FinalScratch3 – Why Stanton Must Deliver Big At NAMM
There’s been a lot of online chatter recently about Stanton debuting FinalScratch3 at the upcoming NAMM show in Anaheim, as if there was a question whether or not the hardware company was just going to abandon the product now that Native Instruments has disassociated themselves from the company.
The “big exclusive” that some organizations have touted as evidence that Stanton was going to showcase FS3 at NAMM came in the form of a small announcement that the company sent around to several sources stating: “The release of Stanton’s FinalScratch3 system will be officially announced at the 2007 Winter NAMM Show. Full product details will not be disclosed until the official release hits, but expect current FS2 users to receive special support for the transition and a feature package that is unmatched in the DJ software world today.”
Yawn. The reality is that Stanton coming out with FS3 isn’t really news to anyone who has one eye, half open on the industry. It was never really a question (see our comments on Stanton and Native Instruments in our DJ controllers story a couple of months ago. – Ed.)
The real question is: Will Stanton step up?
We all know that Native Instruments is going to show up to the party in a big way. They’ve been developing their own hardware system to support Traktor for the last couple of years, and probably couldn’t wait until their contract with Stanton expired, so they could debut their own system – something we also hope to see at NAMM. In addition, Native has a few things in their favor.
First, Traktor really hit its stride with version 3. The program has fully vested, and now has practically every attribute, save killer effects, that DJs want. Second, Native has been on a tear lately with both their hardware and software products, so you know when they drop their system, it’s going to rock. And lastly, Native’s marketing juggernaut is first rate, so you know every DJ, and their mother, from here to Timbuktu is going to hear about the product.
So the question remains: Will Stanton step up?
The odds are not in their favor. After getting an “Apple Computer” makeover, in early 2005, the company has hardly introduced any new products, and what they have released certainly isn’t groundbreaking. Their cookie-cutter marketing efforts are as uninspired as the utilization of the international on/off symbol that they incorporated into their logo. If they are even going to hope to compete with Native Instruments, they are going to have to come up big this January.
The early indicators don’t look positive, and many insiders are not bullish on the company delivering in 2007. However, Stanton could rebound by delivering a FinalScratch3 that doesn’t suck. In fact, as long as the next generation of FS3 doesn’t take a step backwards in design, functionality, reliability and usability, Stanton has a chance to build upon their user base.
However, if FinalScratch3 comes up wanting in any of the above categories, then Stanton will see serious churn with current FinalScratch users migrating to NI’s offering, Serato, Torq, or another solution. Stanton must also introduce a successful new hardware product. Their current product line hasn’t keep up with the current pace of innovation in their market segment, and they need at least one new product that will capture the market’s imagination. If they don’t, then a regime change should not be out of the question.