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'Intentional' culture clash between Apple, Beats causes friction, aims to 'create something groundbreaking'

The $3 billion acquisition of Beats sparked a culture clash between the headphone maker and Apple, but the conflict was apparently an intentional attempt to shake things up in Apple's music business, according to a new report.




Beats's way of doing business apparently did not sit well with some on Apple's team, according to sources who spoke with Bloomberg. For example, Beats executive Jimmy Iovine has been known to carry out his own negotiations with artists and labels, sometimes unbeknownst to other people at Apple.

After the acquisition, Beats employees were also caught off-guard by what is said to be a "laborious approval process" for new products. Apple is said to be focused on quality, while Beats employees reportedly see the process as "unnecessarily bureaucratic."

Those conflicts were said to have led to a series of key departures, most notably Beats executive Ian Rogers, who left last August to pursue other ventures outside of the streaming music business. Rogers left just two months after the launch of Beats 1 radio, a project he spearheaded the development of.


Photo via Paul Stamatiou.


Though the losses of key personnel were seen as problematic, one Apple executive said the clash between the Beats and Apple teams was "intentional," with the intent to have people from different backgrounds come together "to create something groundbreaking," according to Bloomberg.

Whatever they managed to build together is expected to be unveiled at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple Music will reportedly receive a more intuitive user interface, an expanded streaming radio service, and a "marketing blitz" to promote the changes. It's said that Apple is hoping a shakeup for its $10-per-month, one-year-old streaming service will help draw in more subscribers.

Apple acquired Beats Electronics for $3 billion in May of 2014. Though Beats was mostly known as a fashionable headphone maker, the company's Beats Music streaming service was a key part of the purchase.