While the super-popular “Beats by Dre” headphones struck gold with a $3 billion deal with Apple earlier this year, it looks like their luck has run out. The NFL recently decided to ban Beats by Dre in view of cameras, on the heels of a recent deal with competitor Bose. What could this deal and subsequent ban mean for the music industry and for consumers?
Higher Sales for Bose?
Previously, Bose accounted for a mere one-fifth of high-end headphone sales, whereas Beats by Dre accounted for more than three-fifths. Richard Sherman, Seahawk and recent Superbowl Champion, even starred in a Beats by Dre commercial – a choice that today would result in severe NFL punishment and fines. Being thrust into the limelight will surely result in better sales than ever before for Bose, although it’s difficult to foresee whether sales for Apple’s proprietary headphones will coast or sink.
The NFL is Team Windows
The ban on Beats follows an earlier NFL ban on iPads (and other non-Microsoft tablets) on the sidelines; only Surface Pros are now approved for use. Why the NFL is so anti-Apple is not immediately clear; however, it does make things more difficult on the players, who may already own and use the banned products, and could face stiff penalties if caught doing so.
There are additional repercussions for those who listen to music via those ever-popular gadgets, smartphones. According to Cheap Phones, it’s going to be rather difficult to acquire the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at an affordable rate; consumers will understandably be searching for other ways to save. The free subscription to iTunes Radio music streaming that accompanies the purchase of Beats by Dre will look ever more appealing, but sales may be stymied by the sudden disappearance of Beats in the public eye.
Apple’s long-standing reputation as the provider of mobile music for the world – the iPod being the most iconic mp3 player in history – stands to be challenged by this decision. While there should be no difficulty in using Bose headphones on an Apple device, it’s possible that the added perks Beats afford to those who utilize the power of the Mac could add an interesting element to the new war emerging between football and music.
Obviously, the NFL’s decision to ban the headphones in view of cameras for players won’t affect their fans’ ability to purchase and use Beats. But it does bring up the question: how influential are sports players on the buying decisions of their fan base? There are many statistical considerations, of course, but it stands to reason that a consumer who identifies as an NFL fan also spends a significant amount of time listening to music. Time will tell exactly what the consequences of this momentous merger could be, but in the meantime, the average Joe will continue to happily listen to their tunes on whichever headphone system they already own. The same can’t be said for Richard Sherman and friends, however.