Native Instruments Cuts 20% of Staff in Restructuring

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Company head Daniel Haver tells Billboard layoffs were needed to streamline the company's operations.

Native Instruments, a leading provider of software and hardware for computer-based music production, is cutting 20% of its staff across all locations as part of a plan to centralize its global business operations, the company has confirmed to Billboard. That amounts to around 100 employees, most of whom worked out of Native Instruments' Berlin headquarters. The company notes that affected departments include sales and distribution, marketing and product management, administration and engineering.

In a statement, Native Instruments CEO and co-founder Daniel Haver tells Billboard that the cuts -- which came despite what the company claims were “growing revenues” in 2018 and the first half of 2019 -- were needed in order to create a streamlined organizational setup better suited to the development of a “new, unified and fully integrated platform” that will house its entire portfolio of products and services (as well as complementary third-party products) beginning next year. A press release notes that affected employees were informed on Aug. 29 and that they have been provided with severance packages and outplacement services.

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

The company’s statements contradict rumors of “mass layoffs” at Native Instruments over the last two years, including one that the company’s entire hardware staff had been let go. Native Instruments appeared to dispute the latter claim by claiming that integrated hardware will remain a core focus of the company moving forward.

"Creating deeply integrated experiences between hardware and software remains at the core of our vision," the company stated in a press release. "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."

Founded in 1996, Native Instruments products include Komplete, a collection of virtual instruments and effects; Maschine, a range of beat-making instruments; and Traktor, a line of DJ software and accompanying hardware controllers. The company notes that it will continue to support and invest in its existing products during the transition to the unified platform, which will also house a portfolio of loops and samples that are currently part of its online subscription platform sounds.com.

In his own statement, Native Instruments chief innovation officer and president Mate Galic echoed Haver by saying that cuts were necessary to overcome staff redundancies that had sprung up during the company's expansion into different areas.

“In the past, we expanded in different product lines, which was also reflected in our organizational structure,” Galic added. “Our platform vision, however, requires a much more collaborative approach, having all parts of the company work together towards one common goal.”

Of affected staff, Haver said that Native Instruments has been in contact with other Berlin-based companies to help ease their transition to new work. 

"We are fully committed to doing all we can to take care of our employees impacted during this difficult time,” he said.


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