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Third Man Records Teams With Beats For Limited Edition Headphones

Today (Nov. 17), Apple and Third Man Records are revealing a limited edition Beats by Dr. Dre headphone ahead of Record Store Day Black Friday on Nov. 24.

Today (Nov. 16), Apple and Third Man Records are revealing a limited edition Beats by Dr. Dre headphone ahead of Record Store Day Black Friday on Nov. 24.

The headphones are distinctively Third Man — they boast the independent label’s signature black and yellow color scheme, small depictions of the label’s logo and, of course, come with a collector’s edition, translucent yellow flexi disc of The Raconteur’s debut single, “Level.” But what most clearly proves the headphones are a product of Third Man is the packaging that reads: “With the needle down and the volume up.” An all-too fitting statement from the vinyl-centric label that dares to defy how headphones are typically used to consume music — on the go.

“We tried to refrain from just throwing the logo on something,” Third Man co-founder Ben Blackwell tells Billboard of the headphone’s style. “You want to [create a product] with reverence, and you want to do it so that it’s still identifiably in the Third Man realm. But also, we’re not trying to eliminate or downplay the fact that Beats is involved too.”


Blackwell recalls how initial conversations about teaming up with Apple for an exclusive headphone started last year following a Beats commercial campaign called Be Heard that used The White Stripes‘ “Seven Nation Army” (Jack White is a co-founder of the label, and Blackwell’s uncle). He says while Third Man has always “had a foot in the world of hardware in terms of turntables or guitars or effects pedals or synthesizers,” high-quality headphones was a new endeavor.

Record Store Day Black Friday is a spinoff of sorts on the internationally celebrated Record Store Day that takes place annually in April; naturally, Blackwell says it’s likely the second busiest day for every record store, “so it makes sense to give people something to look forward to.”

Third Man sure has. In addition to the limited edition Beats, the label has also made headlines for the anticipated release of U2’s new single “The Blackout” on vinyl. Special colored vinyl versions will only be made available at two locations in the U.S. — Third Man’s locations in Nashville and Detroit — and two abroad in U.K and Ireland. “ I didn’t really know how widespread and how hardcore the U2 fanbase was until we made this announcement,” Blackwell admits.

What he is more certain of, are his thoughts on the new headphones: “The headphones sound fucking great,” he affirms. “You probably [can’t] print “fucking,” but the proof’s in the pudding.”

Beats Solo3 Wireless Third Man Records Limited Edition are available for presale today from Third Man Records and will be available at Third Man Records on Nov. 24th.