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NI-reviews

NI-reviews  ·  Source: NI-reviews

Something seems to be badly amiss at Native Instruments. We understand that the company has been laying off workers. And reading NI employee reviews on Glassdoor is like walking through burning crash wreckage. Pouring fuel on that fire, Behringer – ever the masters of subtlety – have taken to social media to reach out to ex-NI staff to remind that them the company has dozens of vacant positions… It’s all a bit mad, isn’t it?

Shocking employee reviews

Recent posts on the company review site Glassdoor.co.uk paint an alarming picture of the state of things at Native Instruments. One former employee posted on the 29th August that:

Today you (the management) fired over 100 of your employees. Some working for this company since more than 15 years, many with family and kids. If you would have the tiniest bit of dignity you would step down and honestly apologize.

Another talks about the mental health of employees living in limbo with no communication and no trust in the management. Many reviews talk about the disconnection of the CEO and higher management. There are mentions of a sexist work environment, low pay and lack of motivational benefits. The “last 3 months” are referenced several times and appear to refer to multiple lay-offs both at the USA and German offices, the cancellation of projects and innovation, bureaucracy and a lack of any kind of clear road map.

All of the negative comments, often by employees who are and have been working there for years, are directed squarely at the CEO and Executive Board. There’s a lot of anger caused by the lay-offs and the lack of communication. Some reviews reflect a perception that staff are not listened to and that the management don’t understand the products or the passion of their staff. On the positive side, they all seem to agree that the free coffee is good.

These are anonymous reviews from disgruntled or former employees so that should be taken into consideration. But there are enough negative reviews to bring the overall rating of Native Instruments down to 2.1 stars. It’s impossible for us to know exactly what’s going on. I was heartened to see that Native Instruments had responded to some of the negative reviews with a promise of getting together and talking about the issues. Although “too many useless meetings” was another one of the gripes.

NI CEO Responds

Native Instruments has issued a press release about the recent layoffs and their vision for the future. CEO Daniel Havers spoke about the restructuring of the company to focus on their vision of “One Native” platform strategy. The gist is that they’ve had to make some difficult decisions in order to restructure themselves from a multi-brand company to a single platform orientated company. Although the company revenue continues to grow they’ve had to reduce the headcount globally by 20%. He says that the hardest part of the transition is letting go of employees and they regret the impact it has had on them, their families and community.

This was the most difficult decision we had to make in our entire history, as our past successes have been enabled by the work of some of the best and most passionate people in the music industry. We thank all employees for their commitment, hard work, and their high degree of loyalty to Native Instruments. We are fully committed to doing all we can to take care of our employees impacted during this difficult time, (Daniel Haver).

The new centralised platform will launch in 2020 and I guess we’ll see if their restructuring has paid off. The statement sounds impressive but doesn’t seem to tell you very much and I sympathise with the employee comments about a lack of transparency. For example:

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.

Got that? Good. See below for NI’s full statement.

For me Native Instruments has been an awesome company with an exciting product line. I’ve followed their journey right from the beginning when I was involved in the UK distribution of their products when they first released Generator back in 1996. The technologies and standards that revolve around products such as Reaktor and Kontakt are unmatched, their NKS format is future-looking and brings hope of standardisation to the plug-in control market, and their hardware releases of keyboard controllers, audio interfaces and the awesome Maschine have cool designs and represent the standard by which others are measured. I find the reviews on Glassdoor terribly sad. I hope whatever the vision for “One Native” is that it can be shared and communicated with the people who put the work in to make it happen.

Meanwhile back at Behringer

It appears that the layoffs at Native Instruments have not gone unnoticed at Behringer. Yesterday they posted a not-so-cryptic message to Facebook suggesting that a “well-known DJ manufacturer in Germany has been laying off 200+ engineers” and that they happen to have openings for 50 digital hardware, DSP and software engineers and they should get their CVs in. That actually might be a lifesaver for former NI employees.

Behringer Facebook post

Behringer Facebook post

We’re not sure how this is going to play out but we’re hoping that Native Instruments can find themselves again.

More information

NI Statement in full

Native Instruments centralizes organization and reduces global headcount to focus on platform strategy.

Berlin, August 29, 2019 – Native Instruments, the world’s leading provider of software and hardware for computer-based music production, announced today a plan to centralize their global business operations, which includes a headcount reduction of 20% across all locations. The key reason for this difficult 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. This change comes despite growing revenues in 2018 and the first half of 2019, but as a response to an increasing cost structure due to the company’s previous divisional setup and multi-brand approach.

“Today is a very emotional day for the Native community. 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,” said Daniel Haver, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “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,“ he added.

Global headcount reduction of 20%

As a consequence of the company’s newly centralized organization to focus on its future strategy, Native Instruments had to make the difficult decision to reduce its workforce by around 100 employees across all sites. With most of the affected employees located at the company’s headquarters in Berlin, the departments that were impacted by the consolidation include Sales & Distribution, Marketing & Product Management, Administration and Engineering. All employees were informed about these changes on Thursday, August 29, 2019. The company regrets the impact this has on their employees, their families and the community. In addition to severance packages and outplacement services, Native Instruments has also established contacts with other Berlin-based companies that are currently looking for highly qualified personnel.

“This was the most difficult decision we had to make in our entire history, as our past successes have been enabled by the work of some of the best and most passionate people in the music industry. We thank all employees for their commitment, hard work, and their high degree of loyalty to Native Instruments. We are fully committed to doing all we can to take care of our employees impacted during this difficult time,” said Daniel Haver.

New platform starting in 2020

Recognizing changing customer behaviors worldwide, the aim 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. For that, a new platform is currently being developed with the goal of offering new ways of accessing the company’s core products and services, as well as complementary ones from third-parties. The centralized platform will also include the company’s expanded portfolio of loops and samples, which is currently part of sounds.com, and will launch in 2020. The company’s previous divisional structure, functional and brand silos, did not allow for a successful implementation of this strategy up until this point. “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,” said Mate Galic, Native Instruments’ Chief Innovation Officer and President. “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.”

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.

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Guest

if you want to see a worse glass door page than NI, go take a long look at the Behringer one – nobody writing article about that though.


Dane
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There was a sale this week directly at NI of a limited edition Maschine MK3 in orange, 100 worldwide. I was registered for the sale, and had the browser page open to come back to it, but somehow forgot about it and now it’s sold out. In hindsight I feel lucky. Without this news here it might have looked as some kind of anniversary sale where surely the market price of the unit would go up. But now it looks like making quick cash – sale price of 599 Euros which goes directly to NI in comparison to street price… Read more »


Clark
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I was thinking of applying a few months ago but decided not to due to the Glassdoor reviews, I guess that was the right choice. As a consumer, I hope they can get their act together.


Marcel
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Maybe it’s all about products that doesn’t work properly and they don’t want to fix the problem. Check this: https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.native-instruments.com
I will never buy Native Instruments again… unless they will solve my problem properly.