For more than a decade, fans and critics have been pining for Dr. Dre's notoriously long-delayed album Detox. But there's a good reason that the legendary producer hasn't felt the need to ship his next record, at least financially speaking: Beats is booming, and probably keeping him too busy.
Dre and Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine founded the company, known as Beats Electronics, in 2006, and since then its products have become ubiquitous in the high-end audio market. Spurred by solid design and branding, interminable celebrity endorsements, and a portfolio of products that includes both headphones and speakers, Beats has rocketed in popularity in recent years. Only last week, the company introduced a redesign of its original Studio headphones. Now, a knowledgeable source tells Fast Company that Beats Electronics is on track to do roughly $1.4 billion in revenue this year, though that number could range as high as $1.5 billion.
The revenue figure suggests that Beats continues to dominate the headphone market. According to the source, the company has sold around 15 to 20 million units to date, including headphones and speakers. Beats Electronics declined to comment on the figures, saying that as a private company, it doesn't share such numbers. But it did point to NPD data that shows Beats is leading the $100-plus headphone industry in the U.S. with more than a 60% market share.
At last count in 2011, the company was said to have expected $350 million in revenue. If the above figures are correct, this would mean Beats Electronics' sales are on track to roughly quadruple since that time.
It's a strong sign of continued growth, given how much change the company has seen in recent years, outside of increased competition. Not only did Beats Electronics split with Monster Cable, its longtime production partner, but it also bought back half of the shares it sold to HTC, which purchased 50.1% of Beats Electronics in 2011. "We're independent now, as a consumer electronics company and a manufacturing company," Beats president Luke Wood said in a recent interview.
Since then, the company has reintroduced its Studio headphones and launched a Pill line of speakers. It also acquired MOG, spinning the music service out as "project Daisy," and has integrated its brand with a slew of audio products, including those inside laptops, phones, and cars.