Esquire (Singapore) - - Feature -

as we were get­ting ready to launch, the ru­mours of Ap­ple buy­ing Beats came out,” Levine says. “I can’t tell you how many peo­ple I had reach­ing out to me say­ing ‘Are you okay? This can’t be good for you.’ For 24 hours I was a bit un­nerved be­cause it was big, big news. But then I re­alised Beats was not our core com­pe­ti­tion. It was re­ally the other com­pa­nies.

“I lit­er­ally think the best thing that hap­pened to us was Ap­ple buy­ing Beats. Any­time there are one or two brands that dom­i­nate a cat­e­gory, that’s eas­ier to com­pete in, rather than ev­ery­thing be­ing flat. If 20 peo­ple have five per cent of the mar­ket, it’s hard to dif­fer­en­ti­ate and fig­ure out how you’re go­ing to grab a few per­cent­ages. But when one or two play­ers have 50 or 60, or what­ever the num­bers are, I think it’s eas­ier. If it wasn’t for Beats I wouldn’t have en­tered the cat­e­gory, be­cause it shows you can com­pete with some­thing new. Pretty much ev­ery com­pany that tried to be­come ‘the next Beats’ by com­pet­ing with Beats doesn’t ex­ist be­cause peo­ple say, ‘Why would I want that copy of Beats, when I can go and buy the real Beats and feel good about it?’”

Still, I sug­gest, it can’t have been the eas­i­est mar­ket to go into. It’s not like the world was cry­ing out for an­other head­phone brand.

“It’s funny,” he says. “Be­fore we launched, friends and fam­ily would ask what I was up to. Ev­ery­body, even eight months af­ter we

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