Say it ain’t so! Last week, reports surfaced that legendary guitar manufacturer Gibson Brands, Inc. (commonly known as Gibson Guitar) is facing pending bankruptcy, and may likely close its doors in the near future unless it can get back on financial track. For guitar players young and old who use Gibson guitars and idolize the brand, this would be a huge loss.
An Iconic Brand
Gibson guitars have long been revered as one of the best guitar brands in existence. If you’ve ever Googled “best guitars,” without a doubt a Gibson guitar will be listed on almost every search result. Gibson’s Les Paul guitar, in particular, is a go-to electric guitar and highly sought after by many guitarists. The solid body guitar is produced in many varieties and is a staple in the music industry due to its fine craftsmanship and celebrated tone. In general, Gibson guitars of any kind are synonymous with high-end, rich sounds, and exceptional quality.
While Gibson guitars have been a staple in the music industry for years, and even used by famous rock stars, the company is in serious financial trouble with outstanding loans totaling over $500 million. News sources have speculated that Gibson’s financial troubles largely stem from its investments in a variety of electronic companies combined with declining guitar sales. The company’s CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, confirmed guitar sales haven’t been as profitable recently compared to past years, placing a large majority of the blame on music retail stores.
In an interview with Billboard, he said, “There are problems with the guitar retail industry. All of the retailers are fearful as can be; they’re all afraid of e-commerce, with Amazon just becoming the second largest employer in the U.S., and the brick and mortar guys are just panicking.” Since Gibson only sells its guitars in stores to music shops and not online, it makes sense that the general decline in sales in the music instrument industry would have a substantial effect on the guitar manufacturer.
Although the company is struggling financially, it is taking steps to correct the situation. Just this week, Gibson laid off a portion of its workforce at its custom shops (presumably to cut costs). Additionally, Gibson is in the process of selling various real estate holdings, although the sale of these would not bring in nearly enough money to get the company out of debt. Whether or not Gibson will be able to survive its massive financial problems is still unclear. Although its future seems bleak, Gibson’s enormous popularity and iconic brand name bode well for its chances of success. One thing’s for certain…guitar players everywhere will eagerly await the outcome.
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