w w w. m m r m a g a z i n e . c o m
NAMM Show 2009Review Q Summary Q Product Introductions Q Best & Worst Q Awards
Piano Retailers – Facing ’09 with Cautious Optimism
FIVE COOL CHARACTERS DRESSED TO WIN, AND EQUIPPED TO BRING DOWN THE HOUSE
Meet the crew with the heat. Each SansAmp™ Character Series pedal is a time capsule of distinctive amplifier styles taken from decades of tone born in the UK and the USA. You can explore these iconic tones then tweak them your way with the amp-like knobs and the unique Character control, which delivers tones from vintage to red hot mod. Every pedal features true SansAmp speaker cab emulation specifically voiced for each amp type, delivering a complete stage and recording solution. Up your game with the high-rolling SansAmp Character Series and play with fat stacks of tone.
That distinctive diamond grille tone is yours for the tweaking. From the jangle of mop-top pop to the top-boosted growl of mod rock, this amp style has a voice that shook generations. Push it to the limit and it will, it will, rock you.
The legendary crunch of British steel and Greenbackstyle speakers delivers searing blues to UK anarchy from this Anglo-voiced pedal. Tough Bluesbreaker overdrive, the throaty roar of a Plexi or the ballsy smack-down of a ‘70s Metalface, it all adds up to a well tasty spot o’ bovver, Brit-style.
Come for the chiming, woody cleans, the gnarly ‘wicker-grille’ overdrive and the supernatural silky sustain of the lead tones. Stay for the devastating chunk of a high gain rectifier. With the velveteen punch of a US-style speaker emulation, you have everything you need to create your own California dream tone.
This Blonde dishes out pure American tone to the stratosphere. Sparkly, spanky cleans that overdrive with a satisfying low-end rumble become the punchy bark of hard-pushed tweed, maxing out in a fat sizzle of lead boosted tone. This Blonde is one wild ride through history.
The tower of power pumping through a stack of 10-inchers is the legendary bass tone for players who enjoy being heard. Bask in thick, articulated tones, from chunky funk with the ubiquitous flip top, to the higher gain growl of indie rock Clean focused thump to dirty earthquaking rump, you dial it in.
Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A. - www.tech21nyc.com
Contents Cover design by Laurie Chesna.
MARCH 2009 VOL.168 NO. 3
Features THE PIANO MARKET 25 Dealers: Retailers Face 2009 with Cautious Optimism In a challenging economy, vendors look to increased institutional and used sales, as well as innovative marketing strategies to keep their businesses in the black.
New Keyboard Products Lambert’s Music Judy and Phil Lambert find success in Anderson, Indiana selling Lowrey organs to an enthusiastic local market.
2009 NAMM SHOW 50 Over 1,500 Exhibitors Showcase New Product in Anaheim Despite turbulent economic times, the Winter NAMM show provided reasons to have a positive outlook in ’09 – attendance and exhibitor numbers were fairly steady and “Much better than we expected!” was the repeated refrain from all MMR spoke with.
46th Kawai Presidential Awards Dealers’ Choice Awards Winners of the 2008 Dealers’ Choice Awards were presented with their trophies at the NAMM show.
Best & Worst Warm weather, full-body unitards, baked brie, incompetent cashiers – MMR spotlights what caught our attention at this winter’s industry get-together in Anaheim.
Meet the Press We summarize a number of the significant press conferences, product introductions, and tours that took place at the NAMM show.
78 iMSO – Expands to 350 Dealerships 104 NAMM Notables: New Gear Introductions 112 Rock House Method MMR checks in with Joe Palombo and John McCarthy, founders of Rock House, producers of innovative instructional guitar method DVDs and related Web content.
114 Anniversary: Ernie Ball’s 25th
4 Editorial 6 Upfront 18 People
20 Letters 24 Stats 118 Supplier Scene
121 Classifieds 128 Advertisers’ Index
MMR Musical Merchandise Review® (ISSN 0027-4615) founded in 1879, is published monthly by Symphony Publishing, LLC, 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494 (781)453-9310, publisher of School Band and Orchestra, Choral Director, Music Parents America and JazzEd. All titles are federally registered trademarks and/or trademarks of Symphony Publishing, LLC. Subscription Rates: U.S.A., US possessions, one year $32; two years $40. Canada one year $80; all other countries one year $159. Single issues $5 each. May Supplier Directory $35. Periodical-Rate Postage Paid at Boston, MA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER/SUBSCRIBERS: Send address change to Musical Merchandise Review, P.O. Box 8548, Lowell, MA 01853. Periodicals circulation is directed to music dealers and retailers, wholesalers and distributors, importers and exporters and manufacturers of all types of musical instruments and their accessories, related electronic sound equipment, general musical accessories, musical publications and teaching aides. The publishers of this magazine do not accept responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competion. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Copyright ©2009 by Symphony Publishing, LLC, all rights reserved. Printed in USA.
