Photo Credit: Native Instruments

Native Instruments has confirmed that 100 employees have been laid off in a “global restructuring plan.”

Last week, we first reported on rumors of issues at the Berlin-based DJ hardware manufacturer.  Several ex-employee reviews on Glassdoor painted a less than flattering picture.  One ex-employee complained that all hardware projects were canceled. Another post described mass-layoffs of people in the US and Germany.

Several ex-Native Instruments employees reached out in our original report to share their experiences. Many said over 100 employees were let go in Berlin alone, rather than the 20 in our initial reporting.

Now we’ve received confirmation from Native Instruments that those reports are accurate — these weren’t just rumors.

In a press release shared with DMN, Native Instruments says it has a plan to centralize its global business operations. That plan includes a headcount reduction of 20% across all locations.

Native Instruments says the reduction is needed to “create the right organization set up to focus on development.”

The press release (somehow dated August 29th) also shares which departments are impacted by the layoffs. Listed departments include Sales & Distribution, Marketing & Product Management, Administration and Engineering. While no specific head counts were provided for each department, ex-NI employees say almost all hardware teams were fired.

Native Instruments justifies the restructuring by saying they’re working on a new platform. The platform is intended to include expanded access to loops and samples from sounds.com and other third-party services. NI says the new platform will launch in 2020.

You can read the full press release from Native Instruments below and draw your own conclusions.

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.”

Just a heads up to any former Native Instruments employees looking for work, Behringer is looking to snap up some talented people.