GC Discontinues Relationship with Behringer

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Upfront
• Created: May 21, 2014

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On May 16, 2014, Guitar Center gave direct notice to Behringer (of parent company, MUSIC Group) that they would no longer be carrying any of their products in-store and terminating their relationship with Behringer for the foreseeable future. The decision was made by Guitar Center executive leadership "based on Behringer’s revision to untenable business terms late last year and a continuous history of attempting to force unfavorable changes into agreements."

“Decisions like this are never made easily,” says a spokesperson for GC. “There are rare occasions where the integrity of the relationships and agreements we make with vendors are challenged, despite the potential impact to the bottom line or overall sales.  We can’t speak for anyone else in the industry, but we’d had enough of watching Behringer try to do business this way.  It’s not the way we like to work with people and it’s not productive. They made some questionable choices that put us into a position to develop a contingency plan.  As we re-evaluated that plan several weeks ago, we found that it would allow us to build better relationships with other vendor partners in the category.  When Plan B starts to make this much business sense, it became clear we didn’t need to tolerate this anymore. We’re focused on where we can succeed in partnership with our new vendors and we’re excited about the future…”

In a press release issued on May 21, MUSIC Group CEO Uli Behringer described the situation in the following terms: “We were surprised by a recent public statement issued by Guitar Center. Over the last year, due to GC’s highly publicized financial situation, we were forced to evaluate their credit worthiness.  As a result of their credit rating, it was determined that they were a high risk and we were forced to put them on business hold. We certainly respect GC’s decision to discontinue business with us and we thank them for our excellent 20-year relationship.”

“You know, I’ve never met Uli, but I suppose his reputation in the industry really does speak for itself in terms of how they’re communicating about this,” said Guitar Center VP of Communications & Corporate Affairs Christopher Ian Bennett on May 21. “I’m certainly disappointed to see he’s playing so loose with the truth and not being upfront with people about all the facts. Either way, our company values are based on Innovation, Humility, and Integrity, so I think it’s important to take the high road and maintain some decorum here about how and why we made the difficult decision to cease carrying Behringer products. As someone who’s worked in corporate communications for more than 20 years, I would wager it’s no easy job being the PR team who has to try and manage this guy. Wow… Whatever their plans are next, we absolutely wish them well…"

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