Today’s HTC announcement call yielded many Beats and not too many big surprises since the bulk of the news was leaked and we’d already had knowledge of the $300 million dollar investment HTC is making in Beats audio. This left the question and answer segment of the call to seek out brand new information and specifics regarding the deal as a whole. One of the biggest of these bits of information was the fact that HTC and Beats Audio are making this an exclusive partnership, at least as far as smartphones go.
Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Beats by Dr. Dre and chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, spoke very highly of HTC and the way their business is run. In particular, Iovine noted that he saw Apple and the way they work, noting that it was because they had a head in Steve Jobs, and saw that same strength in HTC with its head Peter Chou. Iovine also pumped up his own brand noting that in the three years that Beats has been a brand, headphone sales in the USA have quadrupled in sales in ages between 12 and 24 years, all due to Beats.
The point Iovine seemed to want to drive home the most was that in order for the music industry to “get back on it’s feet,” music would have to transfer to the phone, and that people would only accept this transfer if the audio quality was A+. Iovine drove this point home by noting that HP sales have been “remarkable” since the addition of Beats Audio to their hardware, this creating a situation where people have a choice between Apple, PC, and HP, instead of HP just falling into the HP fold.
HTC’s CEO Peter Chou noted several times that the amazing audio offered by Beats is key for the full mobile experience. Chou said that it’s not only the sound, but the culture that goes with the Beats brand that HTC sees as valuable. This, Chou said, would help to continue to differentiate HTC from the rest of the smartphone market.
Chou noted that this was going to be a holistic experience, not just in headphones, but in the smartphones themselves. This leads us to believe that the actual speaker systems, not just the headphone audio, may be enhanced in all HTC devices in the future. When asked then why HTC decided to “buy Beats rather than license it,” Chou noted that they didn’t actually BUY Beats, they invested in it for $300 million USD, creating an environment where everyone can continue to license Beats for their devices (other than smartphones, of course) rather than just HTC.
Iovine commented on the exclusive deal with smartphones, on the other hand, noting that they now had an “exclusive relationship with HTC on phones because that’s where the play is.” This, Iovine noted, was the next step in Beats’ mission to fix digital music everywhere, noting that we’ll certainly see very large companies across the board upgrading their sound systems because of what Beats has done for the record industry and for electronics as a whole.
Finally there was a question on when Dr. Dre’s new album Detox would be released, to which Iovine said he didn’t have a date but did note that Detox headphones were already out.