Apple/Beats

1. You’d think something important had happened.

2. We used to care about our acts this way.

3. Wall Street bloviators are clueless. It was the Malaysian airliner, but in the tech sphere. Endless speculation by nitwits with no inside information. I’m sure they’re laughing in Cupertino and Santa Monica.

4. Money isn’t everything. But this story proved everybody thinks it is. Sell anything for billions and the whole world cares…but the truth is they don’t. I’m not saying being poor is a thrill, but after a certain point, and it’s statistically very low, cash does not increase your happiness. Or, in other words, once upon a time we praised art, now we praise cash.

5. This is just gonna make the rest of the unprincipled artists chase their tech/financial/corporate dreams. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, there’s NEVER gonna be this kind of money in music, so if money is what turns you on, you shouldn’t play.

6. The overanalysis is mind-boggling. Tim Cook is an operations guy, he’s clueless, the company has no vision and this is evidence of it. Steve Jobs was famous for saying one thing and doing another, decrying this and then doing exactly that. Anybody with a brain knew that streaming was eclipsing downloads. Except at Apple, where they were adhering to Jobs’s philosophy. But it turns out Apple had no Plan B, no streaming service ready to be launched when necessary. It’s like they never read Clayton Christensen’s “Innovator’s Dilemma,” despite it being vaunted in the tech press for over a decade. If you rest on your laurels, you’re gonna be history tomorrow.

7. Yes, this is about music streaming. Do you really think Apple wants to own a headphone company, one built upon fashion?

8. Yes, Angela Ahrendts will figure out a way to sell more Beats headphones, she’s a marketing guru, but that’s the problem with Apple today, it’s all marketing and no innovation/vision.

9. Apple still won’t own music streaming.

10. Never forget the market leader in streaming is YouTube.

11. If you’re still complaining about streaming you’ve missed the future, it’s here, it’s gonna pay big, and the only people complaining are the ignorant musicians.

12. You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. Jimmy knew that Beats’ music service was doomed, he got out at the right time. As for the headphones, they’ve peaked.

13. You start with free.  Then you charge. Beats had it all wrong, it could never compete with Spotify.

14. We no longer live in an Apple world. Apple dominated music because of the seamless interface of the iPod and iTunes, with the iTunes Store the glue holding it all together. Apple no longer has a market monopoly, and the company is too stupid to strive for this. End game with the iPhone is death (or a niche product with declining software, which IS death). We’ve seen this movie a zillion times before, most famously with the Macintosh. Apple triumphed in this century by dominating, first with the iPod, then with the iPhone and then with the iPad. As that dominance erodes, you come up with a new dominant product, one that hopefully ties all your others together, so far Tim Cook has failed to do this.

15. The fact that Beats Music works on Android is a red herring. No one is looking to pay for streaming yet. Spotify is trying to convince everybody. Instead of being ahead of the curve, Apple is behind. But at least it’s finally in the game.

16. The price is irrelevant. Either this deal will pay out or it won’t. If it doesn’t, Apple’s financial position will not be hurt. But this was a desperation move to get into music streaming, thank god they finally did it, no matter what the price.

17. If Jimmy Iovine goes to Apple, more power to him. But that will indicate the lunatics have taken over the asylum, Apple should first and foremost be about tech, Jimmy is at best a marketer. This would mean Apple is mature, and you know what happens with mature tech companies…

18. Jimmy has created nothing other than wealth. The headphones are mediocre and Beats Music is a me-too service. There’s no story here. Other than a desperate company making a deal with someone with something they need.

19. Apple didn’t want the headphones. They wanted the streaming music service. Jimmy insisted upon selling the whole thing. Makes sense, it gives Apple the illusion of cash flow/profit and it allows Jimmy to take his money off the table all at once.

