WSJ profile describes Dr. Dre as a perfectionist, compares him to Steve Jobs

By , Jun 7, 2014

XXX CES016.JPG NV

The Wall Street Journal has written a profile on Beats co-founder Dr. Dre titled “Apple’s New Beat: What Steve Jobs and Dr. Dre have in Common.” That headline may sound blasphemous to die-hard Apple fans, but the comparisons they draw are interesting.

Though Jimmy Iovine has done most of the talking since Apple acquired his Beats Electronics last month, Dr. Dre played an equally important role in the company’s success. He’s a workaholic and a perfectionist, with a disdain for deadlines and marketing research…

Here’s more from the Journal’s Hannah Karp:

But behind the scenes, Dr. Dre—whose real name is Andre Young —has quietly played an equally powerful role developing and protecting the Beats brand, eschewing market research for gut instinct at every turn. Though his main obsession is perfecting the sound of the company’s signature high-end headphones, the 49-year-old fitness-obsessed music producer weighs in decisively on everything from TV ads and font styles to the wordiness of descriptions on the Beats Music streaming service.

As one colleague says, Dr. Dre serves as Beats’ “cultural barometer” of what is cool.

Karp says that Dre’s colleagues describe his process as ‘mysterious.’ He makes decisions quickly and articulates his opinions sparely, dismissing ideas such as posing for a clichéd photo as “corny” or “cheesy,” or waving them off with a simple “I’m not feeling that.”

cook cue dre iovine

Iovine explains that his partner’s terse style highlights one of his biggest strengths: knowing what’s cool. The executive says that once you try to describe what cool is, you run the risk of being perpetually non-cool. “The whole premise [of cool] is not to talk about it.”

Now back to the Steve Jobs comparisons:

Dr. Dre’s perfectionist impulse, coupled with his disregard for artificial deadlines, have meant that “he doesn’t put out a lot of material,” despite being a workaholic, said Paul Rosenberg, a lawyer and manager of one of Dr. Dre’s protégés, rapper Eminem. 

That could portend friction at his new employer, Apple, which agreed to buy Beats for $3 billion last month. But like Dr. Dre, Apple has also boasted about not doing market research. The company’s late founder, Steve Jobs, made no secret of his belief that consumers don’t really know what they want until someone else shows it to them. Colleagues predict that at Apple Dr. Dre could also cede some decision-making power and become more accommodating. 

The entire article is really worth a read, as it provides some background on Dre and his work ethic. I think that because of his past, both personally and musically, people question his value in the mega-deal with Apple. This may answer a lot of those questions.

Dr. Dre doesn’t have a formal title at Apple, but he’ll report to Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue on future Beats projects. In fact, the company may have already tipped its hand as to what one of those projects could be, introducing a new Lightning headphone spec at WWDC this week.

  • Share:
  • Follow:
  • omrishtam

    reading the title, LOLs

  • Framboogle

    Seriously? Jobs and Dre are not even in the same universe. This is just disrespectful.

    • Rowan09

      Why not in terms of leadership style?

      • regkilla

        Just stop already.

      • Matt

        Exactly. What I’m thinking

    • Hmmm?

      I only know this universe I exist in and Steve Jobs and Dre both exist within it so what are saying?

      • Framboogle

        You’re an alien

    • 空白

      I don’t get what you mean… But ok…

    • regkilla

      Yeah Steve Jobs was way better than any ghetto person.

      • Rowan09

        This “ghetto” person is richer and smarter than you will ever be. You say Beats is horrible, but it owns 70% of the market.

      • jack

        Can you stop defending this guy at all costs just because he is black like you? You have been answering every single comment of people that don’t agree with this comparison. Jesus, this guy.

      • Rowan09

        I asked a question and if he was white, Asian, or whatever it wouldn’t matter. None of my questions were answered just statements made about it being a bad comparison with absolutely no reason. If you want to keep it real go ahead and say what people really want to say. At least @regKilla expressed somewhat what he or she is thinking. I don’t own a pair of Beats headphones and never will unless it’s free.

      • Matt

        Seriously?!?
        The world needs less people like you

      • Kurt

        @Rowan09 isn’t american but jamaican so him automatically being racist and defending a black guy based on skin color doesnt apply. Ameriacn blacks are nothing like blacks from other countries. Talk to black foriegners about their experiences with American blacks. It’s so unfair to them.

      • Rowan09

        Being a black Jamaican as you stated is different when being compared to a Black American. I didn’t even know about skin tones until I reached America. In Jamaica there are people of many different color, race and shades, but no one really cared. I despise racism or racist comments, it’s just unfair. Comments like he made rap music so he can’t be compared, or any ghetto person can’t be compared to Jobs is just disrespectful. I like Steve Jobs and I like Dr. Dre. I would never say Dre. Is just as important to Jobs in terms of revolutionizing society, but the article is speaking about leadership styles.

