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Gibson Emerges as Music Industry Leader; Iconic, Nashville-based Brand Sets the Stage for the Future; A Message From Our CEO James “JC” Curleigh

January 27, 2021 Lifestyle News No Comments Email Email
For the past 127 years, Gibson has been synonymous with creating, inspiring, supporting and shaping sound. 
Gibson has emerged as the legitimate industry leader by leveraging its’ iconic past and leaning into the innovative future. Gibson is played by the best and brightest artists, across generations and genres and is widely considered as the most relevant, most played, and most loved guitar brand around the world. Gibson is gearing up for another record year with compelling new products, innovative new platforms, stunning artist collaborations, dealer-focused solutions, and momentum around Gibson Gives, all moving the iconic, Nashville-based brand forward in 2021 and beyond.
Led by James “JC” Curleigh as President and CEO, a passionate music lover, Gibson shifted into 127-year-old start-up mode, with a clear focus on leveraging the iconic past and leaning into the innovative future. Starting with a renewed obsession to make the best guitars by prioritizing craftsmanship, the authenticity players want, and quality across the board, Gibson doubled down on Nashville, aka Music City USA and made significant investments in technology and efficiency design at the Gibson USA and Gibson Custom Shop factories. The addition of MESA/Boogie and new leadership and talent have infused Gibson Custom Shop, Epiphone, Kramer, and KRK, optimizing supply chains and driving healthy growth with modern methods and an integrated digital platform in the U.S., and for exports worldwide. In 2021, two years after moving from obstacles to opportunities, Gibson has kept its promises by creating award-winning, high-quality guitars and gear, expanding to new levels of global support to promote our artists, fan engagement, and giving back worldwide through Gibson Gives.
“Over the past two years we have been obsessed with balancing our iconic legacy and our innovative future across all areas of Gibson Brands. From the quality of our guitars, the connections with artists, the partnerships with our dealers, and the positive feedback from our fans, the future looks bright,” explains James “JC” Curleigh, President and CEO of Gibson Brands. “And despite the challenges of 2020, a new generation of guitarists has been created and existing guitarists are more engaged than ever, so it’s up to us to keep this momentum going in 2021 and beyond.”
In 2021, Gibson will continue to build on the growth, success, and earned momentum that the music world has come to expect from Gibson Brands. The year started off with the industry shifting announcement that MESA/Boogie will join Gibson Brands, a move that will further strengthen the company’s leadership position in the industry and pro audio division. Next will be the focus on delivering the Gibson experience in innovative new ways. First is the launch of the new Gibson App, a comprehensive app designed for guitarists at all skill levels to watch, learn and shop. Second will be the opening of the Gibson Garage, a unique ‘real’ place in Nashville designed to provide guitar enthusiasts with a unique experience centered around the iconic brands of Gibson, Epiphone, Kramer, KRK, and MESA/Boogie – compete with a ‘live’ stage, customization and made-to-measure options, exclusive products, brand collaborations, and even guitar repair and restoration. Third, will be bringing the Gibson Brands to life online and in-stores, at all the best Guitar Dealers around the world, including our new partnership with Reverb, rounding our Gibson’s own omni-channel experiences.
To keep pace with this growth, Gibson Brands will be investing more than ever in 2021 to continue their obsession with quality, innovation, increase capacity across all facilities, and strengthen their foundation. This will include the launch of the ‘state-of-the-art’ Gibson Repair and Restoration Center also located in Nashville, and several new innovative platforms like the Gibson Murphy Lab at the Custom Shop, a new Color Lab located at Gibson USA factory, and a new Sound Lab to be announced soon.
Central to our iconic brand are our artist partners, who have been our voice, driving innovation, connection, and culture progressively forward. The Gibson Alliance and the KRK Kreator Alliance are the official forums which include our legendary musicians, innovative movers and shakers, and new talent. The Gibson Alliance includes musicians from Slash, Billy Gibbons, Margo Price, Luis Fonsi, Sergio Vallin, Lzzy Hale, Alex Lifeson, Jared James Nichols, Emily Wolfe and more. The KRK Kreator Alliance features artists, producers, and engineers, including Scott Storch, Jacquire King, Dave Pensado, Steve Marcantonio, Tina Guo, Ali Stone, Javier Garza, Cut Chemist, GianMarco Zignago, Dave Way and more. The Gibson Alliance and KRK Kreator Alliance teams focus on thought leadership, R&D and product development, and mentorship of the next generation of players, as well as philanthropic opportunities.
Gibson celebrates a wide-ranging group of creators and honors theirs influence, diversity, and inclusion, which is ever-growing. From innovators including Captain Kirk Douglas of The Roots and Marcus King, as well as welcoming new talent to the Gibson family like female powerhouse Orianthi and multi-instrumentalist Celisse, every one of our artists has a story that expands the many ways Gibson Brands connects with our fans around the world. We grow through our artists and they help us stay socially engaged and united to people through music and songwriting. Today, and through the years, our artist partners have all brought new dimensions to our brands and they represent fans of all races, creeds, and regions across the globe.
In 2021, the first class from the Gibson Generation Group (G3) –a global, two-year youth mentoring program–will graduate. The Gibson Generation Group is currently represented with 20 highly talented, undiscovered, young musicians spanning in age from 11 to 20 years-old from India, Spain, China, Norway, France, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, the U.K., and the U.S. The G3 provides these players with one-of-a-kind career opportunities only Gibson can offer. Once selected, G3 artists receive one-on-one mentoring from the global Entertainment Relations Team, obtain access to our massive online and social platforms, interview, performance and promotion opportunities and attention for their music, are showcased worldwide alongside our legendary artists.
In mid-2019, the brand re-launched its charitable arm Gibson Gives, and now also KRK Kares, both 501(c)(3) foundations that believe in the power of music, and that getting instruments into the hands of those with a desire to make music is a truly life-changing event. Gibson Gives immediately committed to donating 1,000 guitars in 1000 days to charities and in November 2020 sailed above and beyond the initial goalpost by donating 1100 guitars in 500 days. Gibson Gives works extensively with other charities, to support and raise funds including The Recording Academy (GRAMMYs) MusiCares, Guitars For Vets (helping U.S. military veterans with PTSD), ‘Let’s Stay (In) Together’ Apollo Theater Benefit, Women Who Rock (raising $45,000 in Oct. 2020 for breast cancer research at Magee Women’s Research Institute) Ryan Seacrest Foundation (placing instruments in their U.S. hospitals), MyMusicRx® Children’s Cancer Association (music lessons for hospitalized kids and teens facing cancer) and the Do it for the Love’ Foundation (a wish-granting nonprofit organization for people living with life-threatening illnesses). Gibson Gives believes investing in music education will yield better people, better leaders, and a better world. GG is outfitting schools with music resources in the U.S and worldwide with Playing For Change, Save the Music, Notes for Notes, Life by Music, Samanlego School (Vitoria, Spain), Gallatin High School (Bozeman, MT), Maplewood High School (Nashville, TN), Manos Escuela de Guitarra (Aguascalientes, Mexico), Give A Note, the Teenage Cancer Trust (London, U.K.), Music Heals Foundation (Vancouver, B.C.) and much more to come in 2021. 100% of all donations to and from Gibson Gives go towards giving the gift of music and since inception, Gibson Gives has provided thousands of guitars and related value-in-kind in-excess-of $30 million.
Across all of Gibson’s brands and collections, the story continues to be told with iconic and emerging artists that inspire the now and nurture the next generation of Gibson, Epiphone, Kramer, MESA/Boogie, and KRK fans.

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