It's CES time again, that once-a-year event when every consumer tech company
that you have (and haven't) heard of flocks to Las Vegas to reveal this
year's lineup of middling products they're sure will drive profit margins
celebrity musicians come out of the woodwork to lend their name to some
overpriced/mediocre/irrelevant gadgets. This year's honorees? Ludacris and
50 Cent, who now have their own "signature" pair of headphones from Signeo
and Sleek Audio, a couple of lesser known audio companies.
Both rappers' new products were announced this week, with lackluster names
and even more snore-inducing looks. Ludacris teamed up with Korean electronics
maker Signeo to crank out an entire line of headphones, each more generic
looking than the next. The Sleek by 50 Platinum Headphones were funded by 50
Cent, which also means he got to lend his design expertise to to project. As
a result, we end up with a pair of headphones covered in carbon fiber and
military-grade metal. And, matching his own quarrelsome personality, 50 and
Sleek audio issued a listening challenge to the man/headphone that started
this entire trend: Dr. Dre's Beats headphones (made by Monster).
Dre began this lamefest in 2008, when he and Monster teamed up to release a
decent but wildly-overpriced pair of consumer-oriented cans ($350!).
The headphones somehow ended up a huge success, spawning multiple pairs and
endorsers in the series (Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Diddy, Usher), as well as
clones (high end audio-maker Harman Kardon got Quincy Jones to endorse a
pair of studio-grade cans). In the case of the Monster products, they're
mostly just the same product repackaged into different shapes and colors,
with an inflated price tag slapped on them. Endorsements aren't the world's
most evil thing, but in this case, they're more than a bit cynical.
Even if these products from Luda and Fitty don't end up sounding like total shit (nobody has
yet to hear them), it's almost impossible to imagine they'll be good enough to justify the overinflated price.
Notice how you never see actual musicians using celebrity-endorsed headphones in studio photos. Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Adrian Covert @adilla, and like us at Facebook.com/SFAllShookDown.