Skullcandy – “Every revolution needs a soundtrack.” Brand History

Discover how Skullcandy has been shaping revolutions with its iconic sound, proving that every movement deserves a powerful soundtrack.
skullcandy history

Do you remember what cell phones and headphones were like in 2003? Then these two gadgets were not connected to each other; music was listened to through CD players. Manufacturers were just beginning to think: “What if?…” But it’s one thing for big players who are used to thinking many steps ahead and another for ordinary Park City resident Rick Alden. During those years, he collected snowboard bindings and fishing reels. This is where the story of headphone manufacturer Skullcandy begins.

First Skullcandy Portable Link product

As a consumer, Rick Alden was constantly frustrated by the amount of unnecessary movement and switching between devices to make calls and listen to music. “I was answering a phone call, and music was playing in my headphones.

I had to turn it off, then go into the phone and switch to receiving a call… I thought about how I could combine everything together – and that’s how Skullcandy was born on a cable car.” (This was very inconvenient, considering that at that moment I was ascending on a cable car.

The decision to combine taking calls and listening to music came to me spontaneously, and this idea laid the foundation for the Skullcandy brand.

Skullcandy’s first product was the Portable Link, a device that combined headphones and hands-free telephone technology. Thanks to this, the user was able to listen to music on his player and simultaneously receive and make calls on his phone. Rick Alden’s idea became a breakthrough at CES 2003 in Las Vegas.

Why a skull?

An energetic and rebellious brand created for young people who value freedom most of all. Its logo is one of the most recognizable in the West, we are not talking about the post-Soviet space.

Skullcandy is not just a headphone company, it also inspires and creates a distinctive lifestyle.

The symbol is an image of a skull, representing the rebellious spirit of the brand and its motto “Every revolution needs a soundtrack.” A provocative and extravagant pirate logo that attracts attention.

Skullcandy headphones

At the time, the portable audio market was a monochromatic sea of ​​black and white headphones. The designers at Skullcandy realized it was time to pick up a brush and paint the headphones in bright colors. According to the publication Inc. The company’s ideas were similar to Dorothy’s Landing in Oz: the market clearly needed color.

Unlike many businessmen, Rick Alden did not focus on the consumer; he did not care what he said and thought about. He also tried not to think about the fact that there was competition. One of Skullcandy’s revolutionary ideas is simple: if people wear sunglasses to express themselves through beautiful frames, why not do the same with headphones? For many, headphones are not just a device for listening to music, but also a full-fledged accessory for creating a bright and memorable image. Now this idea does not seem like something “extraordinary”, but in the “2000s,” it was a break in the pattern. The design of many headphones back then was ossified.

You can imagine the reaction to the Skullcandy Aviator headphones, which took inspiration from the iconic Ray-Ban sunglasses. For some reason, a picture appeared in my head in which an F-16 pilot walks along the deck of an aircraft carrier in a flight jacket, aviator glasses, and Skullcandy headphones – a typical Hollywood image. Then the company offered the market in-ear headphones with a coconut design, The Coconut.

At the Skullcandy office, Rick Alden built a skateboard ramp right in the lobby for the team to sit back and relax. This approach reflects the entire philosophy of the brand; headphones are made “for the streets”; they should not gather dust on shelves.

According to the creator, Skullcandy is a lifestyle: constantly on the move, through snow, wind, and obstacles.

By the way, one of Rick’s effective ideas is to sell his headphones in sports stores and small shops. The result is that the brand has become one of the most popular in the United States with a turnover of more than $300 million.

Schoolchildren began to buy headphones with skulls en masse. In the nostalgic 2007 and later, Skullcandy headphones were very common in Russia.

They were popular among teenagers and affordable. The skull logo was able to successfully integrate into the subcultures of that time.

Entering the global market and the crisis

In 2011, Skullcandy began listing its shares on Wall Street. From our point of view, this move forced the company to play by the general rules, and it lost some of its originality.

Soon, the “viral” Beats entered the market and all the players, headlong, ran to repeat their successful designs, the company from Park City was no exception.

The reckless nature of Skullcandy, which was so loved by many users, at that time was replaced by a business approach, which did not fit into the ramp for skating around the office.

Skullcandy played by the rules of the financial market, which significantly undermined their credibility as pioneers and street rebels in the world of audio.

In 2013, its sales fell by 30%, and the company found itself in a deep crisis.


The turning point for the brand was the departure from the stock market and a return to its roots with a new director, Hobie Darling, who moved from the sports giant Nike. The new team once again focused on the active user who wants to listen to music while skiing on the slopes or working out in the gym.

In 2019, Skullcandy launched a new campaign, “12 Moods,” in which young artists and athletes tell their stories, and then the manufacturer introduced a limited edition of headphones with custom designs and colors. Skullcandy has focused all its efforts on creating wireless headphones, as it understands that they are the future.

The company’s line includes all three form factors of wireless headphones: TWS, on-ear, and in-ear.

The American brand made a triumphant return to the market, releasing more products than in all previous years.

Perhaps one of the most striking new products is the Crusher ANC headphones with the motto “Sound in a deeper dimension.” Engineers have improved their proprietary dynamic Sensory Bass driver, which first appeared in headphones back in 2004,

It is worth saying that the company relies only on its internal resources, it did not purchase speakers from third-party manufacturers.

Skullcandy has its own team of engineers, a new headquarters in the mountains of the Park City Olympic Park, and its own sound laboratories and anechoic chambers, in the best traditions of audiophile manufacturers.

It has been noticed that the Skullcandy team works very energetically and relaxes without leaving the office. Two brand principles: Banded Together and Fresh Tracks in action.

Posted By:

Muhammad Tahir

A sound product specialist with a passion for helping others make informed decisions about audio equipment. With years of experience in identifying quality products and their features, I'm excited to share my honest experiences and recommendations with you. Let's connect and get started on your audio journey today!


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