In the MI industry, there are countless hundreds of manufacturers of music-related gear and scores of distributors that specialize in funneling those products to the market. Much rarer, though, are companies that boast equal strength on the manufacturing and distribution sides, let alone with brands whose names are iconic and widely respected in musician circles. Korg USA is in that small group, and it’s the company’s leader, Joe Castronovo, whom we turn to in this month’s “Five Minutes With.” In our discussion, he traces his history in the music products industry and articulates his deep, abiding love for music. He also gives insight into Korg USA’s process for taking on new brands, as well as its commitment to serve them in a holistic, value-minded way. We close with a discussion of contributing to the MI community and seeding the next generation of music-makers.

Pull up a chair and join the conversation.

Discuss your personal history with, and connection to, the music industry. Have you been interested in music since childhood? If so, how did you pursue that passion for music? Did you always intend to have a career in the industry?

I’ve always loved music. Although I’ve never played a musical instrument, the passion and drive it takes to become an accomplished player is something that I’ve always respected. The music products industry is rarely something you intend to enter unless you love the gear. It’s truly a diverse and passionate industry that can draw you in, and it’s tough to let go.

I joined Unicord, the predecessor company to Korg USA, as the Corporate Controller in 1984. It was the passion of the people I met, and their love for music, that attracted me, and that’s kept me in the industry for the past 33 years. I went to my first NAMM Show in 1986, and I was so overwhelmed with the excitement and the energy. I was hooked!

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