      • kiljoy616

        Your right he has created an idea Jobs or not Apple seems to know what its doing and it should be very interesting to see what they do with the brand and ideas. I could care less about his style and more about what ideas does he have and how it will blow our little minds in the long run. Have to wonder if apple will try to bring speakers into the mix in the future.

      • Rowan09

        The guy deserves some credit and for people dismissing him as a fool is offensive. I always say any idea making money is genius and they made $3 billion from it. Either Apple is really dumb or Dre and Lovine actual knows what they are doing.

      • regkilla

        Just because he’s the same as you doesn’t mean you have to see him as a hero.

      • Rowan09

        A hero? Please show me where I said he was? Is Apple paying you?

      • regkilla

        I’m not the one kissing up. I do know that Steve Jobs was better than Dr. Dre though.

      • Rowan09

        Better at what? The comparison is about leadership styles. You are kissing Apple’s ass. I like Apple products but come on man.

      • Sean Clark

        Obviously rap. Jobs put out a mean EP in the 90s.

      • Rowan09

        Lol.

      • regkilla

        Dre had no leadership style. All he did was produce music that promoted violence.

      • Rowan09

        Do you listen to rap or Dr. Dre? How can a producer (if you know what that means) be a billionaire and have no leadership style? He signed the 2 biggest hip hop artists. What type of music do you listen to? A producer is more than a beat maker.

      • regkilla

        Is Dre paying you to kiss his behind?

      • kiljoy616

        Oh the bigot comes out.

  • tarun-verma

    Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks.
    That is Dre’s song.
    Still want to weigh him and Jobs on the same scale?

    • Rowan09

      So the fact that he comes from Compton in a ruff neighborhood means he can’t have similarities in leadership style to Jobs? Dr. Dre signed Eminem and 50 Cent the two biggest hip hop artists of all time.

      • jack

        coming from a “ruff” neighborhood is not excuse for anything

      • CloudSurfin

        but it might explain why one would produce a song entitled B*tches ain’t Sh*t

      • Sean Clark

        It’s easy to say that when you haven’t lived it. If Steve grew up in Compton instead of San Francisco, it’s not likely he’d have gotten where he did.

      • Rowan09

        I’m not making an excuse just stating a fact. He came from a ruff situation like most of us and is now the first billionaire Entertainer. It speaks volumes for his work ethic. I have friends in the music industry and it’s a lot of hard work and dedication.

      • regkilla

        Rowan09 take your ghetto talk elsewhere.

      • Rowan09

        What ghetto talk? Let me guess you’re one of those silver spoon brats huh?

      • kiljoy616

        Or a bigot take your pick. Some people are really riled up about a black Jobs.

      • Rowan09

        I know. I didn’t want to say it but it was obvious. Thank you for saying it for me.

    • Antzboogie

      Most females are and your point is? Dre marketed his brand better then any headphones out here. They have style and its like all these other headphones were a secret because there was no promotion to people as a whole like if your not a DJ or an artist why advertise then to you. Its the truth some of us didn’t know music could sound this good until Beats came. Some of us Just didnt know. Plus sometimes Style is everything no one wants to wear 100 pound headphones lol!! Beats has style.

    • Hotrod

      He’s talking about bitches not ladies and women just bitches and in case you haven’t noticed bitches ain’t nothing but hoes and tricks, like the way you’re acting right now

  • Steve Norris

    This blog is getting better all the time. A very informative piece. I like Dre.

    • Jerry

      Word!

  • http://www.toddbeckerphoto.com Becker

    Why didn’t he perfect the sound coming out of these mediocre overpriced headphones. No self respecting audiophile would ever wear these crap

    • Rupinder S

      Just like how Apple doesn’t completely perfect it’s devices (but still makes a killing off them), Dre is doing the same lol.

      • regkilla

        iPhone 5s and iPad Air are both great. Beats headphones not so much.

      • Kurt

        iPad air is good not great

      • Antzboogie

        At least they dont lie on their bench marks cough cough.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Because you can’t please everyone. If Beats catered for audiophiles then ordinary people (by which I mean people that aren’t audiophiles, I’m not trying to say audiophiles aren’t normal people) might not be interested in the headphones and vice versa. You can’t please everyone but you can try to please 50% audiophiles and 50% non-audiophiles. Beats might not be there yet but they’ll get better each and every single day…

      • kiljoy616

        We are not normal people, if you ever been around real Audiophiles we are far from normal when it comes to music. OCD comes to mind. Plus we can get all worked up over which brand is more natural or better represented in its raw form.

