Native Instruments Decides Music Trade Shows Kompletely Useless

native-instrumentsNative Instruments sent a big F.U. to the music trade industry today, announcing that it will no longer appear at NAMM, Musikmesse and other trade shows:

Berlin, July 7th, 2009 – Native Instruments today announced that it will no longer maintain a booth presence at industry tradeshows like the NAMM Show, Musikmesse or AES in the future. The company has decided to instead prioritize online communication channels to engage with customers directly even stronger, and to allocate budgets accordingly.

This shift in priorities is exemplified by the new sophisticated rich-media website that Native Instruments launched recently, and will be continued through the establishment of further innovative online channels and other means of direct communication in the future.

“Times are changing and we have seen tradeshows become increasingly less relevant for our industry,” says Pablo La Rosa, International Marketing Director at Native Instruments. “By focusing our efforts in online communication and direct-to-customer events, we reach out to today’s musicians and producers in a way that we believe is more efficient for us and more engaging for them.”

This is bad news for music trade shows, because if Native pulls out, others are likely to follow. This may make sense for individual companies, but may be a loss for the music industry as a whole.

The announcement is a sign of the decline of the music trade show as an event to get excited about. It’s always been fun to see the smorgasbord of announcements that come out of an event like NAMM, and also to get the perspective of seeing and hearing a huge variety of gear in one location. It remains to be seen whether something new will emerge that can match the excitement of huge trade events.

It’s puzzling, though, that Native Instruments cites its new website as one of the reasons for the move.

Native calls a “new sophisticated rich-media website”.  Synthtopia readers, though, call the new site “rubbish” and “a post-apocalyptic view of Flash hell”.

Native Instruments new site seems amateurish, as if the company paid no attention to usability, accessibility or findability in creating it. They’ll need to fix the site quickly if they expect it to be able to take the place of their presence at trade shows.

What do you think about the announcement? Are music trade shows dead? Or do you think this is just a cost-cutting measure for Native Instruments?

Leave a comment with your thoughts!

13 thoughts on “Native Instruments Decides Music Trade Shows Kompletely Useless

  1. Hmmmm… Sounds like NI may be having cash troubles? At least that's the first thing I thought when I heard about the "Kompletely insane sale".

    One would think that the visibility alone at the trade shows would be worth it – just to keep the brand out there. I know lots of gearheads that follow stuff like NAMM religiously.

    I mean, maybe it's less useful for software products. Then again, there's "Maschine".

    Just sounds weird.

  2. Considering I live in Australia, this has no effect on me.

    However I do find this comment curious:

    "This may make sense for individual companies, but may be a loss for the music industry as a whole."

    If it doesn't make sense (in terms of sales from product exposure) for an individual company to attend a trade show why on earth should any of them bother? They are not charities.

  3. I can't say much about the shows. Never been there.
    But I find the site for pain in the ass as a customer. Yeah it looks pretty, but it's 2009. They have to pay more attention to the usability in my opinion.
    Argh… who creates B2C sites entirely in flash anymore???

  4. I hope they spend their resources on UPDATING REAKTOR! It can do more than all their other products combined….c'mon, hook a brother up!

    Yer Pal,

  5. Sam

    An event like NAMM gets a lot of attention because there are so many announcements. This drives attention to the products on show and raises the knowledge level of 100,000 people in the industry in one weekend. Companies may save money by skipping shows like NAMM, but that will diminish the power of big events to capture people's attention, and companies may have to fight to generate that sort of hype.

  6. I don't think we should be bashing them to much. They put out great products and have worked hard to establish a name. A good example would be Radiohead. They worked for years to become greats and then they decided to give away their music. I don't think it was cash issues, but mainly a new technique of communication.

    Also I would rather get insider news directly from them and not be deprived of NAMM and get second hand news on a blog somewhere. I actually think this is a great move, with pros and cons of course.

    I am a graphic and webdesign and i think the new site is pretty good. Flash comes with some backdraws but they have compressed their containers really well to deliver dynamic information with low load times.

    Good move NI, we shall see what comes from it.

  7. Yes, they need to update Reaktor, it's been too long. I'm not a fan of their new site, but the old one did need an upgrade.

  8. I'd rather think NI is Kompletely useless..
    Unusable software, impossible to install, over consumming CPU for nothing, ….
    Forget about this "customer repellent" company 😉

  9. well, I've used Komplete for ages, and I love a lot of the instruments, so I guess its a matter of opinion.

    But, I have to say, this reeks of trouble. A company that is cutting back on trade shows is no biggie. A company that is cutting back on tradeshows immediately after announcing massive price cuts sounds like a company with cash problems.

    Here is the thing, companies cannot simply not turn up at trade shows where they are expected to be, that is a PR fiasco. Not turning up after this announcement will damage them enough as it is. So, the question is, what is going on?

    I would not be surprised to see a deal with another company pretty soon.

  10. As a owner of komplete and kore, I have to say that I’m bummed that I can’t view the new website on my iPhone. 🙁 because it’s all flash based.
    Then again the lack of flash on the iPhone is all on apple! Boo!


  11. I see what you mean about Flash hell. It's even slow on a 10Mb connection. And it played me a commerical for the product I'd selected … which it had already showed me.

    This is the kind of dumb idea only an executive could come up with. As when Gibson managed to kill Opcode. Oh well … NI has a nice stable of (over-priced) products – good luck.

    P.S. Who decided to insist I have to use a 'name' longer than two characters … the only site on the web … another example of executive decision-making?

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