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 new partnerships.

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 Skullcandy.

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 headbands.

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 Diesel logo.

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 for $279.

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.

Alert to All Users of the Disqus commenting system:

Because of a recent global security issue, the Disqus website recommends that all users change their Disqus passwords. Heres a URL about the issue:

http://engineering.disqus.com/2014/04/10/heartbleed.html

 

 

 

 

Connect

 

PHOTOS

Enjoy the greatest pictures taken from famous shows and events this year.

Current Issue

Webcast

This TWICE webinar,  hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.