While neither Apple nor Beats Electronics have confirmed the reported $3.2 billion deal between the two companies, one person close to the situation seems to have solidified the buyout news.
A new video posted Friday shows Beats founder Dr. Dre in the studio with friend and actor/singer Tyrese, celebrating Dre’s claim that he’s the first billionaire in hip-hop.
“It’s not often you get to listen to Beats with Mr. Beats himself,” says Tyrese in the video above, with a smiling Dre acting as hypeman beside him. “Billionaire boys club for real. The Forbes list just changed. It came out like two weeks ago. They need to update the Forbes list. Shit just changed.”
“In a big way,” adds Dre. “Understand that. The first billionaire in hip-hop. Right here from the motherfuckin’ West Coast.” Cue manic celebration and Tyrese’s video-selfie dance.
Dre is currently ranked Number Two on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest hip-hop artists of 2014, with an estimated net worth of $550 million. Puff Daddy holds the top spot with a net worth of $700 million. Along with Jimmy Iovine, Dre is the majority owner of Beats Electronics. While it is not publicly known how big his stake in the company is, Forbes estimates it at between 20 and 25 percent and bumping Dre’s net worth up to $800 million.
Although Beats is the best-selling headphones maker, the company’s launch of Beats Music in January could be even more attractive to Apple. The subscription service, which charges a $10 monthly fee and competes with Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio and Deezer, would give Apple a powerful foothold in a part of the music industry that is slowly becoming dominant. Sales of both albums and tracks have plunged over the past two years— including those sold via iTunes, the top music retailer — while on-demand subscription services continue grow.