Abbey Road / Native Instruments – what is cooking?
This video published by Native Instruments is still very generic but a quote from the video may give an idea about what may come out of this:
In 2009, Abbey Road and Native Instruments joined forces to release outstanding musical instruments based on Abbey Road's legendary equipment, engineering expertise and studio acoustics. Combined with the technical knowledge of Native Instruments, musicians can now experience a new level of quality and musicality.
Other companies have been standing on the shoulders of Abbey Road Studios in the past – EastWest’s Fab Four refers to Abbey Road Studios but does not directly imply a collaboration as such. Usage of equipment similar to the original is mentioned, and they have included a flanger-like effekt emulating the tape delay techniques used at that time. If there had been a partnership I am quite sure though that they would have hesitated called it out.
In the original newsletter it was indicated that the plan was to create instruments leveraging Abbey Studios’ great recording skills and facilities. It probably will not end there. There are likely enough vintage Beatles instruments on the market already (e.g. abovementioned Fab Four and a Reason refill).
More generically useful acuoustic instruments would probably sound great recorded at Abbey Studios and played through the Kontakt engine, and producers could benefit from the productivity and flexibility from the Kontakt and Kore2. This could make the NI products stay competitive (it only takes a couple of years of standstill to lag severely behind – just think of IK Multimedia’s SampleTank products).
The long term value of this partnership can potentially come from the synergy combinging crown jewels of the two companies’ assets:
Abbey Road Studios have audio products of their own where they have encapsulated some of their unique sound and technical skills.
Native Instruments have a comprehensive instrument based production platform with Kore2 and Komplete which is very kind to users and embracing partners at the same time (e.g. Heavyocity and Scarbee).
AR and NI may very well leverage each others’ strengths in this area, bringing the AR skills, assets and gems to the market in higher volumes, at lower prices and with the effective packaging from and synergy with NI’s Kore2 and Komplete products. NI could even over time acquire a nice mastering addition to their offering, and NI’s strong distribution and support channel could bring more value to AR than it would to companies like IK Multimedia or izotope who are already well established in this space.
The value/price ratio for mixing and mastering plugins has followed a hockey stick curve the last few months, e.g. with IK Multimedia’s deeply discounted TrackS promotion a few months ago, and good quality effects being given away for free or almost free, today’s example being Nomad System’s Blueverb promo.
This may be the exactly right time for AR to cash in before vendors like Waves engage in a price war on their turf. 2010 will be exciting – great opportunities for small studios, home studios and songwriters to give quality another nudge upwards, and great challenges for the tier 1 vendors to raise the bar further and still be able to jump over it.
Another option that AR/NI might want to pursue is sampling instruments in AR’s studios. This might require sourcing instrument sampling skills that I am not sure NI have in-house currently.
Other takes on this topic:
(this post has been updated with more detail December 12, 21:30 CET)