Dr. Dre and $400 headphones


Seems that the record biz is hitting on hard times. At the Consumer Electronics Showcase, Dr. Dre, arguably hip-hop’s most important producer and Jimmy Iovine, one of the befuddled executives who couldn’t foresee the future of music seven years ago, announced a joint venture for high end headphones. The headphones, aptly named Beats by Dr. Dre, will set you back a cushy $400.

Which means they better have very deep bass and outstanding acoustics.

Dre has his first album since 2001 (and, he says, his final one) due in June, but he and Iovine were in Vegas to promote a different summer release: Beats by Dre.

That’s the name of the new $400, high-performance and (no surprise) bass-intensive headphones co-designed by the rapper-producer.

The headphones are more than a lark: Dre and Iovine have plans for an entire line of home and car audio electronics based on both Dre’s celebrity and his perfectionist reputation, a branding plan that would make him a sort of Martha Stewart of the subwoofer set.

I don’t think I’d ever live to see the day, when the genius behind “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” was compared to Stepford Wife Martha Stewart.

In a weird way, on some bizarre level, this all makes sense. The Doctah is a perfectionist when it comes to sound and beats and maybe he figures branding highend headphones and stereo equipment is the right business venture. Still. That’s a hard market to crack.

Unlike other rap superstars, he has focused his entire career on music and resisted offers to put out sneakers, booze or clothes with his name on them.

“I’m not into clothes or any of that. This feels organic, and it feels exciting for me.”

“In 10 years, I want to look back and remember this moment, when it was just headphones, because it’s going to include speakers and surround-sound systems, car systems, everything,” said Dre, 42.

The real important news to take away from this article? Dretox is supposedly coming out in June. Seriously. His album was starting to become the hip-hop Chinese Democracy (though if you look hard enough it’s out there on the intertubes).

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