The day after Behringer posted a lineup of remakes of classic analog synth and drum machines, the company is calling it an error – and making no promises.

As of publication, we are waiting on additional clarification / commentary from Behringer. In the meantime, we have the statement below, though it leaves some questions.

Here’s the story, as far as we know:

Yesterday, Behringer for the better part of the evening German time published complete product specs for drum machines and synthesizers, across multiple categories on their public website. That included references to a wide array of products from the KORG MS-20 to the Roland 808 and 909 to ARP 2600 and various other historical models.

Then, at 4 am German time, the company published the follow apology/correction or … whatever this is … to their Facebook page:

Dear Friends,
It was brought to our attention that early this morning a rather unfortunate error occurred on the Behringer product page. This error mistakenly posted information for a number of different product design concepts from our product management repository which is contained and part of an automated backend system for our websites. The cause of the error was due to a website glitch and was completely unintentional. The moment we realized the error, we removed the content.
As we are owning the mistake, we also feel it’s necessary to inform the public about this error as a sign of good faith. It was not our intention to mislead customers in any way nor use this as a marketing tool. To be perfectly transparent, the leaked information does not imply any availability at this time or even definitive evidence that we intend to officially develop or deliver these products in the future. At this stage, the leaked products are merely concepts and nothing more.
To be honest we are embarrassed by this glitch and sincerely apologize to you who have been so supportive of our efforts over the years. We greatly appreciate your support and understanding of the situation.

Sorry, assume a few people spit coffee on their computers there. “Automated backend system for our websites”?

The “concepts” portion suggests at least that these products weren’t just a joke or prank, but at least somehow related to ideas the company was fielding.

What’s unclear is how these arrived on a public site – or whether this was a genuine error (as in someone getting unauthorized access to the site) or an intentional experiment in generating buzz and finding out what users thought.

This line we’ve heard before, too – that Behringer appears to view teasing products as a kind of trial balloon for measuring demand. The difference is, in the past, at least, they said that was what they were doing – they didn’t do it via a staged site bug.

Let’s talk about why this is problematic.

Fake news? Fake drums? Real Oberheim… Retro Synth Ad.

If Behringer is intentionally leaking and pulling product info, that’s kind of bad. It would mean…

Behringer are being disingenuous in their communication. More bluntly: it’s very likely that they’re flat-out lying – or at least being tongue-in-cheek about this whole thing. Sure, it’s possible they keep product planning documents in the content management system they use for the site. And maybe then they use the production server for the task rather than a backup. And maybe they somehow automatically, accidentally published that same content to a production server publicly.

Though, if that sequence of events actually happened, uh, to the Web team … wow. If unintentional, products in planning finding their way onto a public site is suggestive of a major failure in Website administration, either in the form of catastrophic carelessness or the site being compromised (and then left in a compromised state for a considerable time).

Either way:

This encourages customers to delay purchasing competitors. This isn’t just about getting buzz. By hinting that Behringer will have low-cost alternatives of stuff users want, the brand can encourage customers to hold off purchasing shipping products from companies like KORG, Roland, and Moog. It can also discourage development of competing products, particularly as smaller manufacturers (think boutique Eurorack) can’t compete with Music Group’s economy of scale and entire Chinese factories.

Specifically teasing recognizable products (KORG, Roland, etc.) targets those competitors even more explicitly. And there’s anecdotal evidence to think there’s harm there, based on impressions on forums and comments. Even if that isn’t the case, retailers read those same threads, and this can spook them.

Uli Behringer’s extended rants about value and price, which imply (I think unfairly) that competitors’ products should be cheaper, also contribute to an atmosphere that can be discouraging to competition and product development.

Behringer are hurting their own relationship with customers. I actually would encourage those same competitors to focus on this. Behringer are now over-promising in a pretty fantastic way. If they don’t ship this stuff, customers are likely to be disappointed with Behringer, not other companies.

And sure enough —

The Internet is already having fun with Behringer’s vaporware and missing images. 😉

They’re still not shipping their Model D. Way back in March, Behringer were promising a low-cost Minimoog clone. But that clone still isn’t shipping, or seen on the site here – a fact not lost on social media (or CDM commenters).

Well, there’s at least a date. Music Store in Germany is now taking preorders for the Model D at 349 EUR – with a ship date estimated for 16th of January.

