Audio-Technica Celebrates 50 Years... and Is Still Going Strong
In 2012, Audio-Technica celebrated its 50th anniversary—an indication of longevity for any electronics company. The company continues to push for advancing the art and technology of electro-acoustic design in headphones, microphones, USB turntables and other areas.
Audio-Technica was founded in 1962 by Hideo Matsushita, who introduced the company’s first phono cartridge that year. Audio-Technica began producing a range of high-quality phono cartridges, and expanded its facilities in 1963.
Two years later it expanded again, this time to its current address in Naruse, Machida, Tokyo. In 1969, Audio-Technica began distributing an expanded range of products internationally, and in 1972, Audio-Technica U.S. was established; it’s currently located in Stow, Ohio.
In the 1970s and 80s, Audio-Technica broadened its lineup to include products such as its VM Series dual-magnet phono cartridges, ATH Series high-fidelity headphones, professional microphones and other products. In the 1990s, Audio-Technica continued to diversify its offerings with wireless microphone systems, headphones and other products. In 1993, Hideo Matsushita took the position of Chairman, and Kazuo Matsushita became President of Audio-Technica Corporation, a position he continues to hold today.
Since the new millennium, Audio-Technica has continued to expand. In 2008, the company launched what is now one of its major product categories with its first active noise-cancelling headphone. Today, the company offers a diverse product range including USB turntables, which continue to increase in sales as a means of bringing vinyl and digital music together. Audio-Technica has a major presence in the pro as well as consumer markets; its pro products are used by artists including Kenny Chesney, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Metallica, Linkin Park and many others.
Where is the company headed for 2013 and beyond in the consumer space? We asked Greg Pinto, Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Sales; and Crystal Griffith, Consumer Marketing Manager.
Greg Pinto: We’re fortunate to be a headphone manufacturer at a time when it’s one of the strongest CE growth categories. The category’s growth is driven by two key components: the explosion in smartphones and tablets requiring the addition of telecommunications-type features on headphones, and the trend towards licensing and celebrity endorsements.
Headphones in the past didn’t have microphones and track control. As people buy more smartphones and tablets, they’re starting to look for those types of features, which add to the general selling price. Headphones with microphones are driving more growth than those that don’t. That’ll probably continue for about another three years.