Original image from Amazona.de interview with Jack O’Donnell in 2018.
In the absence of a PR image, this was bound to happen. You know how I roll.

Stanton, like Vestax, is a name that brings the warm and fuzzies to a great many of us, especially those of advancing years and enduring memories of simpler times. But equally, it’s a name that conjures images of a company pushing more boundaries than most and delivering many firsts in this industry. 

It’s also a name that means a great deal to inMusic owner Jack O’Donnell too. Back in 1992 when Jack was the Vice President of what was then Stanton Magnetics, he set off on the start of his own journey with the purchase of Numark. And after adding a significant number of brands to his collection, he formed inMusic as a place to keep them all together. And Jack has now snapped up the very company he left. Yes, people — Stanton is now part of the burgeoning inMusic music brand empire. 

PR follows:

INMUSIC ADDS STANTON TO ITS FAMILY OF PREMIER MUSIC TECHNOLOGY, DJ AND AUDIO TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES

Legendary DJ equipment manufacturer Stanton leaves Gibson and joins inMusic’s roster of DJ Brands including Numark, RANE and Denon DJ

Fort Lauderdale, FL USA (May 21, 2020) inMusic, the global leader in music production hardware, software and consumer electronics, today announced the acquisition of Stanton from US-based music company, Gibson Brands, Inc.

With a legacy spanning over 70 years, Stanton is the perfect complement for inMusic’s family of DJ brands. From developing the replaceable stylus and sparking a consumer market for audio equipment, to becoming an industry leader in the design and manufacturing of professional audio products for club, mobile DJs and turntablists, it is only fitting that Stanton joins the home of DJ technology leader, inMusic. Stanton specialized in creating ground-breaking solutions for the DJ market including Final Scratch (the industry’s first DVS solution), stereo cartridges designed for the working and performance DJ, and one of the first innovative standalone smart controllers, all of which makes Stanton the perfect addition to the inMusic portfolio.

inMusic is the parent company for the world’s premier family of DJ brands, including Denon DJ, Numark and RANE. Alongside these pillars of the DJ industry sits world-renowned music technology, software and consumer electronic brands including AIR Music Technology, Akai Professional, ALTO Professional, Alesis, Denon Professional, HeadRush, ION Audio, M-Audio, Marantz Professional, MixMeister, Rane Commercial, SONiVOX and SoundSwitch. inMusic’s world-famous, state of the art research and development teams respond dynamically to its customers with advanced technology in both software ecosystems and hardware – the perfect environment to guarantee a prosperous and innovative future for Stanton.

“inMusic continually redefines the landscape for expressive DJ performance through unparalleled innovation and a dynamic response to the demands of its customers. With Stanton joining the home of the world’s premier music and audio technology brands, inMusic’s ground- breaking advancements in engineering, design and technology guarantees Stanton’s place at the forefront of this performance-driven industry, in the world’s true home of DJ.”

– Jack O’Donnell, CEO of inMusic

BUT WHY?

It’s no secret that Stanton is dead in the water. Gibson acquired the whole Stanton Group (Stanton DJ, KRK, and Cerwin Vega) in December 2011, and despite having products in the pipeline, Gibson struggled to do anything meaningful with the company, or frankly itself. Unusually, Stanton seemed to miss out on the Serato love too, which might explain why it has never prospered.

And even when faced with the ideal opportunity to capitalise on the demise of Technics, the heir apparent — the ST/STR8-150s — remained unpromoted. And when they relaunched the turntables a few years ago, there wasn’t a single piece of PR available. The tonearm patent that bears the name of our own Drew Bach was never put into production either. It felt like Gibson almost immediately gave up on Stanton because they got the others in the deal.

So Stanton has merely existed, more or less on life support for a number of years. But now it’s in the hands of inMusic. The question is why?

inMusic buys Stanton — some DJ industry analysis 1

SOME THEORIES

When this news landed, I pondered possible reasons to snap up what is effectively a dead company:

  • Perhaps Jack is a sentimental softie who cannot bear to see his former employers disappear into oblivion.
  • It’s costing relative pennies to buy up the company he left. Perhaps they said he’d never amount to anything, and this is his way to clearly prove them wrong.
  • Stanton is a much-loved brand. Owning it is a good look for the group and expands the portfolio nicely.
  • If handled well rather than being a vanity purchase, Stanton can be an asset that adds value, something that Jack will be mindful of as inMusic looks to the future.
  • When you dig into it, Stanton Magnetics has some cracking IP. That’s often a profitable axe to swing.
    UPDATE: I’m told that most is this is expired. The good stuff remains under the Gibson name. 
  • Turntables are still a thing, and Stanton was good at making them, and carts too.

My money is on a little bit of all of the above, which would make perfect business sense, as well as satiating human needs too. Stanton could easily be focussed on being a turntable/cart only brand (interestingly the only page missing on the Stanton site), but they also had success with headphones in the past too, which is another area lacking in inMusic’s offering.

As the brand stands, I can’t see how Stanton can fit alongside Numark, Rane, and Denon DJ. Painting broad strokes, you’ve got entry-level, turntablist, and club brands. After a period of inactivity, Numark is pushing out the affordable large volume units that keep the lights on, Rane keeps beavering away with Serato based scratch mixers, and Denon DJ is pushing out truly groundbreaking units while trying to chip away at Pioneer DJ’s booth dominance.

Do you see a place for Stanton? Why would you buy a Stanton controller or mixer? How would it be differentiated from the rest of the DJ brands? Maybe given Stanton’s pivotal role in DVS, Stanton could be the software brand that drives the group’s hardware.

On a related note, it occurs to me that inMusic now has Torq and Deckadance in their software offerings. But I hold out zero hope of them ever being developed further, but perhaps dipped into for inspiration. I’d still put money on Engine becoming a full package before too long anyway.

I fired my thoughts back at inMusic and got the expected “wait and see” response.

SUMMING UP

I expect there will be a modicum of inMusic hate, just like when they bought Rane and Denon DJ, all of which has for me been proved quite wrong. They have a habit of jumping to early with announcements, but when things arrive they’re on the money. And it’s hard to screw up Stanton, if only because there’s so little left to actually screw up. It’s a win-win for inMusic really.

I am however happy that Stanton is still a thing. If he doesn’t build it into a valuable part of inMusic, perhaps Jack will give it a graceful retirement instead. God know it’s played an important role in modern DJing.

Maybe, just maybe it will continue to have a role too.


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