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Twitter Invests In Muzik, a High-End Headphone Startup

Peter Kafka
Source: Musik

Here is something you didn't expect to hear about coming out of CES this year: Twitter has invested in Muzik, a "connected headphone" company.

This isn't an Apple-Beats sized-deal—Muzik says it has raised $18 million over a couple of years, and Twitter is one of several investors—but it's still an interesting one. And while Twitter has been putting money into other companies via its Twitter Venture arm, this is Twitter's first investment in hardware.

Muzik makes wireless headphones that give users the ability to control the tunes they're hearing by swiping on buttons on the outside of the device.

They can also use those buttons to share clips of songs they're listening to to social networks. And Twitter's deal means that it will be integrated directly into the headphones; Muzik will get to show off some of its stuff as part of Twitter's CES display in Las Vegas this week.

Muzik's first set of headphones, meant to compete with the likes of high-end/high-status brands like Apple's Beats, will cost $299 and are supposed to start shipping in May. The company says it will have an in-ear model at $199 later this summer, and both Twitter and Muzik execs say the company's technology will migrate into other products down the line.

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It's fair to ask why you would need headphones that let you share music to social services, since any music service you'd listen to on those headphones — Spotify, Apple Music, etc. — already has sharing features built in to their phone apps. And if you're using headphones to listen to music, it's very likely that you're using them with your phone.

But Muzik CEO Jason Hardi thinks he has a good idea, and he's been at it for a while. Muzik first showed off a version of the headphones in 2013. Since then he has stopped and started while refining the product. Now he says he's geared up for a full-fledged launch.

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Meanwhile music has become a big deal for Twitter, even if the company hasn't quite figured out the best way to capitalize on it. Twitter says music is the the most-discussed topic on the service, and some of its most-followed users are musicians; I would assume Muzik would like to enlist some of them to promote their stuff.

By Peter Kafka, Re/

CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Re/code's parent Revere Digital, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.