The service makes this less effort, as in only a few swipes on a smart device it will start playing the music you didn’t know you liked.

The move to acquire Beats puts in greater rivalry with SoundCloud. That music service boasts 250 million users and allows its users to share their work with each other. It provides exclusivity for music purists and popular artists can build up a major following of users through the service. Beats Music could put that focus onto the curators and DJs that choose the music and allow them to grow their own profiles through the music they put together. The acquisition by Apple will only amplify that.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a writer and broadcaster. He first got into dance music when, as a hitchhiker on the M25 in the late eighties, he accidentally found himself at a rave in Wiltshire for three days. He's kept up with dance music ever since but has eased off the hitchhiking.

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