Will Behringer Become ‘The Temu Of Music Gear’ ?

Today, Behringer asked its fans on social media if they’d like to be able to order directly from the company and have gear shipped directly to them.

They used a ‘D2C’ graphic (direct to customer) to illustrate the post that suggests that they may be considering creating a Behringer app or web store, where you could order synths and other electronic music gear directly from the company.

The move would cut out their ‘super-partners’, like Amazon and Sweetwater, for at least some of their sales. If Behringer cuts out the middle man, it could mean higher profits for them, or even cheaper prices for their customers.

Here’s what they shared:

“We’re exploring an additional direct-to-customer shipping model, where products would be sent straight from our factory to you. This would help ensure faster delivery and access to all our products, especially those not carried by our retailers.

We do cherish our super partner relationships and would consider this as an additional channel to ensure we can reach customers in areas currently under-served.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Would you appreciate this direct shipping option? Let us know!”

The combination of inexpensive knockoff products, mobile ordering and direct-to-consumer shipping sounds similar to the business model of Temu, one of the fastest growing companies in the world. Temu’s sales grew from $290 million USD in 2022 to $14 billion in 2023.

This is possible because international shipping is now so good that companies can now ship products quickly and reliably from China to anywhere in the world. And technology has made it possible to manage this at scale, diminishing the value that distributors add.

By cutting out the middle men and focusing on knockoff products, Temu is able to sell ‘look alike’ products for a fraction of the price that people are used to.

While Temu is essentially trying to disintermediate Amazon, creating a platform for Chinese knockoff manufacturers to sell anything directly to consumers around the world, Behringer is more likely to look at extending their ‘vertically integrated’ business model.

Behringer has been successful by focusing largely on knockoff or ‘copycat’ products. This could also be a risk for them, though, as platforms like Temu make it easy for Chinese manufacturers to sell directly to the public, anywhere in the world.

Behringer already specializes in knockoff or ‘copycat’ style products, minimizing their design overhead. Their core business model, which they describe as a ‘market follower’ business model, is to market inexpensive copies of other company’s popular products. And, after doing this for 35 years, they’ve gotten very good at it.

They manufacturer their products in their own ‘factory town’ in China, first ‘Behringer City’ and then later ‘MusicTribe City’. And they’re big enough that they can eliminate suppliers by manufacturing many of their components in house.

For example, Behringer’s sister company CoolAudio makes clones of the integrated circuits that were used in many classic synthesizers. By doing this, they can get key parts for making synths more cost effectively than competitors.

While Behringer says that they “cherish our super partner relationships”, it’s hard to imagine the company not trying to cut out Amazon and Sweetwater down the road, if their Direct to Consumer approach is successful.

Could Temu Disintermediate Behringer?

While Behringer says that they’re ‘exploring’ this direct to consumer idea, its likely that the company will soon be under pressure from Temu itself to act. Otherwise, Temu could essentially disintermediate Behringer.

Temu already sells a wide variety of musical gear, mostly generic instruments and cheap knockoffs of popular gear. Here’s a video from musician EmmaMcGann, demonstrating a handful of instruments she got for nothing off of Temu:

These instruments are so cheap that people can buy them as a laugh. But Temu’s product offerings already are moving into Behringer’s own turf.

A video, via GtoneGuitars, that looks at Temu’s cheapest guitar pedal knockoffs:

These pedals are obviously cheap knockoffs, but they’re already alternatives to Behringer’s own line of knockoff guitar pedals.

Temu’s platform has the potential to make every cheap knockoff manufacturer in China into competition for Behringer. The risk of these bottom-of-the-line knockoffs to Behringer is minimal, for now. But it seems like Behringer knows that this won’t always be the case.

Behringer’s business model has been so disruptive because they’ve focused so intently on making inexpensive copies of other company’s gear. This is easiest to do with old analog gear, because it’s not covered by patents. But it also means that Behringer’s own product line is largely made up of gear that other companies could copy, and that this is more of a risk to Behringer than to companies that create original designs that may be covered by patents, copyright and other IP law.

Because of this, it seems inevitable that Behringer will move forward with trying a direct to consumer approach. The only question is how quickly will they do it.

What do you think about the idea of buying inexpensive synths and music gear directly from Behringer, cutting out Amazon, Sweetwater and other distributors in the process? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!



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