Native Instruments Reorganizes, Lays Off 20% Of Its Employees

Native Instruments today announced that it was laying off 20% of its staff, as part of a majuor reorganization, intended to streamline its structure and reduce overhead.

NI said, in statement shared with CDM, that the key reason for this decision is “to create the right organizational setup to focus on the development of a new, unified and fully integrated platform on which the company’s entire portfolio of products and services will be available next year.”

Native Instruments CEO Daniel Haver

“Today is a very emotional day for the Native community,” said CEO Daniel Haver. “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.”

Native Instruments’ Unified Platform Strategy

The company says that their goal of focusing on a ‘unified platform strategy’ is to create an expandable commercial and technological basis for future growth in the digital music production area. The new platform will feature the company’s core products and services, complementary ones from third-parties and the company’s expanded portfolio of loops and samples. It’s expected to debut in 2020.

The company says that their previous divisional structure, functional and brand silos did not allow for a successful implementation of their unified platform strategy.

44 thoughts on “Native Instruments Reorganizes, Lays Off 20% Of Its Employees

  1. They probably need to earn more money, and the usual way to achieve this in a liberal World is to kick off people.
    I will not buy their products anymore as I dont like this way if ligne.

      1. Standard low-effort whataboutism bringing Behringer into discussion pointlessly. By the way, where is Native Instruments hardware manufactured? At their price, I very much doubt it is Germany!

      2. I don’t think that they could follow Behringer’s model of moving everything to China, because Native isn’t cranking out clones, they’re making original software designs, original hardware designs and custom sound libraries.

        None of those things seem like they’d translate well to a mass-production model. And the actual product doesn’t even need mass production anymore, since most of their products are software that’s downloaded from their site.

        1. Lol you think Native instruments isn’t mass production? They have a huge range of Chinese made, usb powered software controllers. Have done since about 2010 or there abouts. With Mark 2 and Mark 3 revisions surfacing every other year. Their software is good but Fuck their gear and Apple update cycle bullshit. Arguably that is where they are making quite a bit of their money because the software is quite affordable really.

          1. Chiara makes a good point.

            Native’s products are primarily produced by ‘white collar’ type workers – programmers, sound designers, UI people, etc.

            Behringer’s products are primarily produced through the work of low-paid factory workers. The actual creative work is minimized, because creating something original that’s successful is hard and risky.

            Behringer is basically the Aldi of the music gear market – building their business on knockoffs that are almost as good as the original. So far, the Neutron is the only synth they’ve released that’s not an outright clone or based on a classic synth.

            Not sure why that fact would trigger anybody!

      1. You’d be surprised. the music product biz is much closer to the ideal free market beloved by economists than most sectors, because buyers tend to be extremely well informed about product capabilities and manufacturing standards etc., and because demand is highly elastic..For all you know PieR is Vince Clarke or Susan Ciani.

    1. Unfortunately sometimes companies need to do these things to keep costs down and stay ahead of the game. At the end of the day NI is a business just like any other.

      1. Earnings has to do with money remaining *after expenses* – closely related (and often equated) with profits. Reducing costs _can_ increase earnings by decreasing expenses, and is often a reason for laying off employees.

    2. Where on earth did you get the idea that firing people for profit is “liberal?” It’s as if an entire generation of Americans failed to study political science and logic.

      1. I believe PieR is using the word “liberal” in its classical economic sense–the free market of Adam Smith, etc.–not the way the word “liberal” is used in contemporary politics, meaning progressive. Just google “classical liberalism.”

  2. “Successful implementation of their unified platform strategy” sounds like very tired corporate BS. Corporations talk like that when they really don’t want folks to know what they’re actually doing. So goodbye to 20% of workforce; the rest of you can work 25% harder to make up the difference, right? No? Well goodbye to you too. Regarding what affects me, let me guess: Goodbye to Absynthe and FM8 within the next year.

    1. Exactly. Honest propositions and explanations use plain language; when ‘business talk’ is used to obfuscate someone is getting or staying rich at the expense of others, who are taking the fall for the errors of the wealthy ones. NI makes great products and has plenty to proud of but has made many missteps as well.

