It is quite easy to identify Luke Wood at any Beats by Dr. Dre event: simply search out the quiet figure in the midst of an ostentatious rap entourage or a mob of hormonally charged teen groupies. But don’t let his mild-mannered appearance fool you; pair him up with a Stratocaster and he will rip out a bad-ass tune from his days as a punk rocker. Give him a seedling of a startup and he will build it into a multinational corporation.
Although he had worked closely with Beats’ co-founders, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine of Interscope Records, since the company’s start in 2008, Luke Wood did not officially join Beats until February 2011, when he stepped in as President and Chief Operating Officer. Many industry insiders have credited Wood with the recent purchase of MOG, a subscription music service and Beats’ first major acquisition.
In light of mounting competition within the market for premium audio accessories, Beats was still able to hold onto its 56% market share for North America, with a revenue figure of over 300 million dollars. In part, it is thanks to Wood’s ability to drive up momentum for the brand, both here and now overseas.
During Beats’ most recent launch event in China, we sat down with this songwriter, guitarist, and one-time music exec to chat about the success of Beats Electronics, future challenges, and the how-to on staying ahead of the competition.