Kanye West spoke at a conference in Cannes this morning, and he used the opportunity to talk about Apple's acquisition of Beats and the importance of companies connecting with culture at large. According to Adweek, West posed that Apple's purchase never would have happened if Jay Z hadn't struck a deal with Samsung last year to have his album debut on its phones. It was a controversial deal and a shrewd business move, but it gave Samsung a level of cool that's generally hard to buy.
"it showed that [Iovine] and Dre would be able to connect with the number one influencers"
"There would have been no Beats deal without the Samsung deal. It showed the number one company the importance of connecting with culture," West said, according to Adweek.
West is a big fan of Apple, and in particular Steve Jobs. Yet he isn't quite as excited by Samsung, despite respecting its partnership with Jay Z.
"The reason I said I didn't like Samsung particularly is because throughout my entire life, because of how my parents raised me, I have to work with the number one," West said, citing Jay Z, his wife, and Louis Vuitton as things he sees as numbers ones. "Samsung is not quite Apple, but it showed that Jimmy [Iovine] and Dre would be able to connect with the number one influencers."
West reportedly thinks that Apple has lost some of its touch at connecting with culture lately, and he sees the Beats' acquisition as a way to start getting that back. He says that the decline began after the death of Jobs, who he cites as his biggest influence. "Just seeing the way he fought to make things easier for people," West said, according to Adweek.
Jobs' intentions speak to a big part of what West believes companies and products should be doing for people. West says that time is the ultimate luxury, and that people want to buy things that can assist them. "It's not all these brands that we just drove by that are somehow selling our esteem back to us through association," he said.
During his talk, West also spoke a bit about Instagram too, which apparently he has some interest in redesigning. "I said to [Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom], why don't you let us redo Instagram?" West said, reports Adweek. "Now, you know, Instagram is nice. It's nice looking. I'm not knocking it. But just in general, everyone spends all of their time looking at their screens or their phones. And just as a simple task, we could clean that up." He also said that his wedding photo was worked on for four days before it was good enough to post on Instagram.
West stressed the importance of good taste and design, saying that the internet and the world as a whole were ugly. "I believe that bad taste is vulgar. It's like cursing. I think the world can be saved through design," West said. "Because what is the most distasteful thing someone can do? Kill someone. So, good taste is the opposite of that."