c/o hyperbeast.com

c/o hyperbeast.com

Luke Wood ’91, President of Beats by Dr. Dre, believes that putting yourself out there is the only way to the top.

Speaking to an audience of prospective students in the Gordon Career Center on Thursday, Wood discussed his time at the University, his career path to Beats, and what it’s like to work in the music industry today. The talk was sponsored by the Career Center as a part of WesFest.           

Wood always surrounded himself with music growing up. He taught himself guitar at the mere age of twelve, played in several bands, and even curated his own music. So, by the time he arrived at the University in 1987, he had already recognized that his calling would be in the music industry.

“My second day at Wesleyan, I borrowed a car from somebody at Butterfields—[whom] I’d never met—because I just needed to go see Sonic Youth in Providence,” said Wood. “I ran over a stop sign on the way because I was going so fast.”

Booking music performances in the space that formerly housed the Eclectic Society, and playing music across campus, Wood considered himself “one of those punk rock kids” who found comfort in numbers. But his most influential moment at the University came in a class called “Baseball and Metaphysics,” where he realized that he could learn in any environment.

“It was really the beginning of understanding that you can try to find joy and passion in learning,” Wood said. “I quickly became very passionate about the academic work I was doing because I could finally learn about music and study music, but do it through a cultural lens.”

Wood also pursued his professional life during his time at Wesleyan. During a semester off, Wood interned at A&M Records, worked as a publicist during his junior year, and was a temp at Geffen Records the summer going into senior year.

The day after he graduated, Wood was hired immediately by Geffen Records. He initially focused on indie rock, first signing artists like Elliot Smith, but then eventually gravitated towards aggressive and “emo” music, signing bands like The All-American Rejects and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

“Those of you who have brothers or sisters that went to Hot Topic—that was my zone,” Wood said.

But once Napster came along, the record industry nearly collapsed, and Wood left to work for music producer Jimmy Iovine, who co-founded Interscope Records. They both were frustrated with the dying music industry, and wanted to recreate the sound that connected them to their passion. And that’s where Beats began.

“One day, Jimmy got really pissed off and said ‘fuck it, I want something I can control, I can build, and not ask for anyone’s permission,’” Wood said. “And then three months later, he said, ‘I was just on the beach with Dre this morning. We’re going to build headphones.’ And I said, ‘you’re crazy.’”

In 2008, they came out with Beats. As the CEO and one of eleven employees, Wood dove into the technology side of the business, becoming proficient in the intricacies of headphone designing, building, and team collaboration. He also described how committed Beats became in terms of diversity, gathering workers from all different walks of life.

“We worked really hard at building the company, but my primary focus was two things,” Wood said. “Number one, most importantly, was the people we hired. I wanted people from everywhere. I wanted people in LA who grew up in Dubai, who grew up in Malaysia, who grew up in Belgium. I not only wanted people who spoke two or three languages, but who spent time in all different places.”

The second most significant aspect of building Beats was focused on how they treated the product: like every headphone is its own band.

“We looked at [the headphones] like we’re marketing a thing—not a package, not a product, but an idea,” Wood said. “Everything we did was about emotional storytelling.”

In August 2014, Beats was sold to Apple for $3 billion. By that point, Iovine and Wood went their separate ways because they had also started a music subscription business, Beats Music. Wood took over Beats Electronics and Iovine oversaw Beats Music. Wood has run Beats Electronics ever since.

“We’re a really successful brand that just continues to grow,” Wood said.

The talk concluded with a Q&A with the audience, where Wood discussed what it’s like working with Dre, how he markets products, and the most successful ways to enter the industry. He left the audience with career advice.

“Just be aggressive.” Wood said. “Know what you want and do what you have a passion for.”

