Musical instrument giant Yamaha will acquire 100% of Steinberg GmbH,
including Steinberg USA, in a closed competitive bidding deal announced
yesterday. Steinberg is developer of software products like Cubase and
Nuendo. The purchase isn't a surprise: Steinberg and Yamaha
collaborated on integrating Yamaha gear with Steinberg software via
Studio Connections, integration that's likely to deepen under this
deal, and many observers expected Pinnacle to sell Steinberg, which it
acquired in January 2003. (click 'read more' for analysis)

Consider, however, the number of software developers now tied to
hardware development. Aside from Avid/Digidesign's ownership of
hardware maker M-Audio, there's:

  • Former Emagic: Owned by Apple
  • Acid, plugins: Owned by Sony
  • Digital Performer: Developed by MOTU, also an interface manufacturer
  • Cakewalk: Strategic alliance with Roland

Of those, the Apple-Emagic, Sony-Sonic Foundry, and Digidesign-M-Audio
deals all took place in the last two years. At the same time, this
purchase underlies the fact that video-audio tie-ins aren't as big a
story as some hoped. Video production company Pinnacle hoped to
leverage that angle with Steinberg, even though Steinberg had always
been a music company. Other than the Soundtrack application that ships
with Final Cut Pro, Apple's ownership of Emagic has delivered far more
music synergy than video synergy, and Digidesign's associations are
stronger with music, particularly with the addition of M-Audio, than
video production maker Avid.

Instead, the clear story here is that, while software sales have been
mostly flat, music production and hardware sales is way up.
Manufacturers are looking for big growth in the music market in coming
years. I'm looking forward to it.

  • Guest

    Is it a good sign that Steinberg is changing hands again? I don't think so. You used to know what you get when Steiny was still Steiny, but now it seems it's just handed on from big corporation to another big corporation, possibly because profits were unsatisfactory.
    Even though I was very cross with the Apple/Emagic takeover, and still am with the pricing policy regarding updates (why should I pay the same for Logic 7 as someone who skipped the last four updates?), I feel it's in far better hands at Apple. Not that I can change anything about it anyway 😉

  • admin

    I agree, Roland, but let's hope Yamaha is good for Steinberg in the way Apple has been for Emagic. It's going to be tricky: Yamaha's hardly a company that understands software, unlike Apple.

  • Guest

    Hardware sales outpacing software sales? I thought the reverse was true. Do you have any numbers?

    Oh and…

    "music production and hardware sales is way up"

    …you need an "are" there.


  • Guest

    The success of the acquisition will greatly depend on how well Yamaha allow Steinberg to do what the do best.

    This could be a win/win situation for everyone involved, includingus customers. For example, take the latest Access synth that behaves like a VSTi. This is definitely a step in the right direction and is something that Yamaha could drive through the Steinberg acquistion.