  3. I’ve never read such a load of corporate management shit speak. The problem with NI is that if you’ve ever owned any of their hardware (not software), it’s worthless after about two years because it’s been replaced by a newer version. They stop rolling out updates for older versions and only new versions get new features

    I know all hardware companies do this to lesser or greater extents but NI take it to the limit. I wouldn’t ever buy any of their gear again

  4. I’ve seen this happen many times, usually it’s a new CEO who wants to brag about short term numbers, then has to rehire because crucial people were lost and will brag about that as supposed growth. Structurally usually nothing has improved. 2nd option for those non-creative leaders with no problem solving skills is usually mergers.

  5. Maybe they hired too many people when they got the €50 million cash injection and lost their way a little. The delayed and potentially unfinished Massive X was a sign that something wasn’t quite right.

  6. They are high AF if they think everyone is going to be happy to pay them monthly for access to Komplete. Hell, I won’t even upgrade faster than every other or every third version.

    1. Yeah, that tells me the decisions are being made by accountants, not musicians. Being a pro musicians is a financially rough business and it’s a relatively expensive hobby; the number of people who want to sign up to any sort of subscription service is quite small, and idea of subscribing to your instruments/production tools is just madness.

      Nobody is going to get emotionally invested in tools they have to pay for over and over, for the same reason it’s not wise to fall in love with a sex worker (and the sex worker probably doesn’t want clients to develop a personal obsession).

      1. Not sure where the second comment came from – but offering a subscription model is definitely the way things are going.

        Everybody wants to reproduce the success of Adobe. Everybody complained about Adobe’s subscription model when they introduced it, but it’s been a huge success.

        Nobody has $300 to spend on a software synth anymore, or $1500 for a suite of virtual instruments, and that’s literally what they used to cost. There are going to be a lot more people that can pay $15-20/month, so it’s about figuring out how to transition into that market before Roland or someone else owns it.

  7. I really hate how when they rev an important plugin, they don’t introduce the new version “in-place”. In other words if they rev Kontact, then its a new plugin and you have to go back through all your projects and save patches in the old plugin and open them in the new plugin. Because at some point, the older version won’t be supported anymore. Omnisphere figured out how to rev in place, so why can’t NI? And I don’t even think its possible to open legacy Massive patches in Massive X (not that I can run Massive X on my pre-2013 Mac Pro anyway). These headaches with upgrading projects to the latest plugins is huge disincentive to upgrade Komplete. Can’t say I’m surprised they’re struggling…

  8. I have a feeling this will be the end up my upgrade cycle with Komplete. I suspect they will move to a subscription based model and I have zero interest in that. Plus, what I’ve already got with Komplete is more than enough to keep me happy and productive for a few years.

    I wonder how much of the “fat” trimming will come off the top and they’ll attempt to replace it by either working existing employees harder or hiring cheaper replacements.

  9. I tell you this I bought the mother board of maschine the mascgine studio it is an excellent tool but the dual screens are now starting to go out I spent over a 1000 for this hardware when it was released and now it’s going to cost me an additional 150.00 to send to native instruments to be repaired I take really good care of my things and im disappointed in the fact that this is evwn happening considering you get what you pay for. I think you guys should look into better led screens for longevity.

  10. “Vision of ‘One Native'” indeed sounds like corporate BS speak, but I remember glaring incompatibilities between NI’s own software when using NI plugins within NI Maschine. It seemed like all the software under the NI umbrella should have been fairly inter-operable, and it very much wasn’t.

    I researched this, and it turned out that some NI software had different teams working on them, and that the teams worked quite separately from one another. Perhaps this “One Native” vision is to connect the different software teams, and, necessarily, some redundancy is produced when bringing together groups that conduct very similar work. It’s like an inter-departmental merger, perhaps?

  11. When people are being honest they use plain language. When they engage in this sort of corporate incantations and abstraction, someone is getting richer by fucking others over. The reality is that the company is not that well managed and the bottom level employees are paying for the mistakes of management, who won’t be giving back any of their salary or stock to ease the financial pain.

  12. Release after release of various plugins had bugs that were never fixed, though they would go to a lot of trouble to add tons of new features that we didn’t need, and introduce new bugs that broke previous functions in “upgrades” and these would never be fixed, despite people constantly complaining on what appeared to be abandoned and non-company monitored support forums.

