Most of us are familiar with Native Instruments, the German music software and hardware behemoth responsible for beloved products like Traktor, Maschine and some of the best film scoring tools available. The big news is that Native Instruments is restructuring, and has already confirmed that 20% of their staff has been laid off. Here’s an overview of the damage and what professional DJs can expect going forward.
Native Instruments is the global leader in computer music production. So why are they restructuring? According to their press release, Native claims that “customers today are expecting a seamlessly integrated experience when consuming and accessing creative goods and services.” The aim, then, is overall consolidation of the user experience. This means that users will depend more heavily on their allegiance to Native Instruments, which will result in higher switching costs to other services. In all probability, Native Instruments will come to resemble a closed standard vendor lock-in. In other words, greater market loyalty to the brand by customers will be required.
What does this mean?
While Native Instruments does provide an endless waterfall of software instruments and samples to us, the end-of-the-line result of this type of lock-in is a certain conformity in the sound. Those who continue to ride the Native Instruments train will produce work that sounds a little more like everyone else using Native Instruments. The toolkits made available to DJs will likely be ever more homogenized. In other words, it will become increasingly easy to identify the samples and sounds populating hit songs and increasingly demanding on DJs competing for attention who look elsewhere for their unique sound.
Boomtown for DJs
But that’s a long-term dystopia. Native Instruments is equipping itself to capitalize on its market leadership by creating one of those ‘walled gardens’ we’ve been hearing about. This time, one that owns and licenses music tools in the same way that iTunes owns the MP3 sales and distribution model. Yeah, it’s closed off unless you have the buy-in cost. But what a party once you’re in. Imagine a monolithic German music creation powerhouse at your back.
It’s an emotional time indeed for the employees who got laid off, and Native claims to be finding other opportunities for them. But in the long run, it’s an inevitable step for a company to remain in business. Customer behaviors are changing worldwide. Native’s ultimate aim appears to be one of building a unified platform, one that would create an expandable commercial and technological stage for growth in the future of digital music production. Get savvy to the changing times by registering for a DJ course on with DJ Courses Online.
John Bartmann is a music producer and DJ