Developed from the professional communities of « instrument makers » set up in the medieval times, the musical instrument industry is today composed of a set of actors related to the technical music industry: industrials, craftsmen, manufacturer, general stores and speciality stores.
They belong to three main categories:
- Craft businesses, which specialise in making, repairing and restoring premium musical instruments
- Mixed structures like music stores, which offer sales service but operate as a craftsman as well (Tuning and Repairing of musical instruments)
- Large manufacturers and industries (Selmer, Buffet Group, Rigoutat, Maugein, Pleyel, etc.)
These companies operate in a highly competitive international environment. However they now occupy the fourth world range thanks to a premium positioning. In France, the musical instrument industry means nearly 2,400 companies of which two thirds are single-person structures. The industry provides 10 000 to 12 000 jobs, its global turnover is estimated to 800 million and 80% of domestic production is exported.
In this highly competitive environment, there are two major challenges :
Integration of technological innovation in the workshops
Instrument making is facing strong competition from low-price production countries like Asia, offering cheap entry-level instruments.
Therefore French craftsmen were forced to reposition themselves by developing mixed activities combining repairing, tuning, sales and service for high-quality instruments. Keep the small businesses ahead in terms of quality and customised solutions involves the development of technical solutions dedicated to craft enterprises.
Alternative materials research
La facture instrumentale est confrontée aux évolutions des normes et des nouvelles réglementations concernant la santé, la sécurité au travail, l’approvisionnement et le développement durable. Certains matériaux naturels habituels dans la fabrication des instruments de musique deviennent ainsi inaccessibles ou soumis à une réglementation très stricte. C’est le cas du bois de pernambouc utilisé dans la fabrication des archets, de l’ivoire utilisé dans la restauration de pianos anciens ou du bois de palissandre des guitares et percussions. La recherche de matériaux alternatifs performants représente donc un enjeu majeur pour la filière.
Itemm’s Innovation Hub tries to meet these challenges by following three development areas:
- business intelligence, technological surveillance and regulatory monitoring (information collection, integration, diffusion)
- management of research studies and public interest works (applied common research, development of dedicated tools)
- individual business support (consulting, customised service, orientation help)