During an exclusive interview with ChannelNews Lee said that he expects to double Monsters share of the headphone market and that links with brands such as Adidas was “important”.
Currently Monster has snared 10% of the US market after severing their relationship with Beats. Lee believes that can reach 20% “quite quickly”.
The man who lays on some of the biggest events at CES including a private party for retailers that featured Fleetwood Mac who at the end of their show claimed that Monster headphones were among the “best in the world” and that Monster was “more a technology Company than a marketing Company” despite the Company being known for their marketing activities.
The man who cruises out onstage on his Segway to the hoots and hollers of almost any audience whether it be journalists, celebrities of retailers claims that their new range of Monster headphones will help them strip share away from Beats.
2 years ago Monster was in a coveted position after launching what became the hottest headphones on the market, Beats by Dre.
The audio devices had hip-hop legend Dr Dre as a namesake and soon became synonymous with headphone chic. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber launched their own signature Beats by Dre lines.
But Beats Electronics ended its partnership with Monster last year, not to be outdone Lee launched his own branded headphones with Companies like JB Hi Fi, and Harvey Norman shifting thousands of the popular brand.
Even though Beats is still popular Noel Lee believes he has the proper pieces in place to strip market share away from his now arch rival.
“It left us having to reinvent ourselves, and that’s what we are doing” said Lee.
The company is pushing out headphones, tablets, slim battery power adapters and portable DJ turntable mixers, and tapping stars including Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Cannon and Jason Aldean as their ambassadors.
Lee, who takes a lot of the credit for the stylish Beats by Dre headphones, saying the key contribution of Beats Electronics was marketing.
“We supplied all the distribution, all the technology, all the engineering that went into the product,” Lee says.
“What we didn’t have was the marketing clout before.”
He hopes the recruitments of music producer Swizz Beatz and former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal as promoters will fix that.
Monster, which was founded by Lee in 1978, became known for selling pricey video and audio cables. Monster eventually partnered with Beats, launching Beats by Dre in 2008. Both companies flourished together over the next five years.
In its last year with Monster, 2012, Beats by Dre captured 53 per cent of the $US1 billion $A1.13 billion annual headphone market, according to market research company NPD Group.
But Beats decided not to renew a five-year contract with Monster in early 2012 after HTC bought a majority stake in the company for $300 million (it later sold half the shares back to Monster). Since the split, Beats’ market share has increased to 57 per cent.
Looking back, Lee says he made a mistake by not building his own company’s brand while working with Beats.
During his CES press conference Lee brought on stage an Adidas exec to announce, that the two companies will be releasing headphones branded by the popular sportswear company.
At the press Monster conference there were videos and all sorts of talk about “Adidas originals,” but no actual product shots, details or dates.
Later in a private viewing ChannelNews was shown this range and it is very slick.
In Australia the Monster headphones is winning share with fight fans.
There was a lot more hoopla around the announcement of a partnership with UFC, bringing on MMA fighter and UFC Lightweight Champ Anthony Pettis to announce the release of UFC-branded Octagon headphones.
At the same press event Monster brought out Shaquille O’Neal, was on hand to make the company’s credit-card-sized PowerCard portable charging device look even smaller than it actually is.
Among the new range of headphones coming from Monster is the Octagon headphones, the official headphones of the UFC, as well as a limited edition of its Diamondz headphones encrusted with rhinestones.
There is also new DNA Pro wireless headphones, which boasts a new on-board control configurator. Instead of a panel filled with confusing control buttons, the right ear cup sports one main button at the center for play/pause, accompanied by a touch-capacitive surface which allows you to simply swipe your finger for control.
The design is extremely intuitive, and really fun to use, allowing you to swipe the surface horizontally to skip songs, and vertically along the side to control volume. The headphones have a 4-8 hour battery life, and they incorporate active noise canceling (ANC). The DNA Pro wireless will be available in Q2 of this year.
The Company is also launching a new Monster Go DJ device that has a huge selection of options on the hand held device including effects, looping, and cue points
It’s all easily controlled by a combination of touch screens and hard controls. Features include 2GB of storage, a slot for a 32GB sound card, a mic input for field recording, and all the inputs and outputs you’d need to throw an off-the-cuff DJ party from your pocket.