PreSonus CEO: We are creating new opportunities

In a rare interview, PreSonus CEO Jim Boitnott has opened up to Headliner about how the traditional and home studio sectors are faring, and how the company has been exploring new opportunities in the market to grow its customer base.

From the onset of the Covid pandemic in early 2020, the home and traditional studio sectors have experienced largely contrasting fortunes. While professional or traditional studios were forced to close during certain iterations of lockdown, the home studio market is booming, with some of the biggest names in the business seeing a demand for smaller, project studio products rocket.

Here, in a Headliner exclusive, Boitnott talks market trends and the various challenges and opportunities facing the business…

How has business for PreSonus been impacted by the pandemic? What kind of trends have you been seeing?

Many of the trends we were seeing in 2018 and 2019 seem to have accelerated during the second half of 2020. We were already seeing growth in the home recording market, especially with content creators, podcasters, and live streamers.

While we'd already identified these areas as new growth markets for PreSonus products, in a short time they are now becoming a larger part of our user base.

PreSonus is, at its core, a solutions company. As such, we were able to create new market opportunities during the pandemic that will continue forward for us and to help a new burgeoning customer group achieve their goals, which is very rewarding to see.

At the same time, some of our ‘live production’ products went largely unnoticed until restrictions eased, and we are seeing them bounce back this year as live sound makes its comeback.

What kind of impact has lockdown had on the home recording market?

I think we saw a few things emerge: hobbyists with some experience jumping back into home recording, as well as those with some interest in recording finally making the investment and pursuing their passion.

We also saw some full and part-time audio professionals who may not have considered recording at home before suddenly setting up home or mobile rigs to expand their recording capabilities.

We saw 2019 trends accelerate in the second half of 2020. Jim Boitnott, CEO, PreSonus

Have you seen any specific product ranges performing particularly well during this time?

We’ve seen a rise in content creators and entry-level home musicians. Our Studio One DAW, audio interfaces, studio monitors and our new Revelator USB microphone have done really well.

Our mid-level customers with a bit more experience have leaned towards workflow-improvement tools, like FaderPort and ATOM controllers. We also launched our new online membership platform, PreSonus Sphere, which provides licenses for just about every piece of PreSonus software, as well as online collaboration tools that facilitate making music while socially distant.

It also includes a library of masterclasses to learn more about music production, which has been useful for beginners and advanced users alike. For those just starting out and people just stuck at home who wanted to make music and get better at recording, PreSonus Sphere has given them all the tools they need, as well as an online community to connect with.

Has the rise in home recording led you to ramp up R&D in this area?

Fortunately, we made the decision to start doing that in 2018 and were able to benefit from that effort sooner than many others in our market. We made some good decisions at that time, and we are still on that strategic course.

How has the traditional studio sector been affected by the pandemic? Have things only started to pick up again in recent months since lockdown restrictions were reduced?

The traditional studio sector was hit just as hard as live performances in some ways. There were projects that some engineers were able to keep working on at home, but recording and other collaborative tasks were certainly delayed for many people.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen an increase in traditional studio progress. But we’ve also noticed that like many companies learning to work from home, many studios seem to be trying some new things as well.

Again, this is where something like PreSonus Sphere comes into play; with collaboration tools integrated into Studio One, projects can be easily worked on at multiple locations.