Beats by Dre and Monster Cable Products are parting ways at year's end, per a new report from Bloomberg Business Week. Although Beats has quickly risen to be the leader in the headphone category, with 53 percent of 2011's $1 billion market according to NPD Group, the separation comes amid reports that both parties are in disagreement over revenue share and credit for the original idea. "They wanted to do speakers and I said, 'The new speaker is the headphone,' " Monster CEO Noel Lee told Business Week.
Requests for comment from Beats executives were not immediately returned on Friday.
Interscope chairman and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine is also quoted in the report with plans for further expanding Beats' product suite. The Beats technology has expanded beyond headphones to cars (Chrysler's 300 S sedan and Dodge's 2012 Charger), computers (Hewlett-Packard PCs and laptops) and smartphones (HTC, which purchased a $300 million majority stake in Beats last August). "Music has got to succeed on the phone or else the record industry will never thrive," Iovine says in the report.
The Beats arrived during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the celebrity headphone category showed more signs of crowding. Rappers 50 Cent and Ludacris dropped by to plug their respective new SMS Audio and Soul by Ludacris headphone lines, while RZA's Chambers line (a partnership with clothing company We are the Superlative Conspiracy) also had a booth on the CES floor.