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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 $99 Crushers. The latter of which was backed by an extensive publicity campaign regarding the "subwoofer" effect of the bass drivers contained therein. This campaign resulted in video advertisements featuring athletes and artists selected to sponsor the brand offering their opinion of the headphones' bass response.


  • Jib - SkullCandy's budget ear bud featuring 10mm drivers.
  • Ink'd - SkullCandy's flagship ear bud. A second design, 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", with antimicrobial ear gels similar to those in SkullCandy's "sport" ear bud line.
  • Riff - Ear buds that are very similar to Ink'd, but feature an off-axis design for comfort.
  • Smokin' Buds - A mid-range model of ear buds featuring 9mm drivers and a Mic1 inline control button. The Smokin' Buds 2 redesign were released in 2013, changing to an off-axis design intended for better comfort, a flat tangle-free cord and right-angle audio jack. "Dime" is the name SkullyCandy uses to sell this design when styled for female customers.
  • Merge - Ear buds that are very similar to the off-axis Smokin' Buds 2.
  • Titan - A model of the SkullCandy ear buds in the middle of the company's price range. They feature 11mm drivers. With the Titan 2.0 redesign, a including a microphone and a thicker cable, more durable cable were added.
  • 50/50 - A model of SkullCandy's ear bud line at a higher price point. These ear buds have 11mm drivers, and a larger, rugged housing made with polymer and aluminum.
  • Method - The Method is SkullCandy's "sport" ear bud introduced in 2014. Selling points for these ear buds are water resistance, antimicrobial coating and newly implemented sticky-gels intended to stay inserted the ear during rigorous exercise. Also included is a similarly durable Mic1 button module, as well as a clip to fasten the cord to clothing for stability while moving.
  • Chops - SkullCandy's original not in-ear ear buds. A redesign in 2014 added an over-ear clip to hold the ear buds in the ear.
    • Chops In-Ear - "Sport" variation of the above, introduced in 2014, advertised as having all the features of the Method ear buds.
  • The Fix - SkullCandy's "premium" 10mm driver ear buds. As of 2014, The Fix has undergone a redesign, becoming an off-axis in-ear ear bud, similar in design to the Smokin' Buds 2. These earbuds are also sold under the name "Bombshell" when aimed at female customers.
  • Strum - SkullCandy's "luxury" ear buds, released in 2015. Promotional material emphasizes a design focused solely on comfort, borrowing elements from their Smokin' Buds 2 and the 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 iteration is the Icon 3.
  • Cassette - SkullCandy's headphone designed to be very compact when folded, and feature speaker drivers that can be removed from the body and be placed into supported helmets, beanies, and hoodies for portability.
  • Hesh - SkullCandy's flagship headphone, featuring 50mm drivers. The Hesh 2 was released in 2013.
    • Hesh 2 Wireless - Bluetooth-capable model of the Hesh 2, released in late 2014. Advertised maximum 10 hour battery life.
  • Crusher - Released in 2013. These over-ear headphones introduced the "Sensation55" bass driver, which, according to SkullCandy's promotional material, simulates a dedicated subwoofer in each ear cup.
  • Aviator - SkullCandy's premium over-ear headphone.
    • Navigator - A smaller, on-ear version of the Aviator. Under the name "Knockout," this design is sold in styles aimed at female customers.
  • 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. Advertising states that these are designed to be more durable than other Skullcandy headphones.
  • Uproar - Described as a crossover between Uprock and Grind, released in 2015. They are Skullcandy's "mid-grade" headphones featuring Uprock's profile, and Grind's drivers, the aforementioned 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. Unofficial methods may extend the list of compatible platforms.
    • 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, and unofficial compatibility claimed on other platforms.
    • 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 potentially extending use beyond these official platforms.


  • Air Raid - Military-inspired stereo Bluetooth speaker featuring 50mm drivers, introduced in 2013. Military-inspired look also means a focus on durability, with water and sand resistance and a 14-hour potential battery life.
  • Ambush - Durability-focused monophonic Bluetooth speaker introduced in 2014. A built-in bungee, water and sand resistance and a battery life of up to 12 hours are aimed at the target market for this speaker, backpackers and bicyclists.
  • Shrapnel - Amp-shaped monophonic Bluetooth speaker introduced in 2014. Features the 50mm driver present in the Air Raid. Advertised as being water and sand resistant and drop-proof, with possible battery life of 10 hours.
  • Soundmine - Compact, monophonic Bluetooth speaker introduced in 2014. Advertised as being water and sand resistant with a maximum battery life of 8 hours.

Discontinued Products[edit]

  • Double Agent - Headphones that can optionally act as a standalone audio player using the built-in track/volume control and an SD card slot. Rechargeable, with an advertised maximum battery life of 8 hours. 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 remains available in Europe.
  • Lowrider - Intended as an upscale version of the Uprock, these feature imitation leather ear pads, and a compact-folding design including swiveling ear cups. The ear pads were redesigned from imitation leather padding to the cloth of the Uprock in 2014. Discontinued in North America upon the Uprock's redesign in Fall 2014, but remain on sale 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]