Sony is releasing a custom pair of its LinkBuds S earbuds designed in collaboration with pop star Olivia Rodrigo. And the partnership goes beyond just style: this pair of the LinkBuds S will include two custom EQ modes that are optimized for each of Rodrigo’s albums, Sour and Guts.
These profiles were tuned by both Rodrigo and her producer Daniel Nigro and will be available within Sony’s Headphones Connect app when you pair the signature LinkBuds S over Bluetooth. There’s nothing stopping you from using the custom EQ profiles with other content, but it’d probably be wiser to stick with Sony’s other presets when doing so.
As for the outward design, both buds have a purple, marbled exterior — again, Sony claims styled by Rodrigo herself — and accompanying charging case. The marbled pattern is due to a variation of recycled materials used to produce the hardware, which “causes no two pairs of LinkBuds S x Olivia Rodrigo to be the same,” claims Sony.
Outside of the unique shell, these are every bit the same LinkBuds S as the other colors Sony already sells today. They remain among the most comfortable wireless earbuds you can find. The active noise cancellation and sound quality are a couple ticks below the company’s flagship WF-1000XM5 earbuds, but plenty good on their own right.
It’s easy to make a case for the LinkBuds if you’re more concerned with a lightweight fit (and a lighter price). And you’re still getting Sony’s higher-bitrate LDAC Bluetooth codec. That said, it’s also worth mentioning that the company has been contending with an uneven battery drain issue across its earbud lineup that can surface after extended use.
Sony is planning a marketing blitz to give these signature earbuds some major exposure. There’s a marketing video that “exists in the same world as the official ‘bad idea, right?’ music video and is faithful to the artist’s vision and album creative,” according to the company. Sony will also feature the signature LinkBuds S on Times Square billboards and a handful of media activations across Hulu, Spotify, and a spot on Thursday Night Football.
Technically I’m late to the punch, as these LinkBuds S were first announced at a Sony-hosted fan gathering in Tokyo, which marked Rodrigo’s first event in the city. Her massive popularity — over 63.2 million monthly listeners on Spotify — would likely move plenty of units even without the major ad push.
You can preorder Sony’s signature Olivia Rodrigo LinkBuds S beginning today from her website, Sony.com, Amazon, or Best Buy — and thankfully for her fans, there’s no upcharge for this model compared to the standard buds.
Your move, Apple. Long after the U2 iPod, has the time come for some Taylor Swift signature AirPods Pro.