What's the story on these guys?
Most people have never heard of MusicYo before purchasing a Steinberger, and are unclear of exactly who/what they are. Here's some history. . .
Gibson, the owner of the Steinberger, is a traditional well-established guitar manufacturer. What this also means is that they have a seriously established dealer network. The growth of the internet could offer Gibson some interesting options, but their dealers wouldn't quietly stand for their customers being able to come in and try out a Les Paul, then be able to go home and buy it direct from Gibson (especially at significant savings). That would be viewed as taking money out of the dealer's pockets.
But opportunity knocks . .
When Gibson moved Steinberger operations into Nashville, they were also bringing the rest of their far flung operations under the same roof. This was most of their familiar brands, including Epiphone. The head of this division, Jim Rosenberg, relocated to TN from CA. But he and his family became homesick and had a desire to move back home. Jim had successfully run Epiphone for over 7 years and he saw the power of the internet. And MusicYo was born.
Now, this next part is speculation. No one will confirm or deny exactly what the fiscal and/or ownership links are between Gibson and MusicYo. But we know there's something there, as MusicYo only carries Gibson merchandise under exclusive arrangements and the ties between the management are well-known.
By setting it up this way, Gibson could test the waters by offering only the "dead" lines they owned. These were brands which had been effectively abandoned by the dealer network (since they wouldn't carry them any more) - Steinberger, Kramer, Tobias, etc. The risk of blowback from the dealers would be minimal, and it would allow Gibson/MusicYo to enter the direct-to-consumer fray through the low-cost alternative the web offered. If they only sold a hundred of one kind of instrument that would still be great sales for a single store.
Since then MusicYo had continued to sell
Steinberger, Kramer, Oberheim, Maestro and a handful of other brand names that
Gibson owns. MusicYo is not a manufacturer - they have the items made to
their specs (mostly overseas). But they do act as a kind of manufacturer
and as such cut out the wholesale / middle-man markup and pass the savings
The Steinberger / MusicYo history
When MusicYo was first entertaining selling Steinbergers they were primarily a low-end / entry level online retailer. The Spirit line was Steinberger's (Gibson's) entry level offering. These items had always been built at the the Cort factory in Korea where both the Cort and Hohner copies were made (the Hohner were almost identical to the Spirits). And at that time Cort was still making the Hohner headless instruments. MusicYo contracted with them to start producing them under the "Spirit by Steinberger" banner again. Production has since moved to another manufacturer affiliated with Gibson but remains in Korea.