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Monster Moves Ahead In Second Half

NEW YORK — Monster is moving full speed ahead with the plethora of partnerships it announced during International CES last January.

Noel Lee, the company’s founder and head monster, sat down with TWICE two weeks ago to provide a midyear update on Monster’s progress and to show off some of the products that had just begun shipping.

High on Lee’s list was the SuperStar portable Bluetooth speaker. While it isn’t the company’s first Bluetooth speaker, Lee said Monster is targeting a completely different demographic than the Clarity HD Micro speaker.

“The Micro is a great professional product, but it wasn’t a kids’ product,” said Lee. “It wasn’t for the dorm. It was for the business traveler. … It was sleek, but [SuperStar] is fun.”

The SuperStar, which carries a $129 suggested retail and comes in four colors, is currently in Zumiez stores and will be in Best Buy Mobile and other retailers this month. It is water-resistant, which a Monster team member demonstrated by pouring a glass of water on the device while it played Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the water bouncing off the speaker as the woofer pulsed.

Also beginning to hit store shelves are the Adidas Originals headphones, timed to release with the FIFA World Cup this month. The headphones, which come in in-ear and over-ear designs, will travel through a limited distribution line. This will keep in step with Adidas’ distribution strategy, according to Bryon Sheng, brand marketing manager for Monster, which first trials products in its fashion- forward and lifestyle retailers, where they eventually make their way into regional accounts and then through big-box retailers.

Although they were originally only going to be sold in Brazil, distribution has been expanded to several other counties. They will be sold in airport stores in the U.S., Lee said.

A second collection of performance-themed Adidas headphones will be available later this year.

Monster is also just a few weeks away from unveiling the latest fruits of its partnership with Caesars Entertainment and Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Announced earlier this year, the partnership resulted in custom headphones being sold exclusively through Caesars Entertainment resorts.

Monster will providing the sound technology for The Axis theater, located at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, now renamed The Axis Powered by Monster. A Monster store will also appear in the theater, scheduled to open in the next 30 days.

Addressing the potential acquisition in the room — at the time TWICE spoke with Lee, the Apple and Beats Electronics deal had not been officially acknowledged, much less finalized — Lee chuckled at some of the press Monster’s now-dissolved, yet infamous, partnership had garnered. “Someone called it the worst deal in history,” he said.

He noted, however, “The question comes up — in Beats promoting Beats since the beginning of the year, they haven’t mentioned us, like we didn’t exist. I’m wondering if their portrayal of who Beats is to their customers, if they really know. And what does Apple really know? What does Tim Cook really know? I think that’s a big question mark. … The point is Monster was Beats for the first five years Beats existed. They’ve only existed without us for a year and a half.”