So Guess What Happened

Yamaha and Line 6Well I certainly didn’t expect to wake up the press release for this sitting in my inbox. There’s no need for frivolous buildup, let’s get right to it. The Yamaha Corporation has acquired Line 6. With that one simple sentence a flood of questions arises. The biggest of them all being what does this mean for Line 6 and Yamaha?

Just to make it clear, this isn’t just a partnership between two companies. In the official release it’s stated:

“Yamaha will operate Line 6 as a wholly owned subsidiary” as well as “a definitive agreement has been executed regarding the acquisition of all the capital stock of Line 6.”

That settles that.

What Does This Mean in the Long Run?

Both companies are still finishing up the procedural paperwork – a process that I couldn’t make sound interesting to save my life – that is expected to be finished by the end of January. Beyond that it’s really two early to tell what the consumer will see in the future, though I have my own thoughts.

I’ve been using Line 6′s products for probably about half the total years I’ve been playing guitar. My trusty X3 Pro POD is still one of the most reliable pieces of gear I’ve ever used. Not to mention we’ve also gotten our hands dirty with a few other products of theirs (like the Sonic Port for example). Suffice to say with each new generation of hardware they find a way to really take things up a level. They’ve constantly improved the sound quality, the ease of use, and the practicality of their equipment.

I suppose that’s where my own personal surprise comes in. I had observed their successes as grand enough and simply assumed (bad as an idea as I’ve been warned of) that that’s the way they wanted to keep it.

But per the words of Line 6 CEO and President Mr. Paul Foeckler:

“Yamaha’s acquisition of Line 6 will help accelerate the realization of our vision to drive innovation for musicians across the globe”.

And Yamaha’s president Mr. Takuya Nakata has expressed very similar sentiments over the deal. It seems the interest is mutual between both companies.

And it’s easy to see why. Line 6 has established a great business model as a company that constantly pushes forward and innovates. They were at the forefront of modeling technology and USB interfaces, and they certainly played a pivotal role in popularizing these things. After nearly two decades they’ve grown from a company that just makes effects to developing amps, guitars, microphones, live sound equipment, and keyboards, all of which have a unique Line 6 flair; and all of which are territories Yamaha has been involved in for a long time.

I really don’t think Yamaha’s interested in changing how Line 6 does things.

Rather Yamaha’s big benefit is that they get a return on the creativity of Line 6. The tradeoff is that now Line 6 has more resources available to further their ambitions. With Yamaha budgets for projects get more robust funding plus Yamaha has a lot of established technology with years of experience under their collective belt. What hasn’t Yamaha made before? Guitars. Keyboards. Live sound. Motorcycles (I can’t wait to see the new line of motorcycles with modeling technology).

Let’s take keyboards for an example. Line 6 has made a few before, but their reputation for their keyboards pales compared to Yamaha’s.  Or what if they decide to shift this kind of thinking over to the drum industry?  There’s a territory Line 6 has yet to really explore.

Now with Yamaha’s established tech they’ve launched Line 6 into the future where everyone wears matching silver suits, uses words with no fewer than three syllables, and operates consoles made up of blinking lights. They’re practically already on the verge of inventing true sentient AI now.

The future begins today… or whenever the legal procedures are finished.

Kyle Smitchens (448 Articles)

Kyle Smitchens is the Guitar-Muse Managing Editor, super hero extraordinaire, and all around great guy. He has been playing guitar since his late teens and writing personal biographies almost as long. An appreciator of all music, his biggest influences include Tchaikovsky, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Vai, Therion, and Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy.