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Industry Audio, action sports
Founded 2003
Headquarters Park City, Utah
Products Headphones
Audio equipment, audio accessories
Number of employees

Skullcandy (NASDAQSKUL) is a publicly traded company, based out of Park City, Utah, that makes headphones, earphones, hands free devices, audio backpacks, MP3 players, and other audio equipment products. The company was founded in 2003.[1]

Skullcandy's products are targeted at the outdoor action sports demographic (such as snowboarders and skateboarders) and general consumer market.[2] Skullcandy products are sold through retailers, specialty outlets, and their online store.

Company history[edit]

Skullcandy's Park City headquarters features a mini ramp for employees
Double Agent headphones by Skullcandy.

Skullcandy was founded by Rick Alden in 2003. The first Skullcandy product, the Skullcandy Portable Link, was introduced at the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The LINK system combined headphones with hands-free cellular technology, allowing users to both listen to music from a portable audio device, while making and receiving calls through their cell phone. In 2003, Alden sold the first products to Milo Snow & Skate, an action sports shop in Utah. The Skullcandy logo was designed by Jef Ingram.[citation needed]

Alden was named one of vSpring Capital's "Top 100 Venture Entrepreneurs" of 2008,[3] and holds a patent for technology that integrates mobile phones and music players, LINK technology.[4]

In December 2008 the company was named "the world's coolest ear bud," by Fortune Magazine. In addition, the company received local standing in 2008, placing in the Utah Business Fast 50, featuring the top 50 best and most innovative companies throughout the state.[5] The company has quickly jumped to its place as the third most-sold headphone in the U.S. marketplace.[6] In 2005 the company had $1.3 million in annual sales, while its 2009 ranking puts it in place to hit the $100 million mark. As quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune, "We're gunning for No. 1," said Andrus, Skullcandy's President.

In April 2011, Skullcandy purchased fellow headphones manufacturer Astro Studios (Astro Gaming). The reason for doing so was to exchange information for the planned second generation of Skullcandy gaming headsets.

On January 28, 2011, Skullcandy filed for initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.[7] This announcement was met with some criticism from financial press.[8][9]



Known for its relationships with various action sports industries, Skullcandy sponsors professional athletes in snowboarding, skiing, skateboarding, wakeboarding, motocross, and the biking communities. Working with athletes such as Terje Håkonsen, Louie Vito, Clay Marzo, Balaram Stack, Marc Frank Montoya, Kevin Durant, and Derrick Rose has spawned some of Skullcandy's signature action sports pieces including the Terje Nine and MFM Pro. They have also released a wide range of NBA color themes, and are sponsoring several NBA teams. In 2012 supermodel Kate Upton was recruited to help promote their various sports lines, and has been largely successful with promoting the company.[10]


Rick Alden, CEO & founder of Skullcandy, making the largest one-time donation to Boarding for Breast Cancer.

Skullcandy is currently involved in supporting "Boarding for Breast Cancer" initiatives. Boarding For Breast Cancer (B4BC) is a nonprofit, youth-focused education, awareness and fundraising foundation designed to increase awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection and the value of an active lifestyle. Skullcandy announced their 2007 donation of $36,723.80 to Boarding for Breast Cancer at the 2008 SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Snow Show, making their contribution the largest one-time donation the organization has yet to receive. A B4BC supporter since 2006, Skullcandy donates 5% of all pink products sold to support the organization’s efforts.[citation needed]

Promotions with artists[edit]

Skullcandy features artists that endorse their products with special designs. They worked in partnership with Jay-Z to design Roc Nation Aviator headphones, advertised mainly by UK singer Rita Ora and also produced two designs of Skullcrushers featuring rapper Snoop Dogg themed designs.

Skullcandy collaborated with Metallica in conjunction with the band's 9th album release Death Magnetic, released two variants of limited edition themed headphones (hesh and low rider model) and a card with an access code to legally download the album from a website.


Skullcandy has a wide range of headphones. They come in a wide range of colors, graphics, and designs from over-ear headphones to on-ear headphones such as the Mix master (over-ear), the Aviator (over-ear), and the Titans (in-ear). The company also has several docks for iPhones, iPads, and iPods (Pipe and Vandal). In 2012 Skullcandy unveiled their first gaming headset in several years, entitled SLYR. The initial launch was met with mixed reviews, and several months later they successfully launched a higher priced headset titled PLYR2. The company's most recent releases are the $179.99 Dolby Surround Sound PLYR1 headset, and the subwoofer-utilizing $99 Crushers. The latter of which was highly publicized through promotions with many athletes and artists, who appeared in roughly 30 reaction videos when showcasing headphones' subwoofers.


  • Jib - SkullCandy's budget ear bud. 10mm drivers.
  • Ink'd - SkullCandy's flagship ear bud. Ink'd 2 was released in 2013. A version with a different, elongated shape for women was released in 2015 under the name "Wink'd", introducing "Women's fit ear gels", such gels being antimicrobial like the Method's gels.
  • Riff - Lesser-known ear buds that are very similar to Ink'd, but feature an off-axis design for comfort.
  • Smokin' Buds - A mid-grade model of ear buds from Skullcandy featuring a 9mm drivers and a Mic1. The Smokin' Buds 2 were released in 2013, and among an off-axis redesign for better comfort, features were added including a flat tangle-free cord and right-angle audio jack. Designed also for women under the name "Dime".
  • Merge - Lesser-known ear buds that are very similar to the off-axis Smokin' Buds 2.
  • Titan - A mid-grade model of the SkullCandy range of ear buds. They feature 11mm drivers. With the Titan 2.0 upgrade, features were added, including a microphone and a thicker cable for better durability.
  • 50/50 - A higher-end model of SkullCandy's ear bud line. With 11mm drivers, the 50/50 features a larger, more rugged housing made with polymer and aluminum.
  • Chops - SkullCandy's traditional ear buds that are not in-ear. A redesign in 2014 brought an over-ear clip to the Chops.
    • Chops In-Ear - Sport variation introduced in 2014 with all the features of the Method ear buds.
  • The Fix - SkullCandy's premium 10mm driver traditional ear buds. As of 2014, The Fix is now an off-axis in-ear ear bud, similar in design to the Smokin' Buds 2. Designed also for women under the name "Bombshell".
  • Method - The Method is SkullCandy's sport ear bud introduced in 2014. These ear buds are water resistant and introduced antimicrobial sticky-gels that keep the ear buds in one's ear even with rigorous exercise. Also features antimicrobial water-resistant Mic1 button module, as well as a clip to fasten the cord to clothing for stability while moving.
  • Strum - SkullCandy's luxury ear buds, released in 2015. Designed entirely around comfort, borrowing elements from their Smokin' Buds 2 and current model of The Fix.


