I recently caught up with James Krakowski, Executive VP, Americas Bowers & Wilkins to talk about the Sound United acquisition, the evolution of B&W and that iconic True Sound. Part 1
Maureen Jenson: Bowers & Wilkins is one of the industry’s most iconic loudspeaker brands. For the uninitiated, please tell our readers a little bit about the company’s history.
James Krakowski: Bowers & Wilkins was founded in 1966 by John Bowers in Worthing, UK. John had a passion for music which set him on a quest to develop loudspeakers that neither added to nor took away from the music. John used to say, “The best loudspeaker isn’t the one that gives the most, it’s the one that loses the least.” This guiding principle is still true today and is what has driven the world class products that Bowers & Wilkins has been recognized for over the last 54 years.
MJ: You were recently acquired by Sound United. Tell us about that and the continuing B&W evolution?
JK: Bowers & Wilkins is excited to be part of the Sound United family and we are looking forward to our continued growth as part of the industry’s strongest portfolio of premium audio brands. In the beginning the company was focused on creating loudspeakers that delivered incredible stereo sound but as consumers’ needs for premium audio changed with the introduction of new formats to new applications, such as multichannel, the company evolved as well. What did not change is the company’s commitment to True Sound through innovation. You do not need to look further than the iconic Zeppelin or to the advanced CI 800 Series Diamond architectural speakers to recognize this evolution to provide the best sound experience however our customers want to listen.
600 Series Anniversary Edition Matte White Home Cinema
MJ: How are your product lines meeting the needs of today’s consumers?
JK: I like to say that Bowers & Wilkins makes a product that meets the need of every consumer today, no matter how they want to consume audio content. Clearly, we are known for our stereo speakers, like our Nautilus that was introduced in 1993 that are easily recognized by their design or our 800 D3 speakers that are the epitome of audio performance. However, Bowers & Wilkins is not just about 2 channel audio, we are also a leader in home theater speakers. This is true with our CT800 speakers that are used in both commercial and residential theaters as well as our architectural speakers that seamlessly blend into a home’s décor. However, consumers today also expect convenience and simplicity to access audio content but that doesn’t mean they need to sacrifice performance and with our Formation line of wireless speakers and our premium headphones, we can meet the needs of every one no matter how or where they listen to audio.
606 S2 Anniversary Edition Pair Oak Grill On with Stand
MJ: You mention True Sound what does that mean today with the product lines you mentioned?
JK: True Sound today has even more meaning than what John Bowers originally intended it to be. This is because many of the most recognized music producers and Sound Engineers in the entertainment industry today use Bowers & Wilkins speakers to master the audio tracks that consumers are listening to. This is true with smaller independent producers or artist and with our larger studios like Abbey Road Studios, Skywalker Sound, or Real World Studios. Artists and engineers recognize that Bowers & Wilkins speakers produce audio in the purest possible way and its why consumers can experience True Sound when watching Star Wars or listening to a new rock track mastered on our speakers.
607 S2 Anniversary Edition
MJ: We have seen and heard about Bowers & Wilkins a great deal more in the past year, what do you attribute that to.
JK: We recognized we had to evolve to ensure our success for the next 54 years. We understood we could not be satisfied with our reputation speaking for us we had to be as passionate and innovative for how we went to market as we were with our product development. I call it the modernization of Bowers & Wilkins and we are just getting started with many more great things to come, it’s kind of like waking the sleeping giant with a great new audio track on pair of 800 D3s!
Stay tuned next week when James discusses the COVID-19 impact on business, dealer support and forging into 2021!