Consumer electronics may not fall under the typical “music tech” umbrella, but it continues to be a huge part of the greater music business (in fact, the highest paid musician of 2012, Dr. Dre, made the bulk of his earnings through his massively popular Beats by Dre headphone line). While music fans may not always decide to pay for the music itself, they’ll clearly pay for the multitude of hardware devices in which to enjoy their music. Enter San Francisco-based portable speaker company Boombotix: bringing a fashionable and highly functional twist to mobile and social music.
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Hisham Dahud: When readers think and hear "music tech", they primarily think of it in the context of software technologies advancing the music space. Rare is it that we report on hardware, but you guys are doing something rather unique. What is the mission behind Boombotix, and who are your core "users"?
Ben Radler: The mission behind Boombotix is to make music listening more social -- our products are designed to be used with friends while being active. Our brand is rooted in the transient lifestyles of bike/skate/snow/surf culture, so our core users have been outdoor, active individuals.
HD: When it comes to consumer music products, the market seems to be basking over fashionable and performance-oriented headphones (Beats, SOL REPUBLIC, etc). You guys are taking slightly different and unique approach, by making the music an outwardly social one (as opposed to headphones, which are intimate), while retaining a focus on style. Why did you choose this route? Is there a void you saw that needed to be filled?
BR: The company was founded on the creation of ultraportable speakers with a direct focus on style and durability. This correlated to a direct need: to listen to music without headphones while on the go. Stemming from the creation of the first Boombot, all of our products are crafted under this ultraportable image: rugged, rechargeable, and water resistant, yet loud enough to propel any impromptu dance party. As such, we can market into the "wearable technology" market, while also retaining our core bike/skate/surf/snow brand identity.
HD: You guys currently have Kickstarter campaign going for your latest creation, the Boombot REX. What exactly is the Boombot REX, and how does it mark a new chapter for Boombotix?
BR: The Boombot REX begins a new chapter of Boombotix, as we're bringing the first truly ultraportable 2.1 speaker system to market. The Boombot REX takes on a new design aesthetic for Boombotix, yet it maintains all of the rugged characteristics and built in clip. The audio of the Boombot REX is powered by two 36mm drivers and a bass woofer, which provide a full spectrum of sound. The Boombot REX also introduces 3-button track/volume controls, a noise-cancelling microphone for handsfree calls, and Siri integration for iOS devices.
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HD: Mobile social music is a common trend among countless music startups, where people share their musical tastes with friends integrating social networks and streaming libraries. How does Boombotix (specifically the REX) aim to capture the essence of mobile social music by taking it offline?
BR: The Boombot REX is a mobile companion device, so you can stream your Facebook-integrated-Spotify library wirelessly to your Boombot REX, and share the tunes with your friends. Our goal is to seamlessly integrate our Boombot products into one's active lifestyle, where they can share their musical tastes with friends as they are together, rather than isolating themselves with headphones.
HD: Do you envision software and hardware integration for Boombotix products to bridge the digital and physical worlds?
BR: We have heard our customers' suggestions on how we can improve music sharing and listening when using Boombotix products, and we are planning to introduce some very cool technology next year.
HD: What else is in store for Boombotix in 2013?
BR: The Boombot REX is just the beginning! 2013 is going to be our biggest year ever, with several additional all-new product introductions. Stay tuned.