Audio accessory startup Muzik is launching its product after two years of design and gearing up production, making the Muzik smart over-ear headphones available to consumers today for $299 and a ship date ahead of the holidays. The headphone maker has also raised an additional $10 million to help bring its product to market.
The smart part of the Muzik headphones revolves around four hot keys, whose function can be customized by a user, and embedded motion sensors that allow for additional input via head movements. Out of the box, Muzik lets you tweet your current track, share it to Facebook, save tracks to a favourites list in the companion app, or text or email your friends via a “speed dial” a user can set up, all automatically just by pressing one of the buttons embedded on the right ear cup.
Muzik Connect, an app for Android and iOS which will ship with the headphones, helps make all of these software features happen, and there’s also a developer platform that Muzik is making available via an open source license. The idea is that apps other than Muzik’s own could use its smart features to support their own custom actions – so Favoriting or making songs available for offline play in Rdio, for example. Motion sensors can trigger additional functionality, like shutting off the headphones automatically when you put them down to preserve battery life.
The headphones are made from aluminum and have memory foam ear cups, and are designed overall to compete with other devices in their price range while also offering their signature social features. After demoing their devices at CES last year, the company went back to the lab for a year to refine the product before this launch, just ahead of the next CES in January.
“I love music; I always have – the way it connects people, tells a story, allows us to escape, and creates moments in time,” explained Jason Hardi, founder and CEO of Muzik. “Our vision is to enrich the music experience by making headphone design, sound and technology more intelligent, which is what we set out to master this past year.”
All other things being equal, it’ll be interesting to see if smart features can draw customers to a relatively new headphone brand over more established incumbents. Beats has succeeded with an appeal to style, as well as building brand cache by association with celebrities. A new brand aiming at the youth market has a lot of dragons to slay before it can make its mark, but perhaps an app platform will help Muzik find the right app partner to achieve critical mass.