      • Antzboogie

        Agreed well said.

    • Jake1047s

      I am an audiophile and beats are nice headphones, I am a producer and a DJ and I know many DJ’s and producers who also use beats. Many very famous and many very talented artists use beats. Sure not every pair of beats are the greatest, the old Solos and Studios for example, but every time they release a new style of headphones or update their new ones they become a lot better. I use Beat Executives, Pros and Mixrs and they are all very well build and they all sound very good. There are other headphones that are equally good and even better and they are priced that way. The price that beats are, are prices that fit the product. Not only are you getting a nice sound but you are getting good quality and very good customer support

      • Antzboogie

        The customer support is above average they replaced mine without a problem. No huge wait time or anything. Plus I got to speak to a human being.

      • Jake1047s

        Yeah I’ve been in that boat and it’s very fast to get them replaced, a few minutes on the phone and a few days shipping time

      • Rowan09

        Thank you. I have friends who are producers and a lot of studios use Beats headphones as you stated.

    • regkilla

      He knew sheep would buy his headphones regardless the price to fit in.

    • kiljoy616

      That is why he did not as an Audiophile myself we are a joke with our need for perfections. Its OCD but expensive OCD. His product is good, good enough for 90% of the population and that is where the big money is, not a few percentile points of perfectionist. For us we have other places to seek out our drug of choice.

      My favorite are Sennheiser brand headphones but who am I kidding I am the only one that I know that has a pair no one is going to drop 1500 dollars for a pair of headphones. I am sure you have your own brand of perfection.

  • NaSty

    Still waitin on that Detox

    • Rowan09

      Won’t happen. Lol

  • GambitGamer

    I’m not a gigantic Jobs fan, but don’t even try to compare him.

    • Rowan09

      Why?

      • regkilla

        Go off Dr. Dre’s sack.

      • Rowan09

        Never been and never will be. It’s obvious you are being a bigot. People that grow up in the “hood” are not all uneducated and when given a chance excel as proven over and over again. Instead of trying to give an educated reason for why the comparison is bad you make this statement. Dude get off my sack, it’s only for my woman. Thank you.

      • Joseiscoollike

        Stop making this about race. This isn’t about race. Comparing Dr. Dre and Steve Jobs is like comparing One Direction to The Beatles.

      • Rowan09

        I didn’t make it about race, read the comments and you can see the tone of the responses. If One Direction sold as many records and started a music revolution then there would be a comparison. The issue here is about leadership style and both Jobs and Dre being ultimate perfectionists and workhorses.

  • jack

    fail comparison

    • Antzboogie

      You fail at the English language.

  • Okhoo

    Dr. Dre is definitely a perfectionist. Why do you think he only releases an album every few years? Cus he spends time perfecting them. And not just his album but Eminem and 50’s.

  • https://twitter.com/onesimpleclik onesimpleclik

    Steve Jobs would have never bought Beats. Period.

    • Franklin Richards

      If he were still here. Apple may have already had a working music streaming service (globally)… Still waiting for iTunes Radio to actually hit the UK.

      • kiljoy616

        Don’t think so, Steve was a stickler for control also not just perfection. I would say he would actually take even more time. Apple is not the same without Jobs but then some of the cool stuff that 10.10 and iOS 8 are coming out with would not happen with Jobs around.

  • I Didn’t Do It

    Since 99% of you don’t listen to hip hop, Dre is known as the number perfectionist in it. Hence why his album was announced in 2001 and still isn’t out yet.

  • Eddiepradom

    Dr. Dre may be a good leader but he hasn’t changed the world

  • Gersham Shams

    Wow!! Guess you guys finally finished blabbering.. can’t a dog be similar to a cat? can’t a girl be similar to a boy? can’t iOS be similar to Android? can’t a printer be similar to a computer?
    It’s all about CONTEXT people; and, context is obscured by difference in perspective.
    I say that to say, in the context they are quite similar; overall, Jobs is in a different league. Dre’s beats would never register.
    As it relates to perspective, Dre, being from a ghetto, becoming a billionaire is a phenomenal achievement. SOMEONE THAT HAS NOT LIVED IN A GHETTO WILL NEVER COMPREHEND THE EFFORT IT TAKES TO BE A “SOMEBODY” STEMMING FROM THAT ENVIRONMENT, IT’S A JUNGLE IN EVERY SENSE.

    • 空白

      My favorite comment so far.

    • Rowan09

      People who never walked the streets of the ghetto or lived near the ghetto would never understand as you stated. The sad part is that minorities are the ones that purchases about 80-90% of everything in this country.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Clickbait from wsj.

  • eminem10

    Steve jobs dropped acid