After 12 years of being a private, family-owned business, headphone manufacturer V-Moda is being acquired by Roland — another company with deep roots in music electronics. Roland is buying a 70 percent stake, leaving 30 percent ownership with V-Moda founder Val Kolton.
Kolton will remain on as CEO after the merger; both brands will remain separate, letting V-Moda hold onto its strong reputation with audiophiles. The company has also fared well with Amazon customer reviews; its headphones like the Crossfade M-100 and more recently the Crossfade Wireless all have an average review rating well above four stars. Roland, meanwhile, has been one of the most iconic names in music equipment since the ’70s, creating the iconic TR-808 drum machine (thus the timing of today’s announcement) plus many other synthesizers and instruments.
Despite that name recognition, Kolton recently told The Verge there are no plans to add Roland to any packaging on its products. This is less about co-branding than it is finding an established, well-regarded partner capable of expanding V-Moda’s scale and backing the company’s premium headphones with more engineering resources. “It allows us to launch products that we’ve created that we didn’t have the resources to do before,” he said. “On the collaboration side, we get to collaborate with Roland on more products that are music instrument related and electronic / dance related.”
One of the first new products set to come from the combined Roland / V-Moda will be a Bluetooth speaker called the V-Moda Remix. Kolton don’t have a unit to show me in New York, but promised “multiple world firsts” in terms of features. The Remix will be priced at around $300 and is being positioned as a “luxury, high end” speaker — so it’s not exactly meant to compete with more mainstream products like the UE Boom 2. Other products will also debut in the coming months. Aside from the 70 / 30 split, specific financial details around Roland’s purchase of V-Moda are confidential.