Prototype engineer Avery Louie over at Bolt Blog , a platform on Medium that explores the intersection of hardware and software, took apart a pair of Beats by Dre headphones as a part of the blog’s How It’s Made series.
Once disassembled, he determined that the cost of the parts used, or the cost of goods sold, is about $16.89 -- labor and shipping not included. Beats retail for around $199 and up.
Louie found that about a third of the weight of a pair of headphones comes from four small metal parts that he says are there for the sole purpose of adding weight.
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The post also pointed out the minimal use of screws, which are “cheap but tedious to install, hence nearly every part on this product is snapped or glued together."
Branding is the real power behind the sky-high cost of Beats headphones, with founders like Dr. Dre and Jimmy Lovine, Beats have become a staple in music pop culture.