Kevin Lee, son of Monster founder Noel Lee and a key player in the company's Beats By Dre relationship with Jimmy Iovine's Beats Electronics, has established a competing headphone manufacturing company called SOL Republic.
The new brand relies heavily on the same mix of sound, fashion and lifestyle marketing that helped make Beats such as success. However Lee says he's focusing on a lower price tier than Beats, in the $50 to $150 range, for both in-ear and over-the-ear headphones.
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I'm very excited about the success of Beats because it's a proven concept that people will care about sound, especially young kids," he says. "With that proof-of-concept in place, I looked at the marketplace and said there is still a huge missing element, which is great sound at a mid price point."
Although Lee is striking out on his own with a competing product, Lee says there is no rift with either Monster or his father, and that he will remain a strategic advisor at Monster for the foreseeable future.
SOL Republic's Tracks over-the-ear headphones feature interchangeable speakers attached to a common headband, and are billed as more rugged than the average pair of headphones, starting at $100 in both standard and HD model. The Amps in-ear models start at $60 and also come in standard and HD versions.