In 2008, Dr. Dre and Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine unveiled Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones. With help from celebrities—among them Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber—the headphones became a part of pop culture, and soon there wasn't a subway or plane where they weren't ubiquitous. "It really was the pillar of our brand," says Beats Electronics president Luke Wood.
Beats Electronics president and COO Luke Wood says the company—which now dominates more than half of the headphones market—is laying down bigger tracks without abandoning its mission. "We always go back to ‘How does it sound?’"
Skullcandy used to be a fashion statement—although that statement seemed to say "I'm a loud teenager!" This headphone mainstay was flashy and heavy on neon. But in the past few years, consumers have been drawn to high-end competitors with signature sounds (such as the bass-heavy Beats by Dr. Dre), and Skullcandy realized its product was all show. So it built an in-house engineering team—previously, all this work was farmed out—to maximize airflow and enrich the audio.