  • Uprock - SkullCandy's entry-level on-ear headphone. An upgrade in 2014 introduced a flat cable and improved low-frequency performance.
  • Icon - Introduced the on-cup "Taptech" play/pause/next/prev/take call/end call button. The current model is the Icon 3.
  • Cassette - SkullCandy's portability headphone. These headphones are very compact when folded, and feature speaker drivers that can be removed from the body and be placed into supported helmets, beanies, and hoodies.
  • Hesh - SkullCandy's flagship headphone, featuring 50mm drivers. The Hesh 2 was released in 2013.
    • Hesh 2 Wireless - Bluetooth-capable wireless model of the Hesh 2, released in late 2014. Up to 10-hour battery life.
  • Crusher - Released in 2013. These over-ear headphones introduced the "Sensation55" bass driver, which simulates dedicated subwoofers in each cup.
  • Aviator - SkullCandy's premium over-ear headphone.
    • Navigator - A smaller on-ear version of the Aviator. Designed also for women under the name "Knockout".
  • Grind - SkullCandy's lifestyle on-ear headphone introduced in 2015. Incorporates the "Taptech" play/pause/next/prev/take call/end call button on the left earcup as featured on the Icon 3 and Hesh 2 Wireless, and designed to be more durable than other headphones.
  • Uproar - A crossover between Uprock and Grind, released in 2015. They are mid-grade headphones featuring Uprock's profile, and Grind's drivers, Taptech button, and synthetic leather ear pads.
  • Gaming headsets
    • PLYR1 - SkullCandy's high-end wireless gaming headset. Featuring a flip-up pivoting boom mic, heat-resistant materials, and Dolby 7.1 surround sound. Compatible with PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, with unofficial compatibility with Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, and iOS and Android devices.
    • PLYR2 - A less-expensive version of PLYR1, lacking Dolby 7.1 surround, instead featuring Dolby 5.1 surround. Compatible with PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with unofficial compatibility with Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, and iOS and Android devices.
    • SLYR - Wired gaming headset featuring a design that allows the boom mic to be hidden when not in use. Compatible with PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with unofficial compatibility with Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, and iOS and Android devices.


  • Air Raid - Military-inspired durable stereo Bluetooth speaker featuring 50mm drivers, introduced in 2013. Water and sand-resistant. Up to 14-hour battery life.
  • Ambush - Durability-focused mono Bluetooth speaker introduced in 2014. Designed to be attached to backpacks and bicycles, as it features a built-in bungee. Water and sand-resistant. Up to 12-hour battery life.
  • Shrapnel - Drop-proof amp-shaped mono Bluetooth speaker introduced in 2014. Features the 50mm driver present in the Air Raid. Water and sand-resistant. Up to 10-hour battery life.
  • Soundmine - Compact mono Bluetooth speaker introduced in 2014. Water and sand-resistant. Up to 8-hour battery life.

Discontinued Products[edit]

  • Double Agent - Headphones with advanced track/volume control, and an SD card slot, allowing the headphones to operate as a standalone audio player. Rechargeable with up to 8-hour battery life. Discontinued in 2010.
  • Riot - Polymer/aluminum ear buds with 11mm drivers. Discontinued in 2012. Succeeded by 50/50.
  • Mix Master - SkullCandy's high-end performance headphones. Features swivel cups. Discontinued in North America in Fall 2014, but is still available in Europe.
  • Lowrider - Headphones that serve as a step up from the Uprock, with leather-like ear pads, cups that swivel, and a compact-folding. The ear pads were redesigned from leather-like padding to the cloth of the Uprock in 2014. Discontinued in North America upon the Uprock's sound upgrade in Fall 2014. Still available in Europe.


  1. ^ "Skullcandy - Crunchbase". Crunchbase. 
  2. ^ "Skullcandy adds Scot Carlson as vice president of finance". 2008-04-01. 
  3. ^ "vSpring Capital Releases Its List of the 2008 Top 100 Venture Entrepreneurs". SYS-CON Publications. 2008-03-16. 
  4. ^ Cannon, Karl R. (2007-04-03). "20 patents include core brace". Deseret News Publishing Company. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  5. ^ Copeland, Michael (2008-12-30). "The world's coolest ear buds". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  6. ^ "Skullcandy Feeds Your Head". Salt Lake Tribune. 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2009-04-20. 
  7. ^ "Form S1 for Skullcandy, Inc.". 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  8. ^ Berman, Dennis (2011-02-01). "Skullcandy IPO? Check Your Head". Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  9. ^ "Market Watch: The Game: Skullcandy IPO is a Headscratcher". 2011-02-01. 
  10. ^ Peterson, Tim. "Kevin Durant Takes Kate Upton to Work in Skullcandy Ad". Adweek. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 

External links[edit]