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Volume 168, Number 3, March 2009 PUBLISHER Sidney L. Davis email@example.com
It’s Called Selling The Package
EDITOR Christian Wissmuller firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE EDITOR Eliahu Sussman email@example.com
ega-groups Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC both launched albums this past holiday season, each with a similar game plan, exclusive distribution via a big box outlet. Guns N’ Roses gave exclusive rights in the U.S. to Best Buy and AC/DC’s Black Ice followed suit with Wal-Mart Stores. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Best Buy guaranteed the purchase of 1.3 million units and as of mid-February sold a disappointing 537,000 units. Quoting the Journal, “The album’s poor showing contrasts with the success of AC/DC’s “Black Ice”…It has sold about 1.6 million copies in the U.S.” While there were several factors contributing to the sale (or lack thereof) of the two albums, i.e. Axl Rose’s lack of personal support for the album in comparison to AC/ DC’s visbility to both the public and the press the Journal article also pointed to the fact “Best Buy backed Chinese Democracy with a marketing campaign centered solely on the album. Wal-Mart saw Black Ice as a way to sell more than music. The company hawked AC/DC T-shirts and an exclusive AC/DC version of MTV Networks’ Rock Band videogame.” There is a lesson to be learned here for the body retail, music products included and in simple terms its called selling the package. This is hardly a new concept, entry level guitar packages during the holiday seasons of a few years back (before the big boxes entered the fray) were both a traffic and profit builder. Dare I point out that many brick and mortar dealers (along with the internet retailers) used a package-of-products to counter minimum retail pricing. In truth, the multiple sale is as old as the farmer’s market. When the National Association for Business Economics depicts the worst business conditions in the US since the organization’s formation in 1982 and points to a loss of 2.6 million jobs in 2008 with an equally gloomy forecast ahead, maximizing the customer base is the order of the day. Every buyer who leaves the dealership with a single product in hand, is a lost opportunity. Whether it’s a piano lamp, practice amp, valve oil or set of reeds… now more than ever maximizing the sale is the name of the game, Coincidentally, as the issue closed we received an e-mail from a Canadian dealer, myrareguitars.com, with the headline “New $150 + Stimulus Package” offering $150 in accessories with the purchase of a guitar over $499. And on a final note we mourn the recent passing of Chris Ross, well-known and universally liked, Chris was a sales rep from the old school, who believed a territory was to be covered. He traveled throughout the Northeast with his sales team, a strong advocate for the products he represented, an advisor and friend to his retail accounts and a valued member of NAMM. As business associate Rick Nelson pointed out, “He left us unexpectedly and way too soon.”
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Denyce Neilson firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Rick Kessel email@example.com ADVERTISING SALES Iris Fox firstname.lastname@example.org CLASSIFIED AD SALES Maureen Johan email@example.com PRODUCTION MANAGER Laurie Guptill firstname.lastname@example.org GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Andrew P. Ross email@example.com Laurie Chesna firstname.lastname@example.org CIRCULATION MANAGER Melanie A. Prescott email@example.com ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Popi Galileos firstname.lastname@example.org WEBMASTER Sanford Kearns email@example.com SYMPHONY PUBLISHING, LLC Xen Zapis • Chairman Lee Zapis • President firstname.lastname@example.org Rich Bongorno • Chief Financial Officer email@example.com Corporate Headquarters 26202 Detroit Road, Suite 300, Westlake, Ohio 44145 440-871-1300 www.symphonypublishing.com PUBLISHING, SALES & EDITORIAL OFFICE: 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494 (781) 453-9310 Fax: (781) 453-9389 www.mmrmagazine.com
Upfront Loud Withdraws from NASDAQ, Acquires New CM Partners Loud Technologies Inc. has said that it will voluntarily withdraw its shares from listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Officials at the Woodinville music products company (NASDAQ: LTEC) cited a number of reasons for the move, including high costs for continued stock exchange listing, management time to maintain listing, limited trading in the company’s shares, the chance that Loud won’t meet minimum exchange requirements in the future, and the lack of analysts who cover the company’s stock.