    The copy protection they use is a PITA to work with.

    I bought so much of their expensive hardware and a lot of plugins and sound sets that were completely abandoned and wouldn’t run in the next OS update.

    I spent many thousands with them and then completely stopped about 7 years ago because their business practices kept screwing me over. I bet other customers are the same way.

    They have some good engineers there from time to time, but their business people suck. You can only squeeze so much blood out of a turnip.

  13. Very sad. I love everything NI comes out with. So much fun to tinker with. To the NI team that is getting laid off: you did a great job! Thank you.

  14. This is sad news. Although I think that we have to accept the fact that today’s economy obviously follows different rules than 20 years ago. Native Instruments did great software in the late 90ies or even in the early 2000s and personally Iiked the favt that they designed hybrids that use hard- and software. For example with KORE and its successor KORE II (which I really miss – only for its capability of attaching multiple parameters to one knob, including the possibility to define param-ranges or invert the scaling). The Morph-Pad offered possibilities to do transitions I was never able to reconstruct in any other software (regardless of wehter it’s a DAW or any other plugin host). KORE came out too soon for most users, simply because you had to dive into its architecture to get out what it was supposed to be. At that time even their marketing was rather bad… I mean… ‘The Superinstrument’… really? Not to mention that computers not yet offered enough power for its endless possibilities. Then came Maschine and I recognized that the ‘future of sound’ is more a question of collecting and organizing sounds than to explore certain synth engines and create own patches. Up to date it’s still not possible to design FX-patches that are from a quality I was able to realize with KORE. ‘Instant Easyness, don’t waste your time with complex patches!’ …is a trend that has pervertedly grown. Well, don’t get me wrong. If you have to hurry to present a piece of music because you do that for a living and/or to make a deadline, saving time is bliss. But for people who want to create everything by their own because they really love what they do without any pressure of time, it’s sometimes really kind of frustrating.

    The thing is, we’re so much ill-conditioned by the ‘instant access to everything’ that today companies tend to follow the ‘mass production’ of presets, samples, sounds etc. just to let customers ‘feel’ they do individual stuff (and let them pay for stupid subscriptions, just for the sake not to miss anything ‘new’…).

    Well, ‘mass individualism’, as an illness of our time, has touched nearly every aspect of our lives if it’s about maximizing the good feelings of ‘having a great time’. We’ll see how long this remains and when/how this will collapse in the future (that’s probably not too far away but hopefully still with sounds 😉 ).

  15. In other words: Komplete sales are at an all-time low, so now their “solution” is to move Komplete to a subscription-based platform like Output’s “Arcade”. I hate that. This is even more indication that NI rushed development for Massive X simply to boost sales for Komplete. Storm clouds are gathering. The subscription-based business model is NOT the solution to this. QUALITY PRODUCTS ARE!

  16. This sort of thing really makes you hope that our many indie synth and software developers can stay indie, because getting sucked into this corporate vortex seems to kill off all creativity.

  17. Sad to hear this. These types of things are often the beginning of the end of a company. You don’t get rid of 20% to unify some teams and go towards consolidated frameworks. Typically that would be far less people for that sort of transition. Usually getting rid of 20% means your in trouble or are trying to make the company more attractive for purchase. While some on NI’s stuff is good they seem to be somewhat stagnant at this point.

  18. 1. Its amazing to me how many have no clue about free markets and how they operate. (or don’t) 2. How many soft synthesizers to you think the world needs? 1,000? 2,000? 95% of them all sound the same. Same shit. This is possibly the tipping point/warning sign of synth over-saturation, both hard and soft. Look for some very good deals on Eurocrack modules in the very near future. Its gotten ridiculous. New synths every day. Why?

  19. Followed them since the ’90, leaving them right now.

    Massive X is the sign’o’the time for Native Instruments. Be ready for a train of half baked products that need constantly updates, and with updates I mean subscription.

    They innovated, they poured the most money out of it, now they are going to sell more and more products by others.

    I am moving more and more to hardware. More realiable, longer lifecycle, less annoyng stuff.

    I am here to make music not to collect your products or catch your “deals”.

    20% off means they are going to sell. They have actually just sold their soul.

    Goodbye Native Instruments, goodbye.

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