Backbeat: Beats by Dre Launches New York Pop-Up Store With Will.I.Am, Freeway, Nero
Backbeat: Beats by Dre Launches New York Pop-Up Store With Will.I.Am, Freeway, Nero
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Boom Boom Pow: Will.i.am. (left) with Dr. Dre atat the Beats By Dre pop-up store in New York City's SoHo neighborhood.

Just yards away from the Apple Store in SoHo, a new, albeit temporary, boutique was making a splash with music fans in New York this week. Beats by Dre -- Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's popular headphone brand -- opened its first pop-up store on 67 Greene Street on Wednesday. The custom-designed loft space will be open through January 15 to capitalize on the holiday shopping season, showcasing new and exclusive products.

The store's first 48 hours saw appearances from everyone from Will.I.Am to Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, a pop-up DJ set from U.K. electro duo Nero and a freestyle rap (recorded in the store's nearly-soundproof room) from former Cash Money rapper Freeway.

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In addition to a new line of colored headphones introduced by Iovine and Dre at a PR event in New York, several new products are showcased in the Beats by Dre store. A limited edition version of the Studio headphones, for example, come in silver and run an extra $50 more than the $299.99 retail price. The store's back wall is mounted with $379 custom headphones in various colors. Also on display were models custom-made for their recipients (and not for sales), including Keri Hilson, the Green Bay Packers, Yelawolf, T.I., Serena Williams, Spike Lee and the upcoming "Step Up 4," in which a custom pair of Beats will be featured as a prop (the T.I. and Yelawolf headphones were special projects spearheaded by the company's new social-media manager, blogger Karen Civil). There are T-shirts, too -- each featuring Beats' signature "b" logo punning in place of a heart on shirts like, "I 'b' Uptown" or "I 'b' QNS."

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Not only are some of the headphones wireless, the store's checkout system is too. In lieu of a cash register, sales associates have wireless devices to help customers check out remotely - not unlike an Apple store. It's probably no coincidence that the Beats store features a "Genius Bar" for customer service and product questions, too.

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A crowd of about 150 people filled the store Thursday night for Nero's DJ set (the duo has a sold-out gig at Webster Hall on Friday night). A few minutes after their scheduled set time of 9 p.m., one of the hosts of the night jumped on the mic, thanked everyone for coming and said that the show would be starting a bit late as they were waiting for a "special guest" to arrive. Unlike most delays caused by a "special guest," speculation about who the guest might be was notably absent from the pre-show chatter - and sure enough, at around 9:30 whispers of "It's Dre!" worked their way to the DJ booth after the man himself arrived at the store for Nero's set. More than one lanky teenaged boy catapulted himself into position to snap a photo of the legendary producer as he relaxed behind the bar (see our's below).

Hip-Hop Blogger Karen Civil Heading To Beats By Dre

Nero immediately launched into an energy-filled set, wasting no time breaking out hits including the opening "Doomsday," "Crush On You" and others. The crowd was clearly made up of diehard Nero fans and it felt like a secret club at points as the crowd sang along with the lyrics and cheered each time a new hit was teased into the set.

Check out all of our Backbeats -- our exclusive look at the people behind the music business -- right here.

Plenty more events will be taking place at the store in the weeks to come, Civil promised Billboard.biz.

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The Man Behind Man: Interscope/Geffen/A&M CEO and Beats by Dre CEO Jimmy Iovine (right) with Dr. Dre at a party at the Beats by Dre pop-up story in NYC. (Photo: Beth Gwinn)
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Dr Dre with Nero's Joseph Ray (far left), Alana Watson and Daniel Stephens
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This Year's Models: The pop-up store's back wall is mounted with $379 custom headphones designed by musicians, sports teams and athletes, including Keri Hilson, the Green Bay Packers, Yelawolf, T.I., Serena Williams, Spike Lee.

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Who's playing tonight?
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Do You Have Any Neil Diamond? Attendees await the arrival of U.K. dubstep duo Nero.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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