A video posted to YouTube on the HipHop Loops channel appears to confirm a rumor that Apple is set to buy Beats for some US$3.2 billion. The video was filmed by rapper and actor Tyrese Gibson and features Dr. Dre claiming to be the first billionaire in hip hop.
The Financial Times of London reported on Thursday that Apple was close to a deal to acquire Beats, a company founded by Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine. Beats' main product is Beats by Dre, a popular line of headphones. The company also as a streaming music service called Beats Music.
Neither Apple nor Beats has officially commented on the acquisition rumor, but the video (below the fold) appears to have been shot amidst a celebratory party in the wake of that rumor. The immediate conclusion reached by many in the press is that it is a confirmation from Dr. Dre of the deal.
Some contextual notes: Jay-Z has heretofore been viewed as one of the most successful people in hip hop. His musical empire is enormous, and Forbes estimated his 2014 net worth at $520 million. Beating him in net worth is Sean "Diddy" Combs, valued at $700 million thanks to Revolt TV, a recent venture.
Jay-Z and Diddy are from the East Coast hip hop scene, and there has long been an intense rivalry between East Coast and West Coast rappers. That's why you can hear multiple references in the video to Dr. Dre not only being the first billionaire in hip hop, but that it was a West Coaster who did it.
That is, of course, assuming that this deal is happening. I said on Thursday that I wasn't buying the rumor, and I still don't. I don't see the value of Beats to Apple, especially at that price.
My doubts aside, Dr. Dre seems confident that he's about to be a billionaire, and the sell of Beats to someone with deep pockets would certainly achieve that.
Note that the video contains profanity and is not safe for work.