Saturday, 10 May 2014
apple beat but no wrist waving yet
I see that Apple are buying a hop-hop headphones brand. It's those big round ones with thick red cords, seen on tube trains and buses everywhere. I can't believe that Apple really want the headphones or brand, so it must be to do with something else.
The Bill Gates playbook used to say something along the lines of "buy the second in a market in order to dominate."
I suspect that's the real Apple move. Defend a market? Maybe use the Beats streaming services contracts to outgun Spotify? Spotify has around 6 million paying subscribers (averaging £10 per month?) so Apple would need to bridge the gap from MOG's/Beats half million subscribers.
I suppose it can happen, what with the music taste predictors already in iTunes? This will presumably see the next version of iTunes better integrate streaming, in a way that Spotify have already achieved.
Meanwhile, the amount of hi-fi gear in most households is steadily reducing, no record decks, CD players built into gaming units, Airplay used for background music, downloads dominating.
The Dr Dre 'down with the kids' street branding is interesting given 49 year old Dr Dre is one half, with 61 year old Jimmy Iovine as the other half. Iovine has good form as a record producer (Springsteen, Patti Smith, Lady Gaga amongst others). He's also spoken out on the increasingly pervasive use of compression and loudness management to flatten sound in pop music.
It will be interesting to see the revised Apple proposition when the next generation devices arrive. Probably we'll get wearable lifestyle fitness first (increased use of motion and telemetry), but will there be further new approaches around music consumption or merely copycat catchup?