Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Headphones That Say You've Really Made It as a Star

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Headphones That Say You've Really Made It as a Star

Article excerpt

Byline: TECH KNOW BY MARK PRIGG

IT USED to be that the mark of true celebrity was having your own fragrance. But perfume is so last decade. Now, having your own headphones is the mark of success. The list is huge -- everyone from Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga now boasts their own earwear. Quincy Jones, Sean "P-Diddy" Combs, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z are just some of the others.

The trend was begun by Dr Dre, whose Beats by Dre series has been a huge success, frequently sported by celebrity music-lovers. Dre's firm, set up with Interscope Geffen A&M chairman and producer Jimmy Iovine, was started with the aim of reproducing studio quality sound.

"We wanted to get the public to hear the music the way it was meant to be heard," he says. "On every other set of headphones the entire sound was just wrong. I go back and listen to my old records now like I'm listening to them for the first time. You're able to hear what we'd hear in the studio."

Dr Dre and Iovine have also worked with Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and P-Diddy to design their ranges.

"What you're seeing today is what me and Jimmy set out to do with Beats," he says. "It's not just about headphones, it's about changing the whole game in terms of the listening experience. And it's still just the beginning ..."

Quincy Jones, who produced Michael Jackson's Thriller, recently partnered with headphone-maker AKG to launch his own line of headphones. He also claims his range will let people get a studio experience at home.

Experts say that an endorsement is now crucial for manufacturers.

"Endorsements from famous musicians, pop stars and producers will attract some consumers to headphones because they think the sound quality is bound to be impressive if used by a professional, the same way that people think they'll kick a ball better wearing Beckham's boots, or food will taste better using Jamie Oliver's pans," says Rob Temple of T3 magazine. …

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