Beats Headphones Success Cost Dr. Dre a Smooth $25 million

By Denise Garcia

  • Dr. Dre and Jimmy Lovine to pay $25.2 million to Beats ideator
  • Apple bought the headphones company for $3 billion in 2014

The creative’s plight to get paid fairly is ongoing, at least for Steven Lamar that ends now. He proved in a court of law that he is the ideator of Beats by Dre headphones, forcing music moguls and long-time collaborators Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, to pay up $25.2 million.

Why This Matters: Lamar’s win is significant for the horde of creators whose work is miscredited and often unpaid by those who’ve leveraged it into a profitable business. Case in point, Dre’s team was able to sell Beats headphones to Apple (AAPL +1.12%) for a clean $3 billion four years ago. Separately, Apple was not named in the lawsuit.

Historically this phenomenon hasn’t eluded black creatives. For instance, the Kardashian-Jenner family is constantly under fire for stealing the works of black people. Last June, Kylie Jenner was scrutinized for her camo fashion line, after ordering several samples from PluggedNYC designer Tizita Balemlay.

"At the end of the day money equals power and the Kardashians have that power. This is a prime example," Balemlay said in an interview with BuzzFeed. "I don't have the buzz she does or the money for billboards."

Situational Awareness: More brands want to plug into the headphones table, as the earphones and headphones market is expected break the $20 billion mark by 2023. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the players who want in. The actor released sweat-proof, workout headphones powered by JBL and sold by Under Armour Thursday. The gadgets already sold out, similar to his Project Rock 1 Under Armour sneakers, which sold out in 30 minutes early June.

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