20. Beats “curation” was a marketing smoke screen, a dollop of fluff made to make the company look attractive.

21. Apple does buy Jimmy’s relationships with the music industry, where he’s held in high regard and has a lot of sway by marrying a peculiar blend of sycophantic behavior with a willingness to draw the line. He already works for Lucian Grainge, so Universal is in his pocket, especially having made the company a windfall profit here. As for Warner… Len Blavatnik invested in Beats, so Jimmy has him tied up too! As for Sony… The company is completely clueless, run by the antiquarian Doug Morris and old school marketer L.A. Reid and nice with no oomph/backbone Rob Stringer, who is no longer protected by his brother. In other words, all this hogwash about expiration of licenses is just that, Jimmy owns the music business, and has great relationships with acts, remember the 9/11 tribute? So, Apple buys Jimmy’s contacts, which are worth something.

22. Dre can’t sell a record. He’s a hip-hop icon, but his recording days are through. Jimmy helped him make coin. He can give Apple vision into the urban market, but Dre, like seemingly every great recording artist as they age, appears to be creatively spent.

23. Spotify… This is the best thing that ever happened to the company. The more Apple promotes streaming music, the more the category blows up.

24. If you assume Beats Music will triumph under Apple, you believe iTunes Radio demolished Pandora, which is completely untrue, although it does appear that iTunes Radio will have worldwide penetration first (although Spotify already has incredible worldwide penetration…) There is a first mover advantage, especially in tech.

25. This has got nothing to do with music. Music is already free on YouTube. In other words, the only people who care about this deal are those with stock in Apple, or who make money off prognosticating about Apple, and those envious of the score Jimmy and company made.

26. Musical artists have more power than Jimmy and Apple combined, but they don’t exercise it. The goal in music isn’t selling out! Which was the goal of Beats from initiation.

27. People will forget about this story in a matter of weeks, the same way the Donald Sterling story will have no legs. Whereas a great record lasts forever.

28. Apple has the deep pockets to compete with Spotify, by making the service free. Beats did not have this money, without this deal, Beats Music dies.

29. Steve Jobs was a visionary with basic precepts. His #1 precept was usability. Since he’s been gone, Apple has broken this again and again. There are confusing, unnecessary features in Mavericks and iOS 7 looks great, but eats battery life and has other flaws (as well as advantages, I must admit.) Jony Ive is a DESIGNER! Design was always important to Jobs, but after FUNCTION! Who will carry the mantle of Steve Jobs? Certainly not Cook and Ive, possibly no one. But Jobs knew how to market, better than anyone, although Iovine is somewhat close. And Jobs knew timing was everything, to jump in when the public was ready. And Jobs knew you had to constantly innovate, but take few chances. That’s what’s bugging the analysts, that this is the chance Cook took. But they’re not looking deep enough, the guy just doesn’t get it! He’s an operations freak. That’s like asking the studio booker to make the record!

30. The ability of the press to miss this story so badly makes me wonder about the accuracy of their reporting on everything else.

P.S. Don’t forget Steve Jobs sang the praises of John Sculley and ultimately regretted the decision to hire him at Apple. Just because Jobs anointed Cook don’t think Steve wouldn’t regret this decision today. Because Cook delivers numbers, but not products. Creative companies must be run by creative people, never forget that. In other words, Jimmy Iovine knows little about electronics and almost nothing about code, but he managed to create the Beats headphone juggernaut (Monster provided the tech) and Beats Music (MOG provided the tech). In other words, creativity is all about individuals. And either you’ve got insight and the ability to execute, to assemble disparate components for an unforeseen future, or you don’t. We love the visionaries and the dreamers, we don’t love Tim Cook. Many liked Van Halen with Sammy, but the band’s legend was built with Dave. Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit Dave has a viewpoint, a persona, a personality. Sam may have the pipes, but once again, success is about vision, not raw talent, Steve Wozniak was the tech genius of the Apple II, but without Steve Jobs, he was nowhere. It appears that without Steve Jobs, Apple is nowhere.

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