As a Mix technical editor, I get a lot of press releases. If they’re about new products, I’m usually intrigued enough to read them in full. But if they’re about company news—not so much. Typically, the latter announces scintillating developments like company A named so and so head of sales for the lower Midwest region or company B recently upgraded the subwoofers at a county fairground.
But there are exceptions. A case in point is a press release I received last week entitled “iZotope and Native Instruments Join Forces Under New Music and Audio Creator Group.” Now that got my attention. (For more details on the announcement, check out this article.)
The Music and Audio Creator Group will operate NI and iZotope as “independent sister companies.” It doesn’t seem like a conventional merger, which I’m glad about, because when that happens, the newly merged company usually lays off half the staff, which it considers to be redundant.
The “lucky” folks who kept their jobs are then often saddled with twice the work. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The companies will remain as independent entities, at least to some degree.
It’s not unusual at all in our market to have two or more companies under the same umbrella. The quintessential example is the Harman Group, owned now by Samsung, which contains companies like AKG, Crown, dbx, DigiTech, Soundcraft, Studer and many others. The benefits of such a conglomeration can be tangible. They can reduce costs due to the economies of scale, and, more importantly, from a product development standpoint, they can share technology.
Both NI and iZotope have areas in which they’re extremely strong from a product development standpoint. IZotope is a leader in incorporating artificial intelligence into software and has many product lines, such as Ozone and RX, which are quite popular and have become industry standards.
Native Instruments excels at making virtual instruments like Kontakt and the others in the Komplete bundle, along with hardware such as keyboard controllers, clip launchers and interfaces.
There’s some overlap in their product lines, but mainly both companies complement each other when it comes to their products and expertise.
The press release didn’t mention any specifics on the drawing board yet. But in the press release, iZotope co-founder and CEO Mark Ethier hinted at where they’re trying to go with this new group:
“We both look to make it easier for engineers, producers and musicians to realize their creative vision, and together, we will be able to break down barriers that have stood in the way of that goal for decades.”
I can only speculate on what they have in mind, but the idea of say, incorporating AI into Reaktor for sound design or an NI interface that includes RX and Ozone processing in its DSP software mixer is pretty intriguing.
It’s way too early to know for sure, but it appears that this joint venture could be a win-win for everyone involved.