It would seem that Beats Electronics is doing just fine after its divorce with audio giant Monster (formerly Monster Cable) as it is apparently set to buy Internet streaming music service, MOG. According to Peter Kafka at AllThingsD, multiple, unnamed sources close to the transaction say it’s almost a done deal.
Beats Electronics got started a little over three years ago when hip-hop musician and producer Dr. Dre partnered up with record mogul Jimmy Lovine. The company now makes the wildly popular Beats by Dr. Dre headphone line, along with several other celebrity-endorsed headphone models. Beats’ business continued to grow when, in October 2009, it inked a deal that put its speakers into some premium HP laptops. Then, just this past summer, cell phone maker HTC laid down about $300 million for a majority stake in Beats. Wouldn’t you know it, Beats Audio started popping up in some of HTC’s newest phones.
Many, including us, speculated that HTC/Beats were preparing a streaming music service to take on the juggernaut that has been Spotify. It would seem that, rather than build one from the ground up, the team would rather scoop up the floundering MOG.
MOG is a lot like Pandora and Spotify, only a whole lot less popular. The company started out as an ad network in 2005, which it later layered a streaming music service on top of in 2009. Since then, it hasn’t managed to get a real foothold on the market. What it does have, however, are a ton of deals with record companies and an existing infrastructure with experience in ad networking. Sure, Lovine could probably manage to deal with the record labels in building his own service, but why go through the hassle if he doesn’t have to? Acquiring MOG sounds a whole lot easier.
It doesn’t take a wizard to figure out that HTC will likely want to transform the service into something along the same lines as Cricket’s Muve music service, but what else the company has in store isn’t clear. We think a face-lift and a name change might be a good place to start. Perhaps the bigger question is: Can Beats/HTC turn MOG into a streaming music service that doesn’t bleed money?