Just don’t read too much into this. This understandably has generated a lot of buzz in December, a lull during which most manufacturers are focused on holiday sales, with product announcements mostly paused until late January.

But I think most people wanting a new drum machine, or a Roland Boutique, or KORG’s ARP recreations, or new Eurorack modules, on down the list are likely to go ahead and invest anyway. I think the relationships between those brands and their customers – from the Japanese giants to the one-person Eurorack boutique makers – are safe, too.

If this was (improbably) a mistake, Behringer, fix it. If it wasn’t, well – yeah, expect some of us to question your intentions.

Exclusive reader contest! What’s the most “embarrassing” thing you recently posted to a Website “accidentally” that just happened to make it unintentionally look like some sort of awesome things were happening in your future? Sound off in comments!

As I wrote yesterday:

For now, we’re in the position we so often are with Behringer: speculating, as the brand gets way ahead of everyone else with a teaser, long before the specifics of price and design emerge. And that seems to be part of the design.

Let me be clear: I don’t think there’s any revelation here. The only absurdity is that Behringer have the hubris to suggest that this stunt was a mistake – and to continue to tease products further out on their roadmap when they still haven’t got a ship date for the product for which they got the most buzz in 2017 (the model D, which was announced way back in March).

Updated: We have unconfirmed sources that suggest the entire incident may have been a prank or otherwise involved unauthorized access to Behringer’s website. If I can confirm those sources, then yes – there’s egg on my face, twice over (both in conveying the news, and in ranting that this was a publicity stunt). For now, though, it’s hard to fit that narrative to what happened, given that it would involve considerable access both to product information and site administration. Time will tell.

In the meantime, we await commentary from Music Group.

  • Fatbob

    Cough cough ahem – fact is CDM got suckered and the tone of your piece when the news first broke contributed to the many negative points you now are quick to make.
    Did you place a fact check call into Behringer HQ before you published? Probably not. This is back pedalling of the highest order and you are clearly embarrassed that you rode the wave. Cmon Peter – call it out sure – but be a bit humble in your complicity dude – these are the perils of web “journalism” and Behringer are only playing a well rehearsed game that you happened to lose in this instance. Suck it up.

    • Well, no —

      Because I think this really *is* the road map of the coming products from Behringer. The release of this information was intentional. I’d only be a sucker if I let them get away with the idea this was a site glitch.

      You don’t fact check information published publicly to the Behringer site. Come on.

      • Fatbob

        Widows ? Cmon.

        • What about the widows?

          The other thing I said yesterday, which appears to still hold… Music Group are now opening themselves to liability from a pretty wide variety of manufacturers.

          If you read what Ms. Curtis says:
          “Any claims, use of this product designation, and use of the name Curtis Electromusic by other companies are made without permission from OnChip Systems (our current company name) or the Curtis Family.”

          — so, that’s the trick. There’s some risk with this that they could step outside the law on legality for something other than patents. So the patents have expired, but some trademark protections haven’t. And that’s what got Behringer into legal trouble before (with Roland/BOSS, for instance).

          • NotATroll

            Looks like Fatbob is just trolling–or more likely, part of Behringer’s PR damage control. I totally agree that this is either a shameless market test, or the result of someone in the company who got huffy and punished them.

          • heh, sadly, none of the comments above seem to be Behringer trolls – shame, that’d be fun 😀

            Second scenario does seem possible.

    • FS

      if it’s posted on the official Behringer website it will be taken as fact. and CDM was not the only blog to cover it as fact. this is not on CDM it’s on Behringer. imagine Elektron, NI, Ableton doing something like this, it’s unthinkable. shame on Behringer, zero cred.

  • Contraria Sunt Complementa

    Seems like they fired the wrong it guy or something alike XD

  • Fatbob

    I mean widows of synth legends n shit? Cmon brother. Read what you wrote yesterday and drink a herbal beverage.

    • Okay, here’s what I wrote yesterday:
      “For now, we’re in the position we so often are with Behringer: speculating, as the brand gets way ahead of everyone else with a teaser, long before the specifics of price and design emerge. And that seems to be part of the design.”

      Seems to fit.

      • Fatbob

        I’m writing this as a third party admirer of your site and pretty objectively. Your “in it”. Step back.

        • Okay, I’ll bite – what was the call?

          I *don’t* write about the revelation that their product roadmap is now this ambitious, and that they want to telegraph it?

          Then today, I *don’t* call them out on what the communications side of this means?

          Or what do you propose?

          • Fatbob

            I’ll simplify. As a reader yesterday’s piece was balanced. As a consumer I like to hear about disruption, competition and price point turbulence. You painted a picture with many colours.
            Today, we get black widows and demons. Feels like back pedalling and less balanced than yesterday.
            Yesterday we had access to analog chips that are exact replicas of originals. Today we have an appeal to the emotions from a dead guys wife. Not feeling me?

          • Fatbob

            Your a smart guy. I KNOW you feel me 🙂

          • That’s fair, fine.

            The reality is this, though: as of today, it’s unclear what we can factually say about Behringer’s plans or communications. They managed to leak a set of products that could impact everyone from KORG and Roland to independent two- and one-person Eurorack shops, and right now, they’ve not given an answer that would convincingly tell us whether or not to believe yesterday’s product information was even authorized or accurate.

            I can’t recall another 24 hours this confusing in electronic music instruments news in the 15-odd years I’ve been writing about it.

  • richard conrad

    can they change their name the BORING-er?

  • Shmerdjee

    Fake news has finally hit synths too? SAD.

    • eh

      14 hours later, CDM is MSMing with a double update
      and your comment has turned into a Virus TI Snowflake
      you got comment trolls feeling the need to tell you its gonna be ok, just relax

      • lol

        just so we all clear… News is information about current events. the “website glitch” being fake, is a fake current event, not fake news like cdm.

  • gekiga

    coolaudio is in the behringer group, right?

  • Elekb

    What a mess.
    They sure have a strange way of doing business.

  • EricM

    They made it too obvious it was a stunt. Why list all that–let’s call it vaporware–but not list the Model D, a real product that they’ve showcased? Also, how could they possibly be developing all those products at the same time and release them within a reasonable timeline and standard of quality if they haven’t even been able to release one product, the Model D, that seemed so imminent?

  • If it is a marketing stunt then it worked…

  • Max

    Any PR is good PR. ^^

  • nem0nic

    As a former employee of the company (working in product management), I would love to be able to take a shot at them for this. But the reality is that it IS possible that information put into one of the software packages used by the company could have been made live by accident. It’s obvious that someone entered the information, since it showed up on the website in the first place. But the lack of any images makes me believe this was an accident and not intentional.

    If they were serious about the product and it had been at any stage other than research, Uli would have had the Mechanical and ID teams in the Manila office make a decent image for the product. In earlier stages this would have been a top down Illustrator image, but that would soon be followed up with a 3D model.

    So we know these projects have been entered into the system, assigned a product code, and some of the marketing info has been done (bullet points, product description, etc). But I really wouldn’t read much into it. It would not surprise me at all if Uli put that into the system just to give himself targets. Likely products like these would be handled not by a real product manager, but an R&D team (since they’re existing products).

    • I believe you that this is possible … even as my mind boggles that a company the size of Behringer would put products at a planning stage (i.e., not even necessarily confirmed roadmap) into the *production* server.

      And then… boggles again imagining that once they’re there, you approve dozens of them at once as public.

      Of course this is possible, it’s just weird.

      • nem0nic

        That isn’t quite how it all works. it’s a lot more mundane and orderly than you imagine. It’s more about identifying a workflow and then wanting to automate as much of it as possible.

        Again, I’m not saying this is definitely what happened. I’m just saying that it’s VERY possible it was an accident that no one knew about until they saw it on your website.

  • Steve Hofer

    Maybe Germany is getting revenge on the US and Britain for Patton’s phantom armored division.

  • Pop

    Well that made for painfully awkward reading.
    As for Behringer.. Its almost like they willingly took a steaming dump upon what little of their own self respect they had left.

    • Possible, though not as odd to read as some of these comments…

  • dinesh shanz

    But I think most people wanting a new drum machine, or a Roland Boutique, or KORG’s ARP recreations, or new Eurorack modules, on down the list are likely to go ahead and invest anyway.

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  • cpc464freak

    What a waste of space this article is. Who cares? They have proven with the Deepmind12 that they can put-up the goods. Most whining I’ve heard about Behringer, this article included, is IMHO, from people pissed off that their long term investment in old synth tech may now not pay off, specifically because of Behringers current actions. The mere fact that buying up old tech at ridiculous market values drove the market price beyond most current musicians pay level does not come into there tiny minds. Behringer should be praised in general for opening up this tech to the current generation not derided for all the wrong reasons.