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CES: Motorhead in gear with headphones

Band lends its name to line aimed at rock fans, musicians

For years, Motorhead has avoided the trend of licensed merchandise, but when a startup headphone manufacturer came calling, the rock band finally joined the club.

“People say we’ve never sold out,” joked the band’s frontman Lemmy in unveiling the new product at the Consumer Electronics Show. “No one ever approached us.”

But roughly 18 months ago, brand manager Andres Nicklassen and Ulf Sandberg, CEO of Krusell, decided to give it a try and reached out to drummer Mickey D, who pitched the product idea to the rest of the Motorhead members.

Out of the resulting conversations was born Motorheadphones, meant to appeal to both fans and makers of rock music.

The signature line of headphones focus on midrange sounds rather than the bass favored by brands like Beats by Dr. An overemphasis on bass, noted Nicklassen, takes the soul out of rock.

Lemmy, not surprisingly, put it a bit more succinctly: “It’s like you’re listening through a towel.”

The all-metal headphones will consist of nine products with three headphones and six in-ear models. Ear phones will range between $49.99-$59.99, while the headphones will run $99.99-$129.99. While they’re been available in Europe since last fall, they won’t begin shipping in the U.S. until April.

Sandberg and Nicklassen say they chose to approach Motorhead chiefly because of the band’s longevity and its distinctive voice in the world of rock. Band already has its own line of wine, vodka and glassware, so headphones made sense to grow the group’s licensing biz.

“They’ve been around for 40 years, and they stand for so much and have so much knowledge,” Nicklassen said.

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