This post was first published on 11th September and I just updated it with new information.

Exactly half a year ago I wrote a blog post Sleek by 50 – serious competition for Beats by Dr. Dre? where I analyzed some marketing aspects of 50 Cent‘s first attempt to enter the headphones market with his line Sleek by 50. But in May the American hip hop artist issued a press release with information that he ended his collaboration with the company Sleek Audio and therefore dismissed the plans of challenging Beats by Dr. Dre, one of the most popular brand of headphones in the USA.

In the first days of September 50 Cent broke the news that he’ll try again in his quest to become a serious player on the market – since his break up with Sleek Audio he has established SMS Audio and then acquired KonoAudio, a boutique manufacturer responsible for designing, developing and launching fashion headphones.

SMS Audio


In the beginning of 2011 things were looking good for 50 Cent. He agreed to cooperate with Sleek Audio and even presented some ideas about his hybrid wireless headphones. On May 6th Sleek Audio issued a press release and announced that 50 Cent had terminated an agreement between Sleek Audio and his company G-Unit. Soon after that 50 Cent told the media that he’ll continue working on his line of headphones.

50 Cent kept his word: a few weeks ago he announced that he’ll launch a new line of headphones through his SMS Audio company, called SMS by 50. Before that he also purchased KonoAudio, which has replaced Sleek Audio as the producer of 50 Cent’s headphones. SMS Audio will release three different types of headphones: wired, wireless and earbuds. Each pair will have on-board controls and up to four people will be able to listen at once.

50 Cent with SMS by 50 headphones


A few months ago I wrote a brief marketing analysis on Sleek by 50 in the blog post mentioned above. I analyzed all parts of marketing mix: product, price, promotion & placement and wrote “I’m really curious what will happen with Sleek by 50. Can 50 Cent succeed in taking away some market share from Dr. Dre? I’m sure he can, but how?”

Fast forward a few months and we have a sequel. On 30th September Tech Crunch announced that some pics and specifications of 50 Cent’s new headphones had leaked. Rapper apparently changed the name into Sync by 50, although its Twitter and Facebook accounts haven’t changed (he still uses the name SMS by 50).

Sync by 50 headphones (source: Tech Crunch)


What can we expect:

  • A very similar product: wireless headphones Sync by 50 (instead of Sleek by 50 and then SMS by 50).
  • Probably priced at the same level as Sleek would’ve been.
  • 50 Cent must strike a good deal with national retailers and some international ones. In the press release he stated that “SMS Audio will leverage KonoAudio’s established channels to expand its brand worldwide.”
  • One of the main promoters will be 50 Cent and I expect that product placement in music videos would have a major role in promotion of the brand.

A few weeks ago SMS by 50 posted a tweet on their official Twitter account:

“Check out the SMS by 50 headphones in Hot Rod’s new music video ‘Hot Girl’.”

SMS by 50 headphones in Hot Rod's music video Hot Girl (2011, G-Note Records, screen capture)


Well, I have to admit that I couldn’t recognize the brand in the video Hot Girl, but it’s a sure signal that product placement will be used heavily in the upcoming months. In December last year 50 Cent launched a new label G Note Records, and Hot Rod was his first signee.

Sync by 50 headphones in Jasmine V.'s music video Just a Friend (2011, Mosci Music, screen capture)


They did slightly better with the latest video for Jasmine V. new song Just a Friend. Sync by 50 headphones can be seen almost all the time in that video, but for me this placement is a bit over the top. Also, if a music fan can’t recognize the brand (which is the case in the aforementioned video), all placements in the world are useless.

I believe that the marketing mix for the new Sync by 50 would be roughly the same as for Sleek by 50. Before we get some additional information about 50 Cent’s new brand you can read my analysis for his previous attempt to conquer the headphones market in the blog post Sleek by 50 – serious competition for Beats by Dr. Dre?


Some additional reading:

Beats by Dre in Consumer Society

Beats by Dr. Dre – a success story

Americanization of music videos: Ellie Goulding’s Starry Eyes

Arctic Monkeys and Panasonic headphones

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