What does a truly democratized music creation landscape look like? Music software and hardware manufacturer Native Instruments aims to tackle this question with a new €50 million (US$59 million) investment from Munich-based private equity firm EMH Partners, announced on Thursday at Amsterdam Dance Event.
To date, the company, which houses over 500 employees across seven offices, has forged product partnerships with the likes of Depeche Mode, Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys and Skrillex — but has further ambitions to cater downmarket to amateur and DIY creators who might not have the same resources. While a growing number of startups like Splice and Trackd are building songwriting and collaboration tools for smaller artists, the overwhelming focus on democratization in the music industry remains on distribution and marketing, rather than on the creative process itself.
“We believe music creation products and services should be integrated in a more appealing, intuitive and cohesive way,” Mate Galic, CTO and President of Native Instruments, said in a statement. “We foresee an easily accessible music creation ecosystem that connects user centric design, with powerful technology and data, to further enable the music creators of today, and welcome the new creators of tomorrow.”
To help realize this vision, Native Instruments will be focused on recruiting tech talent in Berlin, Los Angeles and London in the coming year. The company has made a handful of key hires in Berlin and Los Angeles over the last 12 months — including the acquisition of remix monetization startup MetaPop, whose former CEO Matthew Adell now serves as Native Instruments’ chief digital officer. In addition, Native Instruments will continue to improve upon several of its existing products aimed at innovating around the DJ-producer experience, including the popular DJing software Traktor and the Stems technology, which breaks tracks into its component parts for live remixing.
“Native Instruments has written a remarkable success story since its foundation over 20 years ago, and we are now ready for the next chapter,” Daniel Haver, CEO of Native Instruments, said in a statement. “By developing intuitive and powerful products we’ve empowered music creators globally to further realize their potential. Today we’re seeing demand from increasingly diverse market segments, which opens enormous potential for growth. With EMH Partners we have a strong partner at our side to exploit this potential.”
EMH Partners has invested in Native Instruments via its Digital Growth Fund, which closed its first round at €350 million euros (US$412.5 million) earlier this summer, rendering it one of the largest funds in the European growth segment. Native Instruments marks the fund’s first investment in a music technology company.