Loud is currently not complying with one NASDAQ requirement because it is late fi ling a 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Source: Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)) The company also recently announced two new contract manufacturing (“CM”) partners and the reallocation of production for certain EAW and Mackie products across its worldwide supply chain to replace capacity lost when the prior CM for those products
Disney Star Guitarist: Guitar Hero With Real Guitars Disney Star Guitarist, made with help from Washburn Guitars, uses the same style of “falling notes” that Guitar Hero and Rock Band employ, but instead of a plastic peripheral, Star Guitarist makes use of a real guitar. The special strings
are included with the $200 game, and can be strung onto any standard guitar. Disney Star Guitarist, along with similar versions for keyboards and vocals, will be released for both PC and Mac this summer. (Source: Wired)
discontinued operations in December, 2008. Meanwhile, supplies of all other EAW and Mackie products, as well as Alvarez, Ampeg, Crate and Martin branded products continue uninterrupted, as they are manufactured at other Loud CM partners.
Harman to Close NY Facility Harman International Industries, Inc. has announced that it will be closing its consumer audio facility in Woodbury, N.Y. by the end of this June, affecting roughly 130 employees. Harman has stated that it will be consolidating most functions based in the Woodbury offices to its facility in Northridge, Calif. A limited number of employees will be offered relocation. (Source: Reuters)
Shure Raids in China Uncover 8,500 Counterfeit Earphones An investigation initiated by Shure in Futian District, Shenzhen, in Mainland China led to a recent raid by the Shenzhen Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) on a wholesale shop, Sanze Electronics, in the Zhongdian Electronics and Technology Building on Huaqiang Road, and another at an associated warehouse. Goods seized during the enforcement action included 8,500 pairs of counterfeit earphones bearing the Shure name and other well-known trademarks. 6 MMR
Penalties imposed by the Shenzhen AIC against the wholesale outlet include the confiscation of all earphones, the requirement that the outlet cease its infringement activities immediately, and the imposition of a fine of 30,000 RMB. Penalties against the warehouse will be determined in February. In addition to its vigorous anti-counterfeiting efforts in China, Shure also has mounted successful operations to uncover and halt intellectual property violations in other parts of Asia, Europe, South America, the Middle East, Africa, and the United States. MARCH 2009
Upfront Salinas’ Gadsby’s Music Has Closed The Californian reports that after 73 years, Gadsby’s Music store in Salinas has closed. “It’s the economy and for personal health reasons,” says Larry Tharp, owner. “Gadsby’s has done so much for the community for so many years that, when I hear this news, I see a part of
Salinas vanishing,” reflects D.L. Johnson, music director of North Monterey County High School and frequent contributor to MMR’s sister publication, School Band & Orchestra. The article in The Californian notes that even the local competition regrets
that Gadsby’s closed. For 15 years, Wise Music has operated mere feet away, but because the two stores often offered different items and brand names, their combined drawing power helped both, according to Peter Wise, owner. (Source: The Californian)
MENC Encourages Integration of Wii into Music Curriculum In what may well be the first time that a videogame has been incorporated into a widespread music lesson plan proposal, it was stated in a press release sent on January 13th, that MENC: The National Association for Music Education will help teachers in 51 cities across the nation to integrate
Wii Music into their curricula, making use of the game’s 60-plus instruments and array of tutorial exercises in rhythm, tempo and song structure. To help inspire students and promote an active appreciation for music,
Nintendo has been working with teachers to incorporate Wii consoles and Wii Music software into their lesson plans to offer teachers a unique tool for creativity and improvisation.
HAL LEONARD HAS YOUR
)"3.0/*$" SOLUTIONS! )0)/&3)"3.0/*$"4 Hal Leonard is proud to now distribute Hohner harmonicas. Available in new shrink-wrapped and hang-tabbed packaging, designed speciďŹ cally for music stores â€” great for slat-wall!
