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Monday, December 5, 2011

What Gibson Buying Stanton Means

Gibson Guitar has announced in a press release that they’re acquiring the Stanton Group, which includes the well-known Stanton DJ brand, KRK monitors, and Cerwin-Vega loudspeakers. Gibson already has acquired Epiphone, Dobro, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Echoplex, Electar, Flatiron, Slingerland, Valley Arts, Maestro, Oberheim, Baldwin, Sunshine Piano, Take Anywhere Technology, J&C Fischer, Chickering, Hamilton,  and Wurlitzer. So aside from Epiphone, when was the last time you hear anything from most of those products?

What's most interesting about the announcement is that Gibson calls this move is “part of its continued expansion as a lifestyle brand.” I guess my question is, "How does Stanton fit into that vision?" I understand that Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz would like to be more like Apple, but buying a group that features DJ and speaker products isn't exactly a great start in that direction. Plus, with Gibson's track record of instantly burying a company as soon as they buy it, it seems like a moot point anyway.

It would be great if Gibson would just concentrate on the thing they do best, making guitars, but they're not doing so hot on that front either. The robot guitar, digital guitar and Firebird X all had the industry and players alike scratching their heads. One again, it seems like market share and acquisitions mean more to the Gibson powers-that-be than increasing efficiencies on its core product and making better instruments. As outlined in my article about Warner Music Group on my Music 3.0 blog today, music and big money usually don't mix. You have to make a profit to stay in business, but the turning point is when the business becomes more about money than music, and that leads to trouble.

So say goodbye to the Stanton Group - Stanton DJ, KRK and Cerwin-Vega. It's only a matter of time before they disappear.
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Mountjoy said...

I agree to a degree ...

... however they are doing one thing right, which is producing great US built guitars at unreasonably low prices. A friend recently picked up a Gold Top with P90s (the 60s tribute model) for a song, and it is a really nice player and looks great.

I haven't tried the Melody Maker range, SG Specials etc but they offer most of the look and features of the Standards and Customs at 1/4 the cost, and I am very tempted.

Having said that, I would dearly like to know what was going through Gibson's head when they came up with the Firebird X. It wouldn't even have been funny as an April Fool's prank.

nulldevice said...

Don't forget OpCode. Gibson bought them, killed both OMS and the groundbreaking StudioVision DAW, and did nothing with the brand or the market.

Really sucked for a lot of us.

Anonymous said...

It is really a shame how Gibson hasn't learned to rebrand themselves properly like Fender has. Gibson and Fender are American legends of musical instruments, hope Gibson can get a bit more taste factor in their products again. My L6-S cries everytime it hears about the robot guitar.


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