There is no story more depressing in the gear world right now than the story of Moog. Bought on what appeared to be the brink of bankruptcy by InMusic, Moog is now in a period of deep uncertainty.
There’s been some clarity, but not the good kind, as Synthanatomy collated a series of posts from now ex-employees describing the shape of what appears to be a pretty severe bloodletting of Moog’s staff. “Moog just fired everyone,” one read. “It was a good run. Game over.”
“All but 2 lines were canned,” reads another. Further reports suggest most production shifting to overseas, away from Moog’s celebrated headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. Being “Made In America” was a huge part of Moog’s marketing and brand identity, so this would be a major shift beyond ordinary concerns about manufacturing.
Local outlet the Asheville Citizen Times reports that the staff cuts were “possibly more than half the existing jobs, including most of the production positions.”
Moog was purchased three months ago by inMusic, a company whose brad portfolio includes Akai, Numark, Denon, M-Audio, Alesis, Rane and Stanton.
This would be outrageous if Moog were just a manufacturer of solid synthesizers; it’s tragic considering the history and culture behind Moog. And it was a culture that Moog kept building. Their videos and documentaries were fantastic, and we often featured them here. Sure, they burnished the Moog legend and product lines, but this wasn’t like Red Bull, a company run by a right-wing jagoff that bought out some of the most outspoken artists in electronic music with their sponsorship. The legend behind the Moog brand was real, and the product lines were still some of the best in the industry. Lisa Bella Donna was just a name on a record to me before I saw the inspiring work she did on a Moog. I’ve never used Moog histories for my own research into the early era of synthesis and drum machines, but it was certainly inspired by them.
The comment section for the Synthanatomy story has a (rare for 2023 internet) good discussion going on, though given 2023 internet, it probably won’t be for long.
Without any disrespect to the ex-employees affected by this, the last five years of Moog prior to the sale looked like some kind of catastrophe, or a chain of them, from breach of contract suits around Moogfest to a gender discrimination lawsuit and “rampant misogyny” at the company to product delays as supply chains froze up and were slow to thaw. It’s a complex story, and it’s punctuated by the worst conclusion: people losing work, and a company that made great things being gradually whittled down, perhaps until it’s nothing but a badge on a box.
Photo: Dr. Bob Moog, Finnianhughes101, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons