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Are Beats Headphones Overpriced

What Do We Mean By Overpriced?

Before we dive into the heart of our post, let us first take a moment to discuss what “overpriced” really means. In general, the term “overpriced” is subjective, and completely dependent on personal beliefs regarding value and your personal definition of “expensive”. For the sake of this discussion, “overpriced” will be defined as when the price of an item (in our example, Beats Headphones) is greater than the sum of its parts, especially when there are other superior, less expensive alternatives. Now that we are on the same page with regard to this complicated definition, we can start to discuss Beats themselves and whether or not they are truly overpriced.


3. Individuality

Beats by Dre Mixr On-Ear Headphone
Beats by Dre Mixr On-Ear Headphone

Millennials have been shown to emphasize more on self-expression and the concept of being uniquely yourself is constantly beaten (no pun intended) into their heads at every turn. Beats headphones cater to this desire as their bright colors and stylish designs are able to infuse a pop of personality that sets one apart from others.

A fashionista would approve.
A fashionista would approve.

The collaboration between Beats and Balmain combines chic design characteristic of the fashion powerhouse with music and further reinforces the importance self-expression plays in the popularity of Beats headphones.

#AbovetheNoise campaign

“Chatter chatter chatter. Take refuge at will. The world is filled with wolves and praise and ploys. But the kids who can shut off their ears, rise above all that noise.”

– Snippet from the #AboveTheNoise ad

Evocative storytelling delivered through their ad campaigns are also examples of how Beats sends strong brand messages using relatable concepts such as challenging the status quo and overcoming adversity.

In the #AboveTheNoise ad, scenes of a young boy having a bad experience at his first soccer practice match were shown.

The voiceover in the clip continues in his deep hu

The voiceover in the clip continues in his deep husky storytelling voice about how this boy belongs to a group of children who could shut off their ears. Silence the praise and silence the fears. Rising above it all with the help of some handy dandy noise-cancelling Beats headphones.

A reveal towards the second half of the ad shows t

A reveal towards the second half of the ad shows the young boy growing up to be world-class soccer player, Neymar Jr. and with this, Beats effectively weaved a short motivational story that everyone can get behind into their ad.

Selling emotion pays when your audience identifies and believes in the messages the brand is trying to convey.

It is also very clever of Beats to create this “us against the world” mentality in their supporters. Not only does it relate to Dr. Dre’s image, it certainly gives their fans more bravado when confronted with detractors of the brand.

The Tech

If I haven’t lost you yet, I might lose you here. But I will do my best to explain why these headphones are a mistake in audio terms.

View the graph below to see the Beats frequency response.

Beats Frequency Response
Beats Frequency Response

In short, this is what you hear when wearing Beats. The X axis is showing the frequencies, from 20Hz to 20kHz (which is what the human range is.) The idea is that the line in this graph for all headphones and speakers should be as flat as possible. Do you see the problem here?

For one, this is not flat. The mid range (1kHz – 5kHz) is concerningly low, and everything above 5kHz is a hot mess. Why do those frequencies matter? Well, the human voice is within that range. Why mess around with the frequencies that involve one of the most important instruments in music?

Finally, have you noticed that everything from 50Hz – 700Hz is consistent and the loudest part? Take a wild guess what instruments sit around there. Yup. ALL ABOUT THAT BASS, ‘BOUT THAT BASS. NO TREBLE.

While I hate myself for quoting a Meghan Trainor song, it’s entirely accurate. These headphones are nothing more than a jizz stain to all musicians and listeners because all they are doing is boosting the bass. And let me tell you something, music is not all about bass. The bass is almost always the root note of all chords. It keeps a song moving without becoming too dominant.

There is a reason why that graph should be flat, and that’s because everything needs balance. These headphones would be like applying a black and white filter to every movie you watch, or putting ketchup on every meal you’ll ever eat. You can like black and white filters on your selfies and put ketchup on your fries all you want, but wearing Beats means you are not listening to music the way it was meant to be heard. You are not listening to the song the way the engineers and musicians want you to hear it.

Why Are Beats So Expensive Then?

Have you ever been watching your favorite sporting event on TV and seen a famous athlete sporting a pair of Beats during warmups or after the game ends? Perhaps during that very same sporting event, you saw several advertisements for Beats during commercial breaks? Believe it or not, these player endorsements and advertisements cost tens of millions of dollars!

Beats Athlete Endorsements

Over the years, Beats has sponsored endorsements with athletes as varied and famous as: LeBron James, Neymar, Richard Sherman, Kobe Bryant, Colin Kaepernick, Blake Griffin, Michael Phelps, Chris Paul, Wayne Rooney, Serena Williams, Andrew McCutchen, and Matt Kemp. There was even a time where you could see former NFL star, and currently incarcerated murderer, Aaron Hernandez, rocking Beats (see: photo below)

Beats Celebrity Endorsements

Endorsements don’t stop with athletes; there are many A-List celebrities who love to show off their Beats, including: Katy Perry, Justin Bieber (photo below), Selena Gomez (photo below), Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj (photo below), David Guetta, Diddy, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, and more.

All these endorsements add up, and Beats Electronics has to pay for them somehow! That “somehow” just happens to be charging WAY more for their headphones than their components are worth.

Another component that goes into the price of a pair of Beats is almost purely psychological. Because of all of the aforementioned advertisements and celebrity endorsements, Beats give off an air of “hip”, “stylish”, and “high quality” (there has even been some research done that proves that consumers will regularly, *falsely* attribute quality to an item simply because of that item’s expensive price tag), and it is often human nature to want to own (and praise) hip/stylish consumer goods that are used by celebrities.

Think of it as a way we can “connect” with a celebrity without ever having to meet them. If you want to look like Kobe Bryant while you shoot hoops and listen to music, you are one pair of $200 Beats away from doing just that. And that IS valuable to many people, though you could make the argument that those people might not sing the same tune if they found out how poorly crafted the product they bought truly is.

The simple answer to this difficult question is– YES! If your main goal in owning a pair of Beats is to make a fashion statement, and you aren’t at all concerned with audio fidelity, then we will never be able to convince you that Beats are overpriced, but, the second you realize that for that same $200, you could have your choice of over a dozen types of headphones from higher quality manufacturers, some of them looking every bit as stylish as a pair of Beats.

We hope you will start to look elsewhere for your next headphone purchase. It really is difficult to justify paying $200+ on a pair of headphones that only cost $16.89 to produce though, isn’t it? For more information on Beats Headphones and to see some AWESOME examples of some headphones better than beats, check out headphones better than Beats.