Layoffs and Silence — What’s Going On Over At Native Instruments?

Photo Credit: Native Instruments
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Photo Credit: Native Instruments
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Photo Credit: Native Instruments

Native Instruments’ Traktor is one of the most popular DJ software suites in the world. But many former employees have less than stellar reviews.

Back in July Native Instruments released Traktor Pro 3.2 for DJs to have better harmonic mixing. But many DJs and enthusiasts were more interested in talking about the key accuracy of the software.

Amid the talk about key accuracy for the software surfaced a rumor of layoffs at Native Instruments.

Specifically, one commenter cited hearing a rumor that the entire hardware division was laid off. A cursory glance at the Glassdoor listings for the last three months paint a grim picture of disgruntled employees.

One post says that all innovative projects got canceled. The management behind the company was blamed, with road maps changing on a weekly basis. Another described a series of mass layoffs in the last two years. That review cited at least 30 people in the US let go in 2018 and 20 people in Germany in 2019.

Native Instruments is a private company, so it’s difficult to ascertain how things are going financially. The company itself has two legal entities. The operating company behind it is NI GmbH and the holding company is NI Holding GmbH. Profit from the operating company is siphoned off to the holding company each year.

The last filing for both companies was December 31, 2017. That’s right after a $50 million investment injection. Looking at revenue reports that are available through the German Federal Register, we can paint a clearer picture.

It appears as though NI generated €68 million ($75M USD) and about €19 million ($21M) in other operating income. Total revenues for NI were only €88.2 million ($97M) and NI generated €84.6 million in expenses. That means NI only turned €3.6 million ($3.3M) in profit. That’s a severe drop compared to profits reported in 2016 and 2015.

Rumors swirling about entire teams being laid off and the grim profit picture from 2017 doesn’t look good. While Native Instruments isn’t bleeding money, it seems like the execs are in panic mode.

32 Responses

  1. john e

    I love NI’s stuff, totally clutch and instrumental to the music i’ve been able to make these last 14 years. sad to hear this

    • Davl Frantzen

      Native Instruments have sacked CTO, Chief People Officer and Chief Product Officer in 4.5 months. Toxic atmosphere here and politics rife. Very bad senior leadership, systemic bullying, racism and Xenophobic attitudes. See latest mixmag article for more!

  2. Ex NI

    100 peeps fired in Berlin, almost all hardware teams are fired. Maschine stand-alone was cancelled on the first day of mass production.

    • Jojo

      How do you know this? Can you be a little more specific and if this is all true, why was production cancelled?

  3. Cactus

    Everything is as bad as it looks and Glassdoor reviews are just as accurate. Entire teams ripped apart and probably close to 200 employees fired in the past few months (in the most horrendous way)

  4. Former Native Employee

    It’s true. Native has had rounds of layoffs for the last few months, with 100 folks laid off last Thursday here in Berlin. People who have worked with the company for more than 10 years and many of the innovators were completely kicked to the curb. I think the executive team made a lot of bad decisions over the last couple of years and this led to the loss of these jobs.

    • Ashley King

      If you had actually read the article you’d see there is a link to your post.

      • Mad Hatter

        I think Nonomomomo is right. Were you talking about where it says “One post says that all innovative projects got canceled”? It links to a Traktor Pro demo, not to the Reddit post.

          • Xavier

            A hyperlink tittle “Rumors swirling” without any indication to where the link leads to and who wrote it is not the proper way to credit someone.
            I didn’t write that but I would be kind of upset if did.

            who originally wrote half the stuff you copy pasted

  5. N.i commander in chief

    I own native instruments and by 2020 , I will have a maschine on the moon

    • Anonymous

      I’m actually slimming down the company because, there’s limited seats on our company space craft

      • Anonymous

        The three ex employees who have commented , where fired for , gross incompetence, in three years they failed to make a single cup of coffee correctly for me , and I’m pretty sure they were stealing jelly babies from the pot on my desk .

  6. Just want to help

    There was post on FB from Behringer today:
    It has come to our attention that a well-known DJ manufacturer in Germany has been laying off 200+ engineers.
    We can help as we’re looking for 50 digital hardware, DSP and embedded software engineers for our Innovation centers in Willich, Germany, Manchester, UK and Aarhus, Denmark.
    We welcome everyone to apply and send their resume to Julia.atli@musictribe.com. If you know anyone from this company please share this post with them.
    Of course we welcome anyone else who is not affiliated with this particular company.
    Thank you.

    • Bridgman Sound

      Well done Behringer! As a user of NI this is very disappointing. So do I now move to Pioneer & Seratto?

      Bridgman Sound

  7. chaulk187

    I attended a tech expo a few years ago and noticed the NI reps were catering to the non-European demographic while ignoring the paler-faced people. I sold all my NI gear shortly thereafter.

  8. Danny

    NI stole a multimillion dollar product concept from me despite an NDA. I rejoice at this news. Mate Galic in particular, piss off!

    • EX NI Employee

      Dude this doesn’t surprise me at all. I never wish any hardship or wrong doing on anyone but what goes around comes around. They have been very separated from their staff and made a lot of bad decisions.

  9. NI Survivor

    Most of the higher up people who work for this company have no idea about the customers or products they are managing except for the hard working people who actually made a lot of their products a reality. It’s mostly the people in main positions who created this chaos. Making rash decisions, laying off people, and not taking feedback from their employees or customers. Glad that NI is starting to feel the pressure because they really need to change the way they do things.

    It’s such a basic business principle to listen to feedback and adjust products and vision based on what people want. I mean, the whole music industry is based around supporting the artist… How can you be in business and have no desire or care to support the artists in which you are trying to represent or listen to what people are telling you to do?

    What;’s the point of your marketing and feedback request efforts through forums and social media if you are not going to listen???

    This is such an irresponsible act on NI’s part. Putting families at risk and not working with their teams to align things while allowing people to keep their jobs. They are the perfect example of what happens when you simply don’t listen to your employees or customer.

  10. Michael Sullivan

    Your giddy and enthusiastic promotion of this news is not a surprise. I wonder what happened to the love you had for them. I started using Traktor because of your enthusiasm, Phil and suddenly you dropped them years ago. Now this. This barely passes for unbiased reporting. I wonder if my comment here will survive.

  11. sean

    i respect all those NI engineers. you guys were far beyond level than the islander in quality. please dont reveal the audio technologies to them. go to Ableton instead.

  12. Sammy

    They have got too big for their shoes. They’ve been churning out nothing but new ‘exciting’ garbage for quite a while now, instead of supporting existing products properly, for example Traktor.

  13. Phil Dudderidge

    Anyone seeking a job with Novation or Focusrite Group (we are looking for great people) should send their CV (resume) to Rob.Steed@focusrite.com
    Jobs mostly in the UK (we don’t support Brexit and have many European staff in UK and Germany)

    ADAM Audio Berlin is now a Focusrite company and looking to recruit a few people across the company in Berlin. Contact Christian.Hellinger@adam-audio.de with your CV.

    Novation has proudly been a partner with Ableton for many years with the Launchkey product range. Great company.

    To anyone laid off by NI I wish you well in your future career. NI made great products. Sad to see evidence of difficulties. Private equity probably to blame.

  14. Vince

    Everyone who got laid off from NI should group together and build a better company that NI should have been. Make it an employee owned cooperative and take it to new heights. The engineering and brain trust is there. To all of those who have been screwed by the corporates I wish you all the best. Hang in there and continue to create.