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New Skullcandy earbuds feature enhanced controls and improved ambient sound monitoring

Published October 6, 2019

MOAB, Utah (BRAIN) — If you're going to listen to music on the bike, Skullcandy wants to make it as safe and efficient as possible.

Its new Vert Wireless Earbuds were a year in development and feature "glove-friendly" access to volume and other controls and designed with "Stay Aware" earbuds, allowing mountain sports athletes — bicyclists, skiers and snowboarders — to hear ambient background noise.

The Vert will retail for $79.99. While Skullcandy products are available at about 5,000 consumer electronics stores, the Vert will be sold only through its approximately 1,500 specialty sports stores like bicycle retailers and on its website.

"Our company mission is to 'unleash the visceral power of music for all,' which means we want to bring exciting music experiences to a broad group of consumers," said Jessica Klodnicki, Skullcandy chief marketing officer. "Our vision is to be the No. 1 brand for the youthful and adventurous audio consumer, so we try to meet our consumer where they are shopping across a wide variety of channels."

The Vert was available for demo during the three-day Outerbike event Oct. 4-6. Kinsey Butler, Skullcandy senior manager of e-commerce marketplaces, and Ben McKee, social media manager, were manning the booth on Oct. 4, five days before the Vert was officially released.

"Music is our lifeblood," Butler said. "The whole impetus of Skullcandy was to hear music on a chairlift and take a call without taking the earbuds out. It goes back to our heritage of being able to make ski, snowboard, bike and music come together."

"Even at full volume, you can hear a conversation crystal clear and still hear the music," McKee added.

The Vert, which has up to 10 hours of use before USB recharging, features a Bluetooth dial that clips to a hydration pack or goggles. To take a call or turn off the volume, tap the dial; to turn down the volume, spin it. The Vert is sweat and water resistant and features Title tracking.

"We want to remain true to the roots of action sports, so if we're going to do that, we want to continue pushing the envelope forward, and this was our answer to that," Butler said. "The goal should be your music shouldn't be a nuisance; it should be an enhancement. Whatever we can do to make it easier for you to be able to do the sport you love, that's the whole intention."

Klodnicki said because the Vert is purposely built for mountain sports athletes, expectations are focused more on brand affinity than sales or unit numbers. Marketing of the Vert is part of Skullcandy's 12 Moods program.

"We celebrate how music makes us feel every single month with a specific mood and color illustrated through exclusive content with artists, athletes and influencers rolled out on all social media channels," Klodnicki said. "This month, we celebrate the mood 'Fearless' through the color black, which was a perfect alignment with the fearless athletes who use our products."

Debuting the Vert at Outerbike Moab was no accident, with Skullcandy headquarters located four hours away.

"Skullcandy was literally born on a chairlift in Park City, Utah, and our team has continued to have a passion for mountain sports," Klodnicki said. "We have 450 miles of mountain bike trails behind our office, so we’ve been inspired to create a product that we all personally want to use."

Skullcandy's new Vert Wireless Earbuds were a year in development.

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