For Monster, The Beat Doesn't Go On
By Lisa Johnston On Jan 23 2012 - 6:01am
LAS VEGAS —
For the past few years Monster has made
headlines at International CES with new headphones and
This year was no different — except the headline
comes from the one major partnership that is ending,
not beginning. Although not officially announced by
Monster, Businessweek reported during the show
that Beats Electronics will not renew its five-year
contract with Monster for the wildly popular
Beats by Dre products.
TWICE’s requests for comment to both Monster
and Beats were not returned at press time.
The end of Beats doesn’t mean the end of
headphones for Monster, though — far from it.
At the show, the company unveiled no fewer
than five different new lines, and announced
several new partnerships.
The company also introduced its
ClarityHD Micro speaker/speakerphone,
Streamcast audio transmitting system,
and a power-monitoring app.
Although it will pepper the retail
space with new models, how they will
fare without the backing from the winning
team of rapper Dr. Dre and Interscope
Geffen A&M’s Jimmy Iovine remains to
be seen. Ben Arnold, industry analyst
for The NPD Group, told TWICE the
split also opens up new opportunities
for other headphones manufacturers,
such as Soul by Ludacris, 50 Cent and SMS Audio, and
Noel Lee, head monster, announced during the company’s
CES press conference Monster would now be teaming
with Livestrong, Diesel, and Earth, Wind and Fire, as
well as J.Y. Park of JYP Entertainment. Monster is also
launching a line of headphones that feature swappable
None of these headphones, Arnold said, match the sexiness
of the Beats by Dre line. “I’m sure they sound very
good,” Arnold said. “They just aren’t as sexy.” He noted
that Monster’s other non-Beats headphones hadn’t been
able to compete with Beats in terms of sales and also with
buzz with musicians and athletes.
Another manufacturer that’s able to capture the marriage
of good sound and fashion may be able to benefit
from this opportunity, he said.
Fashion and music did prove to be a common theme
during Monster’s press conference, with the Diesel-parntered
Vektr line meant to combine these two things, Lee
said. Stefano Rosso, Diesel’s corporate development
director, added, “If eyes could hear, these speakers are
what music would look like.”
On-ear and in-ear versions will be available for
$249 and $149, respectively, and will have the
The Livestrong models will be part of
Monster’s iSport line. The bright yellow
in-ear headphones, which are washable
and feature the Monster’s ControlTalk inline
mic technology, will be available in
February for $179.
Monster’s current musician-themed
headphones are the result of a partnership
with Earth, Wind & Fire, who performed at
Monster’s Retailer Awards concert at CES
in 2011. The Gratitude gold in-ear headphones
will retail for $229.
Calling them “a diamond ring for you head,”
the Diamond Tears – Edge headphones were
developed with J.Y. Park of JYP Entertainment,
one of Asia’s most prominent music producers,
according to Monster. These headphones will retail
Finally, for headphones, the company’s
fashion-focused Inspiration line
(both over-ear and on-ear versions
available) features a variety of decorative
headbands that can be changed.
The over-ear line is geared toward trendy business
travelers, Lee said, with three finishes offered: titanium,
white and silver (limited distribution) for $279. An on-ear
version, Inspiration Lite, will be offered in white for $229.
During the press conference, a number of models paraded
down the aisle, showing off headbands with leopard
prints, feathers and metal studs, although Lee said that
they’re “not going to SKU all of these.” Headbands will
retail for $29.95.
The ClarityHD Micro portable Bluetooth speaker/
speakerphone includes a variety of voice-prompt “personalities,”
as well as the ability to swap out the grille for
a colored or patterned one. Features include 3.5mm aux
jack, a five-hour battery life on lithium-ion batteries, and an
omnidirectional microphone. It will ship in March for $219.
Monster also showed off its StreamCast HD transmitter
and receiver kit ($189) and a power-monitoring app in its
Green Power line. The StreamCast HD kit lets users send
four separate channels to up to 12 zones.