Jason Hardi Pioneers Smart Headphones
by jared shapiro
Muzik founder Jason Hardi on Miami Beach. “The music industry has gone through a lot of trouble over the last several years. Spelling Muzik the way we do is our attempt to make a fresh new approach.”
Lying on the beach blasting the latest Robin Thicke song on your headphones makes it hard to get motivated to do anything else. But imagine if there was a button right there on your wireless headphones that allowed you to share your groove-inducing beat with the rest of the world, say via Facebook or Twitter, and powered by Rdio or Spotify streaming music services, without any effort. Slide your finger to the left, and you change songs. Slide it down to mute the volume (and hear the waves crashing) or up to drown out the plane flying overhead. Welcome to Muzik, the first smart headphones.
“Every other headphone in the world lets you listen to music, but now imagine a headphone that allows you to share that experience,” says Jason Hardi, the creative force behind Muzik, the social software company he founded in the heart of South Beach. Born in LA, Hardi moved to New York at a young age, and the claustrophobic culture of the concrete jungle led him to start inventing at the age of 10. “The user experience is most important to me, no matter the product. I enjoy taking on the challenge of solving problems and building solutions.”
Fast-forward to 2013, and the self-confessed techie geek is leading the charge for a game changer in music. “Instagram lets you post pictures, and your friends can follow you. We do the same thing for music.” After helping rapper 50 Cent create SMS Audio headphones in New York, Hardi, a recent transplant to Miami, is betting on this town’s cultural influx to help propel Muzik onto the heads of music fans everywhere. “The headquarters had to be in Miami. With the world-class DJs that come, all the people from around the world are here to enjoy Art Basel and the entertainment that goes along with it—when people want to escape their busy lives, they come here to get creative and clear-minded.” It was the perfect vibe for the kid with the “headphones, backwards hat, and tattoos,” says Hardi. “We’re happy to be a part of building the tech space in paradise.”
Three blocks from the ocean, Hardi and his team are doing just that. “We have a software-development kit that allows third-party users to create applications that leverage the power of our headphone,” meaning consumers and techie geeks alike have something to celebrate. Gaming developers can tune the headphones to control head motions on-screen (“to dodge punches in a boxing game or reload artillery in others”); fitness fanatics can program them to choose music based on the exercise they are doing because the headphones will recognize pace and motion. Those functions and the unlimited potential have generated calls from the heavy-hitter mobile carriers. So don’t be surprised if your next smartphone comes with a pair of Muzik’s smart ear-buds.
“I love Miami,” Hardi says. “I’ve been very busy traveling all over the world, and there’s never a feeling like the one I get when I come home and cross over that bridge.”
photography by nick garcia