Contact your Hal Leonard sales rep for information on our limited time special oďŹ€er on prepacks, accessories and display options for Hohner harmonicas.
)"3.0/*$" 1-":"-0/(4&3*&4 The Harmonica Play-Along Series will help you play your favorite songs quickly and easily. Just follow the notation, listen to the CD to hear how the harmonica should sound, and then play along using the separate backing tracks. The melody and lyrics are also included in the book in case you want to sing, or to simply help you follow along. The audio CD is playable on any CD player, and also enhanced so PC and Mac users can adjust the recording to any tempo without changing pitch!
Contact your Hal Leonard sales rep to place your order today!
1-800-554-0626 FAX 414-774-3259 E-MAIL firstname.lastname@example.org INTERNET www.halleonard.com/dealers CALL
Upfront Clarence “Leo” Fender Received Technical Grammy
Morrison Leaves Music for All
Fender Musical Instruments Corp. (FMIC) announced that the Recording Academy® honored Clarence “Leo” Fender with a Technical Grammy® Award during a special invitation-only ceremony during Grammy Week on Sat., Feb. 7, 2009. In a recent release, the Recording Academy noted that the Technical Grammy Award recipients are determined by vote of the Recording Academy’s Producers & Engineers Wing Advisory Council and Chapter Committees as well as the Recording Academy’s Trustees. The award is presented to individuals and
It was announced on January 14th that Robert Morrison, executive vice president and founder of the Music For All Foundation, has resigned his management position within the organization. Morrison is a longtime advocate of music education and, since founding the Music for All Foundation in 2003, his efforts have directly led to significant advancements in public awareness and access to music and arts education programs throughout the nation. In September of 2006, the Music for All Foundation merged with Bands of America, creating what is now Music for All, Inc. Since the merger, Morrison served on the Board of Directors and as an officer of the organization. His departure comes five years after the public announcement of the creation of Music for All Foundation. Mr. Gayl Doster, Music for All’s Board Chair, comments, “We thank Mr. Morrison for his many efforts on behalf of the organization and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
companies who have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field.
MIAC’s Kowalenko to Step Down The Board of Directors of the Music Industries Association of Canada (MIAC) has announced that Al Kowalenko will be stepping down from his position as executive director, effective August 31, 2009, after 30 years of continuous service. Al first began work with MIAC in 1979 and has seen the organization
grow from a membership of 50 companies to today’s roster of more than 330 manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. The MIAC Board also announced that it would be suitably recognizing Al’s achievements at the Association’s national Trade Show, August 23-24.
J.W. Pepper’s New Distribution Centers J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. is rapidly approaching the opening of two new distribution centers to service order fulfillment needs for their retail and print operations. Pepper’s strong commitment to customer service and speed of order fulfillment are the core of its strength in the sheet music industry. Historically, the company has distributed product through 15 locations. The two new distribution centers will allow order fulfillment operations to be focused in the two new facilities, allowing remaining locations to focus on regional marketing opportunities. The new facilities will be located in Atlanta and Salt Lake City, cities in which 10 MMR
Pepper currently has a retail presence. The building project is being overseen by Bret Rhoades, vice president of Operations. The Atlanta Distribution Center, which will open in May 2009, will be managed by Kyle Badgero, currently manager of the Grand Rapids location, assisted by be Ron Cunningham. The Salt Lake City Distribution Center, which is slated to open in March of 2009, will be managed by Rich Delong, currently manager of Pepper’s Detroit location, assisted by Ed Chillington, currently of the Pepper location in Los Angeles. Regional Marketing Centers will remain an active part of Pepper’s business,
as regional marketing is an important component of its overall marketing plan. The regional marketing centers will be updated to enhance the in-store experience for local customers and will house the regional marketing staff. All existing Pepper locations will continue to function in this marketing capacity, with the exception of the Detroit branch. Functions of the Detroit location will be absorbed by the Grand Rapids location. Address questions to: Kathy Fernandes, vice president of Marketing, (610)648-0500, ext. 2236; E-mail: email@example.com MARCH 2009
Upfront Wanamaker, Geer, & cFour Partners Launch Equity Program for MI Vendors Longtime music industry veteran Jay Wanamaker has teamed up with John Geer, a seasoned private equity acquisition and merger professional, and cFour Partners (www.cFour.com) to provide equity financing resources to MI vendors. