Why Are the Stupidly Expensive Beats Headphones So Successful?

I do NOT get Beats headphones. They’re overly bassy and way overpriced. Give me a pair of Sonys or Sennheisers any day.

But there’s no disputing that a lot of Beats are sold every single day. Why? Business Insider takes a look.

In writing and teachingabout the economics of innovation, I draw a contrast between engineering value and economic value.

Critics of free markets often cite technology markets as examples of “market failure” in which one product’s head start, combined with network effects and switching costs, leads consumers to choose “inferior” technologies (QWERTY over Dvorak, VHS over Beta, Windows over Linux, internal-combustion engines over electrics, and so on).

This argument, of course, assumes that third parties (usually engineers) can determine what technologies are “superior,” regardless of what consumers actually prefer.

Sure, the Linux operating system has some technical advantages over Windows or MacOS or the dominant handheld and tablet systems, but who cares? If consumers prefer convenience, cost, style, familiarity, or whatever over some technical specifications, good for them. By no means are they failing to satisfy their preferences.

This distinction is brilliantly highlighted in an article in The Verge,“Embrace the Bass: Beats Headphones Are Popular for a Reason.”

Read on for the full explanation. (Link via Bobby)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38129 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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