  • Wellington Cousins

    …….Beats by Dre is TOLD to (andre) Dr. Dre in 1990 1991 because of Dee Dee Barnes and Eric Wright…as we mentored Dr. Dre….when TOLD “In the Future the Way He Sound In the Studio was to beThe Car The Phone and the Sony Walkman” Dr Dre Yelled Out GoTTTDuhaymmnnnn!!! Dr. Dre left (eric Eazy E) and was happy to have his own thing called Def Row….he later left that as well and became Aftermath. …our Interscope Records worker got us entry into N.B.C. New York as Dr. Dre sang “Been There Done That” ….it is here that Jimmy Iovene was introduced by us and TOLD…..ALL has been a LIE ever since. ..ALL of it…Dr. Dre was AMALGAMATED with….and his Owner Jimmy Iovene TOLD in his presence as standing beside (Dr Dre) backstage there at N.B.C. New York Saturday Night Live …they got to it in a manner to Disclude us……and included their hired Designers and LIAR Interscope Singers and Rappers…(for example) …an “S.M.S.Audio Company” paid Beats Electronics 2.5 Million for the 50 cent (Curtis Jackson) Headphone Line and later SUED 50 cent (Curtis Jackson) for “Fraud” …as 50cent (Curtis Jacskson) toured interviewing and speaking the premise of “The Way we Sound in the Studio” and “Noise Cancellation” for which Beats by Dre were SUED by the BOSE Corporation (and silently absorbed all Damages and costs) …”Noise Cancellation” was provided separately by both Steven Lamar and Noel Lee (as both plead it as their contribution) as BOTH followed “A Master Backstory Script” …in 1990 1991 Dr Dre Andre Young was not told “Noise Cancellation” as it was not necessary …….rapper “Will i Am” (of Black Eyed Peas) is another LIAR and Interscope Records worker ….allowed to say “I told Jimmy iovene the word Hardware” …..aaah ha ha ha !!!! …Beats by Dre is a Corporate Conspiracy of Grand proportion……we speak to ALL attorney Counsel in this Conspiracy daily….thank you N.W.A. Dr. Dre……..and Jimmy Iovene …WATCH Jimmy Iovene LIE to Steve Stoute at “Steve Stoute Jimmy Iovene pt. 3” (you tube) and Will I Am also Lie to Steve Stoute on “Steve Stoute Will i am pt. 3” (you tube) and Watch Dr. Dre LIE to Ice T on that Documentary filmed at 6191 Oriole dr…….Dr Dre and Jimmy iovene are (2) LIARS. Noel Lee Monster is a LIAR and Steven Lamar (fired from Heinrichs Pentagram) …..Under Penalty of Perjury Lible and Slander

  • Wellington Cousins

    ….with “Streaming”? …Jimmy iovene is ONLY attempting to sell “Licensed” MIX TAPE to CD ….. (as Interscope Records would mail to persons “BEFORE RADIO” for “Street Promotion” unreleased Records Songs and Movie Sountracks ….Jimmy iovene and Andre Young (Dr Dre) are (2) LIARS and NEITHER are the Creator of “Beats by Dre” ….nor their (3rd LIAR) Luke Wood nor the LIAR Design Workers Henrichs Pentagram Steven Lamar Paul Wachter, Brunner to Noel Lee (all of whom were PAID for their participating LIES as agreed to ……The “Royalty and Settlement” agreements and the FAKE Declaratory Relief Action of 2007….they ALL use as a “New Day One” foundation ………The TRUE STORY of “Beats by Dre” is as follows …..Under Penalty of Perjury Libel and or Slander ………

  • Wellington Cousins

    …Luke Wood Luke Wood is ONLY a participating LIAR whom MUST follow the “Backstory Script” of the derivation of “Beats by Dre” (as known and ONLY presented to him) whom has arrived involved in what was TOLD to BOTH (dr dre) in 1990 1991 and to jimmy iovene backstage at Saturday Nigjt Live …Our “Interscope” worker worked for “Geffen” well before this Luke Woods time and later became “Interscope” …GOOGLE wellington cousins …Under Penalty of Perjury Lible and Slander