This week, InMusic announced that they’re buying Stanton and bringing it into their brand family. It’s an interesting decision to purchase Stanton (previously owned by Gibson) right now, especially consdiering how many other DJ brands InMusic already has. In this article, I’ll speculate about a few possible things that could come of this aquisition
Over the course of the last decade, the DJ industry has watched as former powerhouse gear manufacturers have been acquired as brands under the umbrella that is InMusic. M-Audio, Rane, Denon DJ, Numark, and more all represent a huge swath of products but under a single company.
So why buy Stanton? There are a few potential smart moves for InMusic with the company, some of which I’ve sketched out below. Or perhaps as our friend Mark Settle noted, InMusic CEO Jack O’Donnell saw an opportunity to rescue his former colleagues at Stanton (where he worked for 12 years at the start of his career) and bring them into his family.
Here’s what we think could come from this acquisition – note that this is all industry speculation, not based on any insider knowledge or psychic ability to predict the future.
The return of Stanton’s cartridges
Let’s be honest: the name Stanton is probably the most heavily associated with two things: turntables and cartridges. They’ve been making turntable cartridges for 50+ years, and while other companies have taken the lead in the past decade, the name still has serious value.
The cartridge segment also has very little competition in it and with a lot of high-priced offerings for DJs. The mass-manufacturing experience that InMusic could bring to the table really could give them an edge here.
Yes, as the InMusic press release notes, Stanton also made one of the first standalone all in one DJ setups (the SCS.4), but most people don’t know that or associate the Stanton name with next-generation innovation. It’s a legacy brand, and as such the best way to position it might be as competition to Ortofon…….and Technics (keep reading).
The VL12 disappears and Stanton gets a “new” turntable
When DJs think of “turntable brand”, Denon DJ hasn’t traditionally been the first name to come to mind. For most, it’s likely Technics, Audio Technica, and Stanton. Even though both Pioneer DJ and Denon DJ have released their own turntables in the last decade, their names are more synonymous with other types of gear.
It feels like there’s a clear opportunity here – even if it’s just to release a cosmetic refresh of the Denon DJ VL12 (released 2018) under the Stanton name.
What about Stanton’s turntable models? They were based on standard Hanpin OEMs (as Mojaxx pointed out on his Facebook page yesterday, “InMusic could have just ordered some of those direct from the factory like everyone else if they wanted to…”) and would be unlikely to get a refresh.
The return of Deckadance (or at least the technology behind it)
ImageLine’s Deckadance was once a proving ground for interesting advances in DJ software design. Like Virtual DJ, it has always had fascinating effects (including VST hosting capabilities) and clever customization (like Smart Knobs, which allowed you to draw curves and map any number of controls onto the curve).
There’s no doubt that Denon DJ has built out a substantial DJ software stack under the Engine name – but perhaps there is some underlying tech in Deckadance (or perhaps a few coveted developers?) who could prove valuable to InMusic.
That said, does InMusic really need another outdated DJ software package in their profile? Probably not – they’ve already got Torq from when they bought M-Audio.
KRK could be next?
This one is a bit more off-the-wall, but if Gibson Brands is selling off Stanton, there’s a pretty good chance their taking stock of all of their assets and contemplating which of them they can live without. One of the other acquisitions they made at the same time as purchasing Stanton DJ was gaining the KRK studio monitor brand – which has continued to have decent success in recent years, although not without many others (Yamaha particularly) fighting for dominance.
It wouldn’t be crazy to see KRK get sold as well to another company who could really run with it – but again, it’s pure speculation on my part.
What do you think InMusic could/should do with Stanton? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.