Yes, Pioneer DJ May Be for Sale – But Leaving DJ Industry? Er, No!

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 18 September, 2020

Pioneer is to leave the DJ industry, Japanese paper Nikkei Business reports – a story that has since been picked up by Mixmag, among others.

However, it’s not true – or at least, not in the way those DJ publications are implying.

So what’s really going on?

To understand that, you have to understand that Pioneer and Pioneer DJ are not the same company.

Pioneer DJ (the company we tend to all just call “Pioneer”) is actually a subsidiary of parent company Pioneer – and in fact, since 2015, the parent “Pioneer” has owned just a 15% stake in Pioneer DJ, with an investment firm – KKR – owning the other 85%.

Pioneer leaving
Mixmag’s headline (if the story turns out to be true) is technically correct – but it is very misleading, to be charitable.

The real story is that these two companies are now looking to sell Pioneer DJ – as an ongoing concern.

Pioneer – the parent brand – has its own problems and presumably no longer wants its 15% stake, and investors like KKR? Well, that’s what they do – invest in companies then sell them on at a profit.

So the real story, once confirmed to us by any of the companies of course, is this: “Pioneer DJ Is Up For Sale”.

Let’s go round again…

We’ve been here before – Digital DJ Tips reported on a similar chain of events last time the company changed hands, back in 2014 (when KKR got involved).

The truth is that Pioneer DJ is highly profitable, dominating DJing with – according to some reports – up to 70% of the DJ market.

Somebody buying Pioneer DJ and then stopping producing DJ gear would be like somebody buying Apple, and pivoting from iPhones and Macs to, say, toothpaste – ridiculous and nonsensical.

Frankly the way the story is being circulated by Mixmag and others is pretty poor journalism.

Pioneer DJ responds…

In 2015, Pioneer DJ separated from Pioneer Corporation (car and home audio) becoming a completely separate entity, focusing on the electronic music industry.

While there are market speculations over Pioneer DJ’s shareholding, our mission to innovate and inspire people globally will continue in 2019 and beyond. We are committed to investing in the industry and inspiring creativity in DJs and artists through our product development and production.

As a result, our business has continued to demonstrate positive growth thanks to the ongoing support of our customers. We look forward to delivering more innovative products and a very exciting future in the electronic music industry. 

So – is Pioneer, the company that makes car radios and home theatre equipment getting out of DJing? Well nobody’s not denying it, so you’d have to say: It seems so. But is Pioneer DJ getting out of DJing? No. It’s (almost certainly) up for sale. Someone will buy it. Companies change hands all the time. That’s business.

For the end user? It’s very unlikely anything will change, any time soon. And it’s almost certainly business as usual at Pioneer DJ.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts below.

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