Around 100 jobs have been cut across the music tech giant’s offices worldwide.
Native Instruments has laid off 20% of its workforce worldwide as part of a shift towards what it describes as a “platform” strategy.
In a statement sent to CDM, the company behind Maschine, Traktor and Massive said the layoffs (which amount to around 100 staff members) were part of a plan to “centralize their global business operations” and focus on developing a “new, unified and fully integrated platform” on which the company’s range of products and services will be available next year.
NI’s statement suggests that the cuts are not motivated by declining profits (it says revenue has grown in 2018 and the first half of 2019), but a company restructure that will reduce costs by streamlining its operation and reorganizing the remaining employees inside the Sales & Distribution, Marketing & Product Management, Administration and Engineering teams most impacted by the news.
“Today is a very emotional day for the Native community,” said Daniel Haver, CEO and co-founder of NI. “We’ve been driving innovation in music creation since the 1990s. First through software instruments, then by expanding to an integrated ecosystem with complementing hardware and now by creating a unified platform experience for the modern music producer.
“To make this transformation successful, we needed to adapt our strategy, including a centralized functional setup that can support our vision of ‘One Native’. Unfortunately, this also means we had to make some tough decisions and part ways with a number of employees. This has been the hardest part of this transformation.”
Mate Galic, Native Instruments’ Chief Innovation Officer and President, offered further hints as to the company’s “One Native” strategy in the statement, saying:
“Customers today are expecting a seamlessly integrated experience when consuming and accessing creative goods and services. We are confident that we can offer music producers worldwide a unique and premium experience by connecting our existing ecosystem of award-winning software and hardware to a centralized online service.
“In the past, we expanded in different product lines, which was also reflected in our organizational structure. Our platform vision, however, requires a much more collaborative approach, having all parts of the company work together towards one common goal.”
In recent years, Native Instruments has made investments outside the software and hardware worlds into online services, purchasing music rights startup Metapop in 2017 and launching subscription-based sample service sounds.com in 2018.
Last year, NI embarked on one of the largest product launches in its history, releasing a whole range of budget-conscious, entry-level keyboards, controllers and hardware aimed at novice producers.
Update, September 5: NI releases an addendum to its statement
In a follow-up piece at CDM, Peter Kirn says that former staff members have confirmed other layoffs at NI over the summer, bringing the total job losses to around 150.
NI also clarified a few points in a Q&A, also sent to FACT by NI. In its answers, the company explained why it had to cut jobs and whether users should be concerned about ongoing support for its products. It also confirmed integrated hardware is still part of the company’s business, as is its DJ platform, Traktor.
If Native is building a new platform, why were resources cut?
Our new organization aims to break down functional and brand silos that have developed over time through the continuous expansion of our portfolio. Given our broad spectrum of products and the overlap between roles, it means that certain areas of product development are affected more than others by the redundancies. In the past, we have simply been doing too much at the same time and this strategic change as well as internal remapping of talent will allow us to move forward in a more effective and collaborative way.
With the focus on a platform strategy, do users need to be concerned about support for and investment in existing products?
We are fully committed to our existing brands Komplete, Maschine and Traktor. The reason why we are focusing on a platform strategy is actually to improve the experience for all users of our products. We strongly believe that by improving accessibility and usability of our portfolio, we will be able to provide an enhanced and more cohesive experience, both for existing and new customers. Rather than releasing more and more products, we want to ensure that users are getting the most out of our current products through a connected and unified experience.
Will Native Instruments continue to release integrated hardware?
Creating deeply integrated experiences between hardware and software remains at the
core of our vision. However, we want to deliver more value to users of our hardware by implementing new features in the software that will allow for a better overall experience of our ecosystem.
What about the future of Traktor?
We continue to be fully committed to our DJ platform Traktor and its passionate users. Also within the DJ domain, we are focusing on improving the software experience, building on the creative and modular legacy of Traktor for both desktop and mobile. Supporting this, we are also continuing to evaluate the right accompanying hardware products. In fact, Traktor users can expect a new hardware controller this year.