In startling news, the usually fiercely independent Moog Music joins the InMusic family to tap into global distribution and brand expertise.
Moog and InMusic
The news comes in a very enthusiastic letter from Moog Music President Joe Richardson addressed to “our friends, artists, partners, collaborators and community”. It talks about how thrilled they are to join a group of talented and like-minded people and how excited they are about forthcoming innovative hardware and software instruments.
Joe says that the future is bright, and InMusic will help them to bolster their efforts and build upon a 70-year legacy.
It’s a very interesting move, not unlike the one Sequential made with Focusrite in 2021. What’s not in the letter is much of the background on why Moog was looking for a partnership. They allude to the ongoing challenges of a small manufacturer, which we can assume is about chip shortages and supply chain issues that have plagued many companies over the last couple of years. Maybe a merger was the only way forward for Moog Music.
InMusic is a mixed bag of brands. Some have faired very well, like Akai Professional and Numark, whereas others, like Alesis and M-Audio seem a long way from their heyday. It’s been a long time since the Alesis A6 Andromeda and there are no other synth brands on the roster. However, I can see how Air Instruments could do great things with Moog licenses for virtual synths, so there is that.
Regardless of my misgivings, Joe says he was very impressed with InMusic’s CEO, Jack O’Donnell and stories of his first synthesizer being a Moog Modular system. Evidently, there’s a shared passion that they believe will honour the values, mission and legacy of Moog Music.
As far as Moog is concerned, product development will continue to be led by long-time Moog engineer Steve Dunnington. The centre of synthesizer magic will remain in Ashville, North Carolina. Also, since 2015 Moog Music has been 49% owned by the employees, so I wonder how this sale affects that relationship.
According to a reply on Instagram the employee arrangement has come to an end:
Our employee ownership was an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP), which is different than a co-op. As part of this transition, Moog Music is no longer employee owned. All eligible employees who have participated in our ESOP since 2015 will receive a payout as a result.
It will certainly be interesting to see what fruits emerge from this partnership. Will it mean cheaper Moog synths, MPCs with ladder filters, or will it just give them a greater reach into new markets? While it doesn’t seem like a natural fit to me, you’ve got to trust that the people on the ground know what they’re doing, and I wish them all the best.