Native Instruments has announced their departure from future major tradeshows such as NAMM, Musikmesse and AES. The announcement immediately got me thinking that maybe – hopefully – NI is one of the first audio companies to actually ‘get it’.

Without any numbers at all to back this up, it seems to me that the tradeshows in a way is losing momentum. The day after I got back from this years Musikmesse I wrote it off as a poor show. I discussed this with someone from a completely different business and he said he had felt the change on his side as well. The shows can claim they break all kinds of records, and maybe they are, but when some major players simply decide not to attend, the shows end up being poor. Apple is pretty much non-existing in music tradeshows these days, and Avid/Digidesign – the industry standard! – didn’t even have a proper booth at this years Musikmesse besides in the live area.

While I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily a wise move by NI to depart from future major tradeshows, I absolutely think their reasoning is on the right track.

From the NI press release:

The company has decided to instead prioritize online communication channels to engage with customers directly even stronger, and to allocate budgets accordingly.

This shift in priorities is exemplified by the new sophisticated rich-media website that Native Instruments launched recently, and will be continued through the establishment of further innovative online channels and other means of direct communication in the future.

“Times are changing and we have seen tradeshows become increasingly less relevant for our industry,” says Pablo La Rosa, International Marketing Director at Native Instruments. “By focusing our efforts in online communication and direct-to-customer events, we reach out to today’s musicians and producers in a way that we believe is more efficient for us and more engaging for them.”

While I’m not extatic about their new website (anything that plays sound without me starting it is awful in my opinion), their thinking is absolutely right. I’ve tried to get this message across for quite some time now (most recently in ‘Digidesign has lost its face‘, even if it’s just a part of that post) but it simply just doesn’t happen. Everyone says “we’re working on it”, and maybe they are, but things need to happen, and quite frankly this is something they should have been working on years ago and be finished with by now. Stop ‘working on it’ and start launching. Kudos to NI for taking action.