I just looked up some data. The top 5 headphones manufacturers are Monsters, Beats, Sony, Bose and Sennheiser. The "high end" market is really a "high priced" market. The traditional high end market is targeting older people with disposable income. Today's market is targeting the young hip pop generation. There is a cool factor involved. Every single phone is endorsed by celebrity. Even Simon Cowell (Sony X) and Bob Marley had headphone deals.This is almost like the shoe business. You have Michael Jordon shoes and Shaq shoes and they're all sold for a mint. Beat started their business in 2008 and is number one now. Their business model is not about sound quality but "coolness". I think Beat will be a case study for many years to come. Just like celebrity shoes, are celebrity phones better. Probably not, just more expensive.
The way I see it is that it's a waste of time to bash Beat. People did not buy Beat for the sound quality they bought it for looks. For $200-$300, they think they're getting quality. But how much do average people know about quality. I see people buying fake/homage Beat on Ebay for big bucks.
This is actually troubling. With high margin (Beat are cheap to make) and high profit, everyone is now trying to copy Beat's business model. I'm afraid quality is going to go down and price is going to go up.
Here's a partial list of Marketwatch's (a business web site ) hottest selling headphone list last Christmas :
Sony X $300
Monster Diamond tear $300
Skullcandy customizable starts at $179
Bose Quiet Comfort $300
Sennheiser RS180 $300
House of Marley (is Bob still alive?) $160
Soul by Ludcris $200
Ferrari $350 to $500
Where is the HD580, my favorite phones? Why is Sennheiser not making them any more? In a couple of years we might not be able to get a decent cheap phone any more.