Donald Trump’s new tariffs are disastrous for synthesizer manufacturers

Due to rising costs, companies like Moog may need to lay off US workers and move production to China

Moog Synth

It’s easy to overlook Donald Trump’s new tariffs amidst the caterwauling din that is our 24-hour news cycle, but Harley Davidson isn’t the only business to be impacted by the president’s tax battles. Moog Music, the company behind the iconic Moog synthesizer, may also have to take its business overseas, resulting in massive layoffs.

Moog sent out an e-mail to customers this warning customers that an impending 25% import tax on Chinese circuit boards and associated components will “immediately and drastically increase the cost of building our instruments, and have the very real potential of forcing us to lay off workers and could (in a worst case scenario) require us to move some, if not all, of our manufacturing overseas.”

The company is asking supporters to contact their elected officials and urge them to rescind the new taxes. See Moog’s newsletter for more details, a form letter, and the contact information for elected officials in North Carolina, where Moog’s headquarters are located.

(Read: Audio Archaeology: MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman (1969))

As Business Insider points out, one of the biggest problems with Trump’s tariffs is that “[m]any of the goods subject to the new tariffs are intermediate goods, or parts, used to manufacture other final products,” which can have a negative impact on the businesses Trump purports to want to help. “In the case of Moog’s synthesizers, the company uses many American-made circuit boards to create their finished instruments,” it adds. “But raw materials used in the circuit boards are made in China, meaning the price will increase for a downstream manufacturer like Moog.”

Moog synthesizers have been in production since the 1960s, and have been used by, well, pretty much anyone who uses synths.


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