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Tim Cook explains the motivation behind Beats acquisition


Confirming earlier reports, Apple today officially announced a blockbuster deal to acquire Beats Electronics for $3 billion. While the notion of Apple acquiring Beats initially resulted in a slew of questions and raised eyebrows, the wisdom of the acquisition now makes a lot more sense; digital downloads are on the decline as consumers increasingly flock towards streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. As former eMusic CEO Adam Klein explained, Apple's late to the party and "this is the quickest way to get there."

In conjunction with Apple's announcement of its Beats acquisition, Tim Cook granted interviews to a few select publications where he explained in further detail the impetus behind the acquisition along with more details as to how Beats will operate under the Apple umbrella.

In an interview with the New York Times, Cook heaped praise upon Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre while also highlighting the professionally-curated musical playlists that differentiate the Beats subscription service from other offerings.

"These guys are really unique," Cook explained. "It's like finding the precise grain of sand on the beach. They're rare and very hard to find."

In a separate interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cook elaborated: "We love the subscription service that they built - we think it's the first one that really got it right."

On this note, it's worth pointing to an Engadget review of the service from this past January:

On the whole Beats has succeeded at building a mobile-first service that offers something its competitors don't. The human-curated playlists are top notch and features like The Sentence allow users to create a more unique listening experience than simply starting a radio station based on a song or artist on Pandora.

Returning to the rationale for the decision, many wondered before the deal was made official why Apple wouldn't simply create its own subscription service.

To this point, Cook, who called the deal a "no-brainer", articulated that Apple's isn't always concerned with building everything themselves, noting that Apple over the last year has acquired 27 companies.

Could Eddy's team have built a subscription service? Of course. We could've built those 27 other things ourselves, too. You don't build everything yourself. It's not one thing that excites us here. It's the people. It's the service.

Cook subsequently added that buying Beats gives Apple a "head start" on rolling out a subscription service.

The Beats brand will remain intact under the Apple umbrella, and with both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine joining the fray at Apple full time, Cook confidently stated that the two will help Apple take music to new heights.

The most in-depth interview Cook gave was to Re/Code where both he and Jimmy Iovine talked all things music. There, Cook explained that music has always played an integral role in society and culture; and Apple, which views itself standing at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, has long believed that music runs deep in its DNA.

What Beats brings to Apple are guys with very rare skills. People like this aren't born every day. They're very rare. They really get music deeply. So we get infusion in Apple of some great talent.

We get a subscription music service that we believe is the first subscription service that really got it right. They had the insight early on to know how important human curation is. That technology by itself wasn't enough - that it was the marriage of the two that would really be great and produce a feeling in people that we want to produce.

One thing's for sure, Tim Cook is putting his own stamp on Apple.

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