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Andy Ihnatko: Apple bought Beats for one reason

In this image provided by Apple from left right music entrepreneur Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine Apple CEO Tim Cook Beats

In this image provided by Apple, from left to right, music entrepreneur and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre, and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue pose together at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Apple is striking a new chord with a $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics, a headphone and music streaming specialist that also brings the swagger of rapper Dr. Dre and recording impresario Jimmy Iovine. The announcement on Wednesday comes nearly three weeks after deal negotiations were leaked to the media. (AP Photo/Apple, Paul Sakuma)

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Updated: May 30, 2014 6:58PM

Apple’s purchase of Beats went down almost exactly as the out-of-the-blue reportage predicted it would a few weeks ago. Three billion bucks, give or take, and now Apple owns it all.

Beats’ two most public faces, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, will join Apple as high-level executives. I’ve read that Dre will continue to produce records on the side. But Iovine is stepping down as the head of Interscope Records and walking away from a profoundly successful and influential 25-year career in the business.

That detail is the key to understanding why Apple was so pleased to write the biggest check the company has ever cut. It’s a most welcome piece of data. I wasn’t alone in wondering just what Beats could offer a company like Apple that would be worth $3 billion.


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