HMV taps into fashion headphone craze

The craze for fashion headphones endorsed by pop stars such as Dr Dre and Lady Gaga looks like it could help save troubled music retailer HMV.

A report in today's Guardian says high street music chains and online stores have been reporting bumper sales of hip-hop style 'cans'.

So much so that HMV, faced by collapsing demand for CDs and DVDs, is now concentrating on selling accessories such as headphones, speakers and iPods instead.

"When acts like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber come in to our stores, it is to promote their headphones," HMV boss Simon Fox told The Guardian.

The headphone market has nearly doubled in size in the past five years, with 8.2 million pairs expected to be sold in the UK this year, at a total value of £150m. Prices for fashion headphones can go as high as £350 and beyond.

It's not only Dr Dre with his Monster Beats and Lady Gaga who have got in on the headphone act. Bob Marley's family recently launched the 'House of Marley' range (right), and Monster released its Miles Davis-inspired 'Trumpet' headphones at CES 2011.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.