Moog Music in a Pandemic World

This story is the second of three this week in which I connect with Asheville-based companies serving the music industry. — bk

Asheville, North Carolina-based Moog Music has reacted to new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in both expected and novel ways. While a number of the electronic music instrument manufacturer’s 100 employee-owners are working from home, those at the Broadway Street facility have long since made adjustments. “We introduced social distancing measures, PPE, temperature checks and other measures before they were suggested,” says CMO Joe Richardson. “One of our core values is to love and respect all humans; we couldn’t live up to that standard if we failed to protect our employees from this crisis.”

In mid-May, Moog unveiled its newest synthesizer, the Subharmonicon. But the announcement had originally been scheduled for much earlier. North Carolina’s stay-at-home mandate resulted in reduced production, and the company faced delays in materials from suppliers as well. “This disruption also substantially reduced the volume of global supply available at launch,” Richardson says.

But while supply is a considerable challenge, demand remains strong for Moog products, Richardson says. “We are finding new artists and creators interested in spending their time at home with music as a means of exploration and creative expression,” he says. Richardson does note a recent shift of consumer interest toward the company’s lower-priced instruments and away from products like the Moog One, which retails for around $6000.

Recent expansion of the company’s facility makes social distancing more practical. It has also allowed Moog to temporarily shift some production from synthesizers to critical PPE. To date, the company – partnering with local cycling apparel company Kitsbow – has produced more than 12,000 face shields.

Richardson remains optimistic about Moog Music’s post-pandemic future. “Bob Moog believed that ‘To be human, to be fully human, is to need music and derive nourishment from the music you hear,’” he says. “And that belief forms the basis of our positive outlook for the future.”