Loud Technologies, owner of iconic audio brands Ampeg, Blackheart, Crate, EAW, Mackie, Martin Audio and TAPCO, has been acquired by Transom Capital Group, according to a statement from both companies. The new company will be called LOUD Audio, LLC, and will continue to be led by the current executive team of Loud Technologies.
Transom has previous experience in the audio and music business, having invested in Summit Audio, Blue Microphones, BandMerch and Topspin, but most of its investments are in other non-related industries like sports tech.
I’m generally opposed to music or audio companies making deals with private equity firms, but in this case, the brands involved were already rolled up by Loud, and Transom is providing much needed capital for growth. Also, if past history with Blue and Summit is any indicator, the essence of the brand remains after acquisition, which isn’t the case in most equity deals.
Loud Technologies had a much smaller footprint than usual at recent trade shows, with fewer new products and less of an advertising presence than in the past. That usually indicates that the company is strapped for cash, but after cutting a deal with Transom, expect to see all of those indicators improve.
That said, the essence of most companies in our industry is built around making music, not money. Yes, money is always a factor for everyone, but the reason why we all entered this business had to do with being artistic and doing it as much as we could on our own terms. When a audio or MI company gets rolled up, some of that spirit gets squeezed out as the company turns into the exact thing that we all wanted to escape from in the first place.
As stated above, Transom has a good track record of leaving the companies it acquires with their core principles intact while working to make them better. Let’s hope that’s the case with LOUD as well.