vestax RIP closed bankruptcy

Although we’re still lacking any official statement from Vestax themselves, it seems pointless to put this off any longer. It would appear that visionary DJ manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy in Japan. I woke up this morning to increased activity surrounding the story based on a report on the Teikoku Databank website, and when backed up with all Vestax sites being effectively closed, and social media being dormant for months, it’s impossible to not say something about it. God knows I’ve had enough messages asking me for confirmation.

This is the translation of the Japanese media report:

TDB company code: 982747311
“Tokyo” Vestax Corporation (capital 95 million yen, Ota Nakaikegami 2-3-15, registration surface = Setagaya Fukasawa 2-16-15, representative intermediate Toshihide Mr.), the December I received a bankruptcy proceedings determined by the Tokyo District Court to five days.  Bankruptcy trustee Osawa Kanako lawyer (Chiyoda-ku, Otemachi 1-7-2, Kajitani comprehensive law firm, phone 03-5542-1453). Period for filing proofs of claims in until January 9, 2015, meeting for reporting the status of property due date is 2:00 the same year March 5 afternoon.  We, in November 1977, Co., Ltd. under the trade name of Shiino instrument design office, was established for the purpose of design sales of musical instruments for professional guitar. Then effector or preamp, in addition to music equipment was also not address, such as a multi-track recorder, in ’87 to change the current trade name, DJ the manufacture and sale of such (disc jockey) for the mixer and turntable to main business scale expansion. Expand the brand of “Vestax”, such as a mixer and turntable award-winning overseas, won the high name recognition at home and abroad to center the club scene. Leading music equipment manufacturer OEM higher evaluation to such technical capabilities also performs product offerings by to, other agencies and music stores, as customers general user in direct sales site, and about a year sales in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002 I had recorded a 2.5 billion 14 million yen.  But then, in addition to demand from sluggish consumption due to the economic slowdown has been reduced, even in the overseas markets, inexpensive tapering products are struggling such as rise in sales, such as made ​​in China. Was added to a slump in exports due to the strong yen, there is also a stagnation of entertainment market since the Great East Japan Earthquake, year sales of March 2012 period was down to about one billion 57 million yen. In recent years, it does not but was working to improve the profitability structure in the establishment of a new foreign corporation successful, intensifying competition from downturn and structural changes in the acoustic equipment market, domestic, sales further reduced in both overseas. Recent year sales fell below the 500 million yen, among which was surpassed by rescheduling request, etc. to financial institutions, financing and come here even worse, had to stop the business by the end of August.  Debt is expected of 900 million yen, there is likely to be varied.

Vestax — my take

Cards on the table — I’ve know about this for a long time, and while I could have posted premature rumours laced with speculation and light in facts, it was always Vestax’s story to tell, especially when such stories can only make an already bad situation worse, and people’s livelihoods are connected to the outcome. And nobody really knew everything except those involved.

My love of Vestax is well documented. They were always happy to try things out, often making gear that only the Japanese market would ever buy, and often times gear the whole world wanted. For a long time, they were the darling of the turntablist world, challenging heavy hitters with their own take on hardware and building a fiercely loyal following in the scratch world. There was a period of making incredibly niche products like the Faderboard, QFO, and Controller One, the latter two in particular change hands on eBay for silly sums of money, something that can’t be said for many DJ companies outside of original Bozaks and Technics.

But when the digital world kicked in, they were less active than others in this growing area. As someone at Vestax once told me — “we’re not good enough at digital right now”. But in time, they completely revolutionised the DJ market with the VCI-100, and followed it up with a string of amazing units that everyone else pretty much copied. When Vestax got it right, they were untouchable.

Sadly, the recession kicked in. And a seemingly endless run of bad luck made exponentially worse by the Japanese earthquake and currency fluctuations really did seal the fate of Vestax on the world stage. For me, the beginning of the end was the VCI-400, a product that through no fault of its own never really clicked with the end users.

Toshi Nakama Vestax

Toshi Nakama, the man behind much of Vestax’s products, in the worxlab this year.

So… Vestax RIP?

I’d say that in the way we know Vestax —yes. My understanding is that this might not be the very end though. Casio has been long time friends with Vestax, and DJ hardware had started to appear that was “powered by Vestax”. Indeed, when Toshi Nakama (the man responsible for much of Vestax’s contribution to DJing) swung by the worxlab this year, I saw some really amazing renders that I can only hope get to see the light of day under the Casio brand or otherwise. There is a lot of love for the brand and the products, and with some rationalisation and focus, it’s possible that Vestax could survive in its own right. Obviously I have no word on what happens with support and after sales.

We can only hope that Vestax will continue to be seen in some form or other, and can be more than just a fond memory of a DJ company that dared to be different. Because that’s exactly what we need right now.