Numark, Akai, Alesis Purchase M-Audio and AIR Software

Surprise acquisition shakes things up.      02/07/12
Numark, Akai, Alesis Purchase M-Audio and AIR Software

This one just arrived and frankly was a bit of a surprise. Jack O’Donnell the enigimatic owner of Numark, Alesis, Akai Professional, ION, Alto Professional and more recently Sonivox, has just bought M-Audio (“The world’s largest manufacturer of keyboard controllers and a category leader in studio monitors and computer recording tools for musicians.” ) and AIR Software Group (“a cutting-edge audio software and technology development team”) from AVID.

We’re told by Numark/Alesis that all our contacts at both companies (AIR and M-Audio) will remain the same, implying that there is not likely to be any immediate consolidation (redundancies to you and I).


We’re also informed that the AIR Software Group will continue to develop for the ProTools platform.

Excerpts from the inMusic press release follows:

“By acquiring the AIR Software Group and M-Audio, we’re not only broadening but also
deepening our commitment to the future of music creation and production,” said  Jack
O’Donnell, owner and CEO, inMusic. “All of our brands are technology leaders, and they
all have tremendous market momentum. With the addition of AIR and M-Audio, we’re in
an even better position to push the boundaries of computer-based composition, production, and performance. Naturally this will be very positive for musicians, who will
get better software, better hardware, and a much more integrated music-making
experience as a result.”

The acquisitions also signal a new relationship with Avid. The AIR Software Group will
continue to develop and maintain technologies  for the Avid Pro Tools family of digital
audio workstations, and a number of M-Audio products will continue to include Pro Tools
software. Select Akai Professional and Alesis products will also now include Pro Tools,
bringing the leading professional production software to a whole new audience of
musicians, producers, and engineers.

Interesting, what do you think?



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8 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Synth_Fan    Said...

Surely since there will be less competition, this is bad for consumers? For example, surely M-Audio and AKAI Keyboard controllers will now consolidate, diminishing choice and competition.

Also - one has to ask - why did AVID sell M-Audio so soon after acquiring it? Might it suggest that in the long run the relationship between M-Audio hardware and Protools Software is weakened (despite their claims of increases access to Protools)? it doesn't make sese to relinquish a company, but guarantee Protools on that relinquished hardware. Rather, it sounds like spin.

02-Jul-12 12:26 PM

Derek    Said...

It always struck me (borrowing Nick's phrase ;) as incredibly bizarre that Avid bought M-Audio in the first place. A high-end software & hardware buying an entry-level outfit? Avid already had their own entry-level gear, so... well, that's always bothered me.

I don't know what to make of any of this. :-) I _am_ reminded of the TC Electronic/Gibson acqui-merger that almost happened three years back (listening to old SonicTalk at work...) and I can't help but wonder if this move will come undone in a few months' time as well.

While listening to old SonicTalk, I was also reminded: "Gee, Alesis bought Numark... I thought Numark was going bankrupt? And Alesis, too? Oh, Akai bought Alesis! I thought Akai was going down the tubes as well!"

Maybe this is like RIM, Nokia and Microsoft. :-) (I know, I know—M-Audio is doing great.)

02-Jul-12 12:36 PM

CI    Said...

This announcement is quite surprising. Even if M-Audio is doing good, why sell it. Then to think of it, browsing through the respective catalogue of products of M-Audio, Akai or Alesis, I have realized then none of the 3 company have released a breakthrough product in the recent years. Yes they did release good products. But they just supplied the demand. Alesis and Akai combined just reminds me of Behringer but with a cooler legacy.

Akai seems to be now just a brand name used to sell irrevelant products like analogue chinese guitar pedals or soundcard (Think of Roland used the Jupiter & Juno name to promote the release of their latest synths). Akai niche product are now what ? Hard to tell.

Alesis has become a bland iphone ipad accessories manufacturer. Though their E-Drum series is interesting. Again, the expertise of Alesis was DSP algorithms and ADAT (ok it's dead now). Now what is Alesis expertise now ? I don't know.

Ultimately, M-Audio is the more focused company of all three. It is still focusing near their core : affordable audio card & midi controller.

With this acquisition, I think, and hope that the emphasis will put on developping M-Audio to become the De Facto quality budget level manufacturer rather than dumbing it down to the, rather low, level of Akai and Alesis.

If not, get prepared to live with products that are more toys than tools

02-Jul-12 05:51 PM

Loneraver    Said...

Every time m-audio gets bought by someone new, I get worried that support for my beloved M-Audio Delta 1010 will be discontinued. I've use it for 12 years and I've grown quite attached to it so I really don't want to replace it.

03-Jul-12 12:58 AM

Anon    Said...

More news from the AVID side - unhappy employees

03-Jul-12 08:03 AM

Hidden Driveways    Said...

I suppose part of the reason for the sale was the branding nightmare it brought on. Digidesign dissolved into Avid, but M-Audio seemed to linger on, confused about what it was supposed to be. May as well sell it to Alesis, who are pros at harboring various brands.

At the end of the day you have a big company that competes with itself directly, head to head. It's odd.

I just hope that the glut of companies doesn't lead to M-Audio vaporware. How many people are still excited about the "new" Akai SynthStation49? MPC Fly, anyone?

One question I have, the website The Verge reported on this, and they stated that it's a "$17 million dollar deal." Is this accurate? Is our little pro audio world really that tiny?

And +1 on keeping the Delta 1010 alive. I was using that interface ten years ago, and it was great. It tickles me that it's still alive and kicking.

03-Jul-12 09:28 AM

geo303    Said...

M-Audio dumped a lot of resources into the Venom synth, it didn't sell well at all since you can't edit the damn thing without using the software editor. These companies cannot afford costly mistakes like this lately! Just look what has happened to E-mu after their longboard / shortboard synth totally flopped too!

04-Jul-12 01:37 AM

numark sucks    Said...


29-Nov-12 06:09 PM

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