Noel Lee, CEO of Monster - the company that was integral in launching the Beats by Dre brand - has said the $3 billion that Apple paid for Beats was "a steal", and he expects Apple and Beats to "change the game once again".

Lee, speaking to What Hi-Fi?, said his time working with Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre was one of the proudest moments in his life - and that he sees the Apple Beats deal as the start of the next stage after the launch of the Beats by Dre headphones.

"Why would Apple pay $3 billion for Beats? To me, I think Apple got the steal of the century.  My guess is they're changing the game once again," said Lee (pictured above, right).

"Apple has never made this sort of move before, buying a company like this. iTunes Radio has not been a success, iTunes is going down - people have more songs than they have memory - you need another solution. Streaming could be the answer.

While the lion's share of the coverage around Beats by Dre has focused on the company's headphones, Lee sees the launch of the Beats Music streaming service in the US as just as crucial a piece of the pie. And one that means the Apple ecosystem now covers a wider range of products and services.

"It's hard to monetize on the content side," said Lee. "No streaming music site has ever made money. “Beats wasn't making money... We were Beats, we knew what they were making. There's no way you can be making money and spending that amount on marketing. So they need the hardware. Apple has all the elements now."

More after the break

Apple streaming

An iTunes streaming service has long been rumoured, and as download sales drop as streaming services increase in popularity, it seems an obvious market for Apple to have a hand in  - as it now does with Beats.

While Apple and U2's partnership to giveaway the band's new album - revealed at the iPhone 6 launch event - was mainly centred around iTunes, and subsequent negative publicity, the album is also available on Beats Music as a streaming exclusive. 

On top of Beats headphones and Beats Music, Lee also made it clear he believes Apple is buying 'cool'. "They [Apple] can incorporate the Beats cool factor in to an Apple uncool factor."

• Noel Lee was speaking to What Hi-Fi? following the launch of the Monster SoundStage multi-room audio system, which aims to take on systems such as Sonos alongside a whole host of new multi-room wireless products.

Part 2: Monster CEO talks high-res audio, cable sceptics and the infamous 'Beats sound'


MORE: Multi-room audio - everything you need to know



Michael Wilson's picture

What does fashion news (beats

What does fashion news (beats) have to do with HiFi?

Tim Baber's picture

Beats headphones bass overdone

Perhaps hi fi enthusiasts should google monarch programming (mind control) and the prolifereation of bass headphones to better screw with our minds. Seriously. monarchprogramming(dot)com is my research on this if only because I have a news clipping about Beats headphones which makes me the hero of HiFi.  Way too much bass said surprised audio engineers. Rock Music "they" say. Well, you say beats are good, I say you are buying into a shill experience that might even do you irreperable harm, if the Greenbaum Speech is true. Me? see me at :  I prefer a safe choice if I were to use them...a pair of (Silent-[Morse] Key) Yaesu YH-77 (St).  very nice amateur radio cans designed for the spoken voice. The previous owner died and his widow by tradition sought to disperse his kit amongst his friends. I have a couple of Sennheiser infra red headphones but like bluetooth and so on I wonder what sort of compression is going on that I should care so much? Yet rather as I am now in my retirement living alone on an island I don't use them nearly enough to be an expert, so I should not really comment other than to point out Apple should know better? And that what I found out: namely monarchprogramming, now the NSA Psyops thing called the Extreme Process....does use sound and anything that works to infiltrate your mind. You see...HiFi is full of choices and chances to do well or do badly...we need to know and be reminded when sound engineers call out "fake" or "foul" or just "get me away from those things as fast as possible". Can someone comment on this comment to sort out my mind?

triffid's picture

Pay only for substance over style in audio.

The music is the message; the medium is not.