As we hurtle headlong into the a new decade – the 2020s – it’s a good time to pause and take stock of some of the major events of our industry’s recent history by ranking the Top 10 Strata-gee stories of 2019 based on total page views. This ranking shows just what stories drew the most attention of Strata-gee’s eminently intelligent and inquisitive readers.
Last week’s Strata-gee story on the final liquidation of what remains of Thiel not only drew a huge number of readers, it also sent a big chunk of them on to the auctioneer’s website (McLemore Auctions). Many of those readers who journeyed to the auction were in search of a great deal on a good line of Thiel speakers. But then, in an unexpected twist, a source reached out to Strata-gee to offer a warning to those in search of a great deal on Thiel.
Know this before bidding in the Thiel auction…[Read more…] about Angling at Auction for a Deal on Thiel? Heed This Warning
The long sad saga of Thiel is just about over for good. Having entered bankruptcy in October 2018, an auction house has finally been selected and started the process of liquidating all that remains of the former Nashville, Tenn-based Thiel…including Thiel Loudspeakers, Aurora by Thiel wireless music systems, and detritus from the Aurora Studio live streaming music studio.
Hot deal – cold brand: The Thiel liquidation…[Read more…] about Swan Song for Thiel: Total Liquidation Has Begun
Strata-gee *EXCLUSIVE* Interview with Tom Thiel
Although Strata-gee has loosely followed Thiel Audio for many years, since 2012, when the company was sold by co-founder Kathy Gornik to a group of Tennessee private equity investors, our coverage intensified. Part of the motivation for devoting more coverage to this stage of Thiel, was a growing interest in the apparent deteriorating state of specialty A/V – but it was also fueled by a wacky, reality-show like, “You’re Fired!” atmosphere as principal owner David B. Griffin routinely dismissed newly constituted management teams. With five different CEOs over a five-year period, some with tenures measured in months, the company’s business suffered from inconsistent fits-and-starts as each team pursued a new direction.
This state of constant turmoil at Thiel caused extreme consternation among – first the Thiel dealer base, and when that disappeared – Thiel end-users, many of whom were huge fans of Jim Thiel. A host of audio forums and bulletin boards had ongoing, passionate postings bemoaning the end of an era: the end of the Kathy Gornik era…and of course, the end of the Jim Thiel era.
Kind of like in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, when Obi-wan says: “That boy is our last hope.” Yoda replies: “No, there is another…” [Read more…] about The Forgotten Thiel
Thiel Owners Celebrate the News of the Rebirth of Thiel Service
The rumors have been swirling around various audio blogs and forums for a couple of weeks now and Strata-gee has confirmed that the service department of Thiel Audio, the only part of the Nashville-based company that remains in Lexington, KY, has been split off from the company and purchased by long time head of service, Rob Gillum. The development is incredibly good news for Thiel owners everywhere, many of whom were crushed to hear the brand was closing down.
Rob Gillum talks to Strata-gee… [Read more…] about King Thiel is Dead, Long Live Coherent Source Service
After a tumultuous five-year period, which began in 2012 when Thiel was sold to Tennessee private investor David B. Griffin, we can now confirm that Thiel Audio has been closed for good. Failing some kind of 11th hour rescue, another great American audio brand will be relegated to the dustbin of history.
See what we know of the closing of Thiel Audio… [Read more…] about Thiel is Toast, Specialty Audio Takes Another Hit
Significant Staff Terminations Drop Headcount
We are hearing from multiple sources both public and private that Thiel Audio has ceased operations, effective November 30, 2017. If true, the news would be a sad punctuation to the end of the story of a once proud high-end audio brand that since 2012 has endured multiple CEO’s and their changing business plans. Current CEO Elyse McKenna is, by our count, the fifth CEO at Thiel since the end of 2012 – a year which started with co-founder Kathy Gornik as the CEO who then sold the company to David B. Griffin, a wealthy farmer and landowner according to our sources.
But, apparently, the answer to the question posed in our headline is that it depends on who you ask. CEO Elyse McKenna, in a telephone interview this afternoon, denied that Thiel is closed and tells us the company remains open for business.
See more on this confusing news on Thiel… [Read more…] about More Thiel Turmoil – Is It Closed? Is It Open?
We learned this week that Thiel Audio (Thiel) has had another significant round of layoffs, including CEO Tom Malatesta, Chief Revenue Officer Stuart Levine, Director of Music Industry Relations Mark Mason (no relation to engineer Mark Mason who left much earlier), as well as two other lower level staff – who have all been let go within the last six-to-eight weeks. Furthermore, Chief Brand Officer Rebecca Abrahams, who led the launch of their Aurora live music performance and streaming studio, left the company in January of this year. No reason was given for any these separations and, true to form, Thiel has made no official public announcement regarding the dismissals.
See more on this new turn of the turnstile at Thiel… [Read more…] about Management Turnstile Turns Again at Thiel Audio
Thiel Audio, in a series of press releases on their website, announced multiple new products to be launched at this week’s CES in Las Vegas. Some of these new products are being launched under the Thiel brand name, while others are being offered under the Aurora brand – a brand that was originally created for a 4K music venue at the company’s headquarters in Nashville, TN.
This launch represents what the company hopes will be the next chapter in the troubled brand’s long-running saga.
See more on Thiel’s new models… [Read more…] about Thiel Launches Multiple New Products at CES
Third CEO Since Acquisition Three Years Ago
On Monday of this week, Thiel Audio Products, Inc. unexpectedly announced that it has hired a new CEO for the organization. This announcement appears to refer to the CEO we previously told you about back in October 2015, although the release announces his appointment retroactively, effective January 15, 2016.