Gizmodo has an incredibly extensive and hilariously written story today about how the mega-popular Beats brand got its start, and how Monster developed a lot of the actual technology behind it, but lost the rights to all of that technology thanks to a hastily written contract and some really unfortunate timing.
After conquering the highly-expensive cable market, Monster figured they’d get into highly expensive speakers, but that ship had sailed. Kids didn’t want a stereo for their room to blast out the windows; they wanted to blast out their own eardrums in a more personal environment with headphones for their iPods:
Noel [Lee, head of Monster] began prototyping headphones, and dispatched his son to LA to book partnerships for a proprietary high-definition audio format. The audio format never saw the light of day, but the meetings were worth the ticket. “You gotta go get Usher, Mary J. Blige, U2,” Young Lee was instructed. And from there, as he tells it, fate took over: “Sometimes things just happen a certain way…the value of serendipity,” Kevin says through a halcyon smile. If he hadn’t been sent to tempt artists with a vaporware surround-sound music format, “[he] would have never met Jimmy Iovine from Interscope.” And it was this encounter that spawned the best bad idea in gadget history. Beats began.
It’s a little weird to see this story told with such raw honesty, especially since Gizmodo obviously had quite a bit of input from Head Monster Noel Lee and his son Kevin when writing it. Curious or not, though, it’s a brilliant piece that you should seriously take a breat and read in its entirety.