Just hours after the biggest deal in Apple’s history, two of the key players in the $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music took to a conference stage to say the deal took a decade to happen, and then virtually no time at all. “I asked them every day for 10 years,” said Jimmy Iovine, the long-time Universal Records executive who co-founded Beats with rap super-producer Dr. Dre. “These guys are not easy to get to. They make deals like they make products,” as he made a wringing motion with his hands.
Iovine and Apple Sr. Vice President of Internet Software and Services were on stage at the Code Conference in Palos Verdes, CA, this evening just hours after the much-rumored deal was finally announced, bringing the maker of hugely popular (and frequently-criticized) headphones and portable speakers and a budding but still small music streaming service to the tech giant for $3 billion.
The Financial Times says it is, in what the paper calls “a radical departure” for Apple, which has eschewed splashy acquisitions. The deal still isn’t done, but talks are far enough along to have determined that the company founded by music exec Jimmy Iovine and performer-producer Dr. Dre will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, FT says. Less than two years ago, private equity firm the Carlyle Group invested $500M in Beats for a minority stake that valued the company at more than $1B and took two of the six board seats. Last month, Billboard reported that Beats’ streaming service, which launched in January, “has been a disappointment” with paid subscriptions in the low-six figures and “soon will face competition on the mobile platform when Sprint begins bundling Spotify with its ‘Framily’ plans.”
The 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival gave two juried awards: the Narrative Award recognizes the finest narrative film in competition at the festival and went to Stéphane Lafleur for the North American premiere of Familiar Ground, while the Documentary Award recognizes the finest documentary film in competition and went to Beverly Kopf and Bobbie Birleffi for the world premiere of Wish Me Away. Each carries an unrestricted $15,000 cash prize funded by Film Independent for the winning film’s director to pursue their artistic ambitions. The award for Best Performance in the Narrative Competition went to Amber Sealey, Kent Osborne, Amanda Street and Gabriel Diamond for their performances in Amber Sealey’s How to Cheat.
Sony Pictures Classics closed a deal for domestic rights to Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest. The film was in the documentary competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. It marks the feature directorial debut of actor Michael Rapaport and documents the progression of the seminal alternative hip-hop group. A Tribe Called Quest released three platinum albums – Midnight Marauders, The Low End Theory and Beats, Rhymes & Life — but its members went through a tumultuous breakup 1998. The film covers their attempt to reunite and capture their old magic. Rival Pictures and State Street Pictures produced the film. Paradigm reps Rapaport, and the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group brokered the deal. Rapaport is developing a cable TV series version of The White Shadow with producer John Davis.
“Michael Rapaport proves himself a major new director and in doing so gives the audience an inside look at one of hip-hop’s most fascinating and influential groups,” SPC partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard said in a statement. “A Tribe Called Quest has a fan base spanning generations, and this film will only serve to solidify that audience while opening doors for entirely new fans of both the band and Michael.”
Said Rapaport: “As a first-time filmmaker, to have the support of SPC is like being signed by the New York Yankees. Telling this story was not only a …