July 15, 2010
VOLUME 27, NO. 07

THE MAGAZINE FOR MUSICAL INSTRUMENT AND SOUND PRODUCT MERCHANDISERS

 
 
America The Beautiful
 

   
 

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Music & Sound Awards
INSIDE NAMM 2011


Table of Contents
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FEATURE
Class is in Session
We feature many of the new, hot companies that exhibited at NAMM in January.

Gibson
Indictments Likely

Gibson Guitar is expected to face charges due to alleged illegal wood imports.

NRF Talks Jobs,
Jobs and More Jobs

The key to retailers' success for 2011 is, you guessed it, jobs. But a lot more was discussed at the 100th NRF Annual Convention.

It’s a Record!
We give you a huge review of last month’s NAMM show. Were retailers and manufacturers optimistic for the rest of this year?
MSR Exclusive Interview
Zildjian and Vic Firth have teamed up to form a percussion powerhouse. We met with Craigie Zildjian and Vic Firth at NAMM to give you all of the details about the merger.
Music Group's Master Plan
We get an exclusive look at the future of The Music Group, parent of Behringer, Bugera and more. We get an exclusive look at product launches, as well!

Knock it Off With the Knockoffs!
Counterfeit products are killing the MI industry. But one company is fighting back big time. We’ll tell you how badly knockoffs could affect the industry if left unchecked.

Music & Sound Award Nominees
We release the full list of nominees for Music & Sound Awards. See if your favorite product, person or company is nominated.

Taylor-Made For Europe
Taylor Guitars will sell all of its products directly to dealers in Europe beginning on Jan. 1. Find out why the big change was made and where Taylor’s European headquarters will be. We interview Brian Swerdfeger about it first.

We Cover it All!
For the second time, we honor instruments that get zero or little press...

A ‘Super’ Party on Kent Island
Experience PRS loaded up on celebrities, new products and much more. Get the full scoop...

‘Father of RMM’ Passes
Karl Bruhn, a tireless music industry devotee, mentored many and made awareness of health and wellness together a lifelong initiative.
Don’t ‘Skip’ this Story!
Skip’s Music Celebrates 30th Anniversary of its Special Event

I Just Wanna Bang
on the Drums All Day

Your One-Stop Shop For The Holidays!
Heathcare Provision Could
Be a Nightmare

America the Beautiful

Not Doubting Thomas
Mendello Retires, Thomas Named Fender CEO

Music City Myster
y

-The Latest, Industry, Dealers, People and Product Buzz and Showcases.

COLUMNS
NAMM in Photos
A lot happened at NAMM in January to say the least. We capture plenty of it within our three-page NAMM photo collage.
The Music & Sound
Independent Retailer

We cover the sad passing of two prominent retailers and another named the "Citizen of the Year."
Music & Sound Award
Dealer Winners

Our list of dealer winners for the 25th Music & Sound Awards.
Music & Sound Award Manufacturer Winners
Our list of manufacturer winners. And, this time, we got them to provide comments on the victories.
Five Minutes With
Learn tons about Yamaha with Takuya (Tak) Nakata, president of the company's USA division.
MI Spy
Spy took a long flight from the cold of New York to the less cold, but quite windy, San Francisco.
Appraisal Scene Investigation
Rebecca Apodaca takes another look at the legendary guitar builder R.C. Allen.
Sales Guru
Unfortunately, Gene Fresco couldn't attend NAMM for health reasons. But he does have great information about a topic he hasn't covered before. He will help you get into your own head and make you believe. Believe what? Gene will tell you.
Business & Marketing
Carl Mandelbaum will present tips on how to develop your Web site.
Veddatorial
Dan Vedda did attend NAMM. He has a lot of thoughts to share about the show.


FORMIDABLE FEMALES

Sharon Hennessey: Loves our industry, you will find out. She'll also tell you why she ultimately decided to join The Music People! And yes, she will definitely fill you in on her goals as a new NAMM board member.
Carla Alger: Being in the music industry is definitely the most exciting opportunity Carla Alger, chief financial officer at Two Old Hippies, has ever had. Find out why.
Dawn Werk
:Dawn Werk, Alpha Books’ director of marketing, heads a group that is responsible for 450 non-fiction books. Now that’s a lot! Music is a small, but very important, part of that catalog.
Sonia Vallis: Sonia Vallis might be an only child, but she grew up with a sibling that has now become like another child to her.-
Catherine Polk

Cyndi Fritz
Janet Deering
Kathy How
Sarah Heil
Sue Avant

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Music City Mystery
Will Summer NAMM Return in ’11?
[July 2010 - Page 1]

It was hard to know what to expect. Nashville had recently been devastated by flooding. What would we see when we arrived in the Music City on June 17, one day before Summer NAMM began? Right after touching down in Nashville, a tremendous thunderstorm rolled through the city, deluging it with water. However, the skies quickly cleared up. A couple of hours later, you would not know it had rained at all.

From the outside, there was no way to know Nashville had been devastated by flooding. Clearly, a tremendous amount of work was completed to return to normalcy.

But questions about the show remained. Would Summer NAMM’s atmosphere be different this year as compared to previous shows? Would it be business as usual?

Before arriving, we knew one thing would change at the show. NAMM-invited guests, including students and teachers, roamed the floors on June 20, the last day of Summer NAMM. Was the industry open to such a change?
There were several questions to be answered this year. Perhaps the most questions we’ve faced since Summer NAMM’s location was at the forefront of the conversation. Remember our questions in this magazine about whether Summer NAMM should take place in Austin, Indianapolis, Nashville or some other city, such as, perhaps, New Orleans?
NAMM registration reached 12,463 at last month’s show. More than 380 exhibitors showed off their latest products. The attendance was close to a 4 percent drop from 2009’s 12,967 figure. The attendance has dropped 30 percent since 2008’s show.
Now the question is whether Summer NAMM will take place next year. NAMM will certainly contact its members for extensive feedback before making any decisions. “For us, we’ve always done well at Summer NAMM,” said Scott Davies, general manager of the American DJ group of companies. “We always have supported, and always will support, the industry. We have products that always fill a particular need and will always be there for our dealers. The dealers we saw at the show were more confident in their futures than they have been in previous years. However, with that said, how one company views a show is much different from how a show in general is viewed.”
For the people who did attend the show, reviews were mostly positive. Many applauded NAMM for doing everything it could to keep Summer NAMM a worthwhile event. Dealers glowed when talking about the face-to-face time they received with manufacturers, as opposed to the hectic atmosphere in Anaheim. Retailers to which we spoke also were excited to get business done at Summer NAMM. But one change was noticeable when talking to a number of retailers: animosity toward manufacturers that did not exhibit at the show was present. As one dealer said to us, “I took the time and effort to come to Nashville, so why can’t they?”
Members of the public could be spotted right away on the last day of the show via purple wristbands. The number of public guests was not huge, but the ones who walked through the doors were unanimously excited and happy they came in, at least according to our straw poll. One, who asked that his name not be printed, teaches lessons at a music store and received a voucher to attend the show. “It’s pretty cool to see all of this [gear],” he said. “I can’t see this stuff normally. I talked to the guys in all of the bands I play in and they are coming to the show. I get the feeling out here that I’m kind of getting ‘inside’ information that other people can’t get. It’s a really cool feeling.”
Mark and Christian Kincaide purchased half-priced tickets through their local music store. They own a production company and said they are considering joining NAMM. Mark Kincaide said paying $10 for each ticket was well worth the expense. “I was very excited to come to the show,” he said. “I can’t make it to Anaheim (even if I could get in). It’s just too far to travel. It’s nice to be able to come to one place and see so many things. That provides a huge advantage. I’m a drummer and I play Tama drums. Tama is here as part of Hoshino. I want to see their products. I also want to check out the guitar products, since there are many more guitar companies than drum companies here.”
NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond kicked off the show with his annual State of the Industry NAMM University Breakfast session. Before Lamond took the stage, Victor Wooten and his family put on a memorable performance. Lamond discussed Nashville’s recovery efforts with area resident Wooten and Mayor Karl Dean. “During a 36-hour period, we had 13-and-one-half inches of rain,” Dean said. “That broke every record. The city suffered about $2 billion in damages and many lives were lost. We had 14,000 volunteers right after, helping others to recover.”
Lamond proceeded to bring out a panel, including Denise Brassé of the National Retail Federation, Mark Dobosz of the Score Foundation and Kevin Cranley of Willis Music, to talk about retail strategies, whether your store is improving, declining or staying the same in 2010. “When you think about the state of the industry, it’s very risky territory,” said Lamond. “…But it’s not about the industry. It’s about the individual companies. I’m sure you take an interest in how the industry is doing. But, at the end of the day, I’m sure the thing you think about most is how you’re doing. Economically, we’re probably stuck in a range for the next couple of years.”
Marketing consultant Jon Schallert led the Saturday morning breakfast session with plenty of ideas for retailers. Schallert pointed out you need to have what he called a “destination business.” “You have to make a business so compellingly different that consumers will deviate from their typical buying patterns,” Schallert said.
He discussed strategic and tactical steps needed to be successful as a business owner. “You have to think bigger. You need to draw consumers in from what is called five time zones. Think about consumers who live more than three hours from your store and ask yourself how different you need to be to get them to come to your store. Even if they never come to your store, your differentiation must start with that consumer. You need unique positioning. I’m not talking about a unique selling position. I’m talking about the need for you to have a two- to four-paragraph statement with a killer first sentence. When someone hears it, they will say, ‘I want to go to that place.’ The way to develop that first sentence is with something like, ‘We’re the single source or the home of something.’ Don’t try to write this stuff down. You want to record it.”
Schallert added that terms like “super service,” “great selection,” etc., are phrases not to use because consumers don’t remember them. “A consumer will judge or misjudge your store within seven seconds,” he said. “Seventy percent of the time, when a consumer walks through your doors, they unknowingly glance to the right. We don’t know why. They will look at what’s called your ‘dominant wall’ first.”
Schallert also advocated putting something behind your register that truly shows you’re different. “Make sure there’s something there that makes you one of a kind,” he said. An example is to frame a large classic photo from your store’s early days, assuming you’ve been in business for many years. This will prove you’ve been committed to your community for a long time.

In With the New: Always a highlight at Summer NAMM is the host of new companies looking for retailers. Perhaps making the biggest splash was Oriolo Guitars, many featuring Felix the Cat designs by Don Oriolo, the owner of the cartoon character. For much more on Oriolo Guitars, see next month’s issue.
Among the other new companies was Awesome Musical Instruments. Thomas Wnorowski, founder of the company, was one of those searching for a dealer base. “We wanted to attend the NAMM show to find manufacturers, reps and dealers,” he said. “We want buyers who want to shore up their sagging sales. Sales were down for electric guitars about 29 percent in the first quarter of this year. We wanted to give dealers the opportunity to have something truly new and innovative….Our product gives any three-pickup electric guitar 35 unique pickup tones, which is 700 percent more pickup tones than anything that exists. It gives you more choices…We have also drop-in hot-rod mods that let you modify your existing instruments to produce the amazing functionality of 35 pickup tones.”
The product is available now. There are two models: Prices of the guitars range from $799 to $999.

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