While most of us are totally shocked by the news that Apple is late stage talks to buy Beats audio for $US3.2 billion, there’s one person who saw it coming — music industry insider Bob Lefsetz.
In what appears to be a fluke thing, Lefsetz made an April Fool’s joke that Apple was buying Beats.
Initially, we thought this was a serious post, but after reading more closely, clearly it’s a joke. However, it might be a truthy joke.
This shows you how outlandish the idea of Apple buying Beats is.
Despite the fact that this is a joke, his analysis isn’t completely insane. Here it is:
So where does this leave us?
1. Streaming wins. People have been waiting for years for Apple to get into the market, now it has. Is it too late? Apple owned the portable music sphere with its iPod, no one else could get traction, but Android has significant market share in phones. Therefore, despite Cook portraying this as a breakthrough acquisition, it’s really about catching up.
2. Jimmy Iovine demonstrates that he’s a winner, that all the naysayers are wrong. He went on “American Idol” with those godforsaken Beats headphones around his neck and he willed them to be successful. Now that he’s unloaded Beats Music, rumour has it that Iovine will be shepherding a return to rock movement, saying it’s all about being able to play your instrument and that hip-hop is dead. He will reunite Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty for another duet, maybe around the time of the Apple/Beats launch, Jimmy has always known it’s about marketing.
3. Spotify is history. Daniel Ek is no competition for Apple. In tech timing is everything. Spotify fought the war, got customers softened up to embrace streaming, Apple will gain the lion’s share of the revenue (and yes, there will be an Android version of the Apple/Beats streaming service, it will launch simultaneous with the Apple version, just like iPod for Windows broke Apple through, Cook is taking no chances, he’s replicating the formula.)
4. Tim Cook shows that he is willing to go against Steve Jobs’s wishes, that Apple is now truly his company.
5. Once again, the money flows to the techies. Yes, Iovine got paid, but only once, he’s got no ongoing remuneration coming from Apple, like Ian Rogers, he’s out.
So the war is over. Our long national nightmare is history. We’ve evolved from CDs to piracy to the iTunes Store to legal streaming services. Now the person proffering the best music wins. Distribution is available to everyone, if not marketing dollars. Then again, just like Apple has been jawboning labels for exclusives, expect this behaviour to continue on the Apple/Beats service, home page real estate continues to be valuable.
And one more thing…
YouTube’s streaming music heyday is about to end. As part of the Beats deal, the heads of the three major labels have secretly agreed not to renew their YouTube licenses. You can’t win unless you kill the competition, and Tim Cook has made a preemptive strike.