50 Cent achieved mainstream success with the help of Eminem and Dr. Dre. The two jointly signed the Queens rapper to Shady Aftermath Records. Subsequently, he made his debut with one of the biggest records in the music industry. Somewhere along the way, however, 50 Cent also found success as a businessman. One of his businesses was SMS audio, which specialized in the design of headphones.
But that posed a problem for her relationship with Dr. Dre, who had his own headphone business.
How Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine created Beats by Dre
Dr. Dre had already earned several millions as a record producer and executive. His label, Aftermath Records, had already had great success with bands like Eminem and 50 Cent. But it was his headphone company, Beats by Dre, that pushed Dr. Dre’s wealth status even further. Jimmy Iovine, head of Interscope Records and partner of Dre’s Beats, once told GQ how the headphone company was born.
“Beats Electronics, Beats Headphones, and the Beats Music streaming service were formed and successful for two reasons,” Iovine said. “Streaming was coming, we knew it thanks to Napster – even though the music industry was in denial and tried to stop it, the genie was out of the bottle. Internet piracy was going to be a problem and this was only a matter of time before more and more people listened to music through a streaming service.
Iovine also noticed the kind of hardware people used to listen to their music. This created an opportunity that Iovine felt he and Dr. Dre should capitalize on. The potential of their brand eventually led to Apple buying their company, which would later change the industry.
“We came at the right time with the things they needed,” Iovine continued. “That is why the sale [of Beats to Apple] made sense. I’ve said before that Beats always felt like Apple to me, because of the way Steve [Jobs] and Tim [Cook] knew how to combine technology and culture. They knew, as I know, that the really cool shit happens at the intersection of the fastest growing industries.
According to Forbes, Apple would soon buy Beats for $3 billion, which would significantly increase Dr. Dre’s net worth.
50 Cent couldn’t work with Dr. Dre because of their headphone rivalry
Dr. Dre’s label mate 50 Cent has finally decided to follow in the rap producer’s footsteps. SMS Audio was another headphone company founded and run by the Able producer, who asked for help from producer Timbaland to start his project.
“I sent him (Timbaland) a package with all the different headphones,” 50 Cent said in an interview with Linkedin. “He asked me for the DJ version. He fell in love with them, he worked with them in the studio. He was like, ‘This is what I’m talking about.’ It makes perfect sense – he spends more time in the recording studio than entertaining himself. He’s in the studio creating productions for Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, all the other guys – Timbaland is one of those guys. Like a Dr Dre. When he was excited enough about it to invest in the business, I thought, yeah, let’s do it.
But 50 Cent’s launch of SMS Audio was also part of the reason he and the business mogul had to go their separate ways.
“Everyone’s competitors look at the people they’re competing against, but there was a time when they were a little more aware of me than I felt comfortable with, because we’re friends,” he told the Telegraph. “We have two companies that do the same thing, but the same goes for many other companies, so nothing made him feel like he was supposed to be the only person in the category. They just identified to which point marketing could be effective when I was connected to it, so it made it difficult for me to work with him and I had to leave the label.
50 Cent regrets the way he launched SMS Audio under Jimmy Iovine
After some time of reflection, the In the club hitmaker unveiled their decision to launch SMS audio. While he didn’t regret starting the company, he admitted he could have handled things differently.
“I would have had communications with Jimmy [Iovine]”, he told CNBC. “The owner of Beats owned the record company I was in, and I had to leave the record company to make music again. He considered me a direct competitor.
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