Dr. Dre Sells Beats Brand to Apple for $3 Billion – Hip-Hop’s Biggest Milestones in Music History
For Black History Month this year, Rémy Martin teams up with XXL to celebrate 10 important moments in hip-hop history. Through the years, Rémy Martin has created a synonymous relationship between cognac and music culture by representing celebration and entertainment seamlessly. In honor of hip-hop’s nearly 50-year existence, host DJ Suss One, XXL Awards Board members Kendell "Sav" Freeman, Vice President/Co-Head of Urban Music at Arista Records; Sydney Margetson, Senior Vice President of Publicity at Atlantic Records; and Traci Adams, Executive Vice President of Promotion at Epic Records, revisit Dr. Dre selling his Beats brand to Apple Music for $3 million in 2014, as a monumental milestone in the genre.
When Dr. Dre and veteran music exec Jimmy Iovine started Beats Electronics in 2006, and began selling $300 headphones, some people were calling them crazy. Nearly a decade later, the legendary West Coast producer turned that business decision into a multibillion-dollar flip by selling the company to Apple. After establishing Beats as the premiere headphones in the game over the course of eight years, rumors began to swirl about tech giant Apple’s 10-figure acquisition of the company in May 14, 2014. Dre even teased the move in a premature Instagram video. On May 28, 2014, the deal was made official. The mega Beats buyout included $2.6 billion in cash and about $400 million in stock, making Dre the wealthiest hip-hop artist in the world. Dre and Iovine also joined the Apple executive team as part of the deal.
There was also talk that the deal had made Dr. Dre hip-hop’s first billionaire after he reportedly personally made around $400 million during the sale. However, that distinction would be officially given to Jay-Z in 2019. Nevertheless, Dre’s power move is seen as one of the biggest deals in hip-hop history.
“It’s not just good for the company; it’s good for the culture,” Will.i.am told Fortune in 2014. The Black Eyed Peas member received a multimillion-dollar payout for his early stake in the company during the transaction. “You have to look at it like ... kids in inner cities not only dream about being athletes and musicians, but now entrepreneurs, and bringers of new, disruptive, cool lifestyle products. A whole new spirit just popped from this one announcement.”
Important milestones in hip-hop like this deserve recognition for years to come. As part of Black History Month, Rémy Martin and XXL will be making a donation to Black Music Action Coalition, an advocacy organization that was formed to addresses systemic racism within the music industry and reaches racial justice throughout society at large. Rémy Martin and XXL will match every additional dollar donated to BMAC during Black History Month.*
Watch DJ Suss One, Kendell "Sav" Freeman, Sydney Margetson and Traci Adams discuss Dr. Dre's big payday with Beats below.
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*Rémy Martin to match donations up to $50K, XXL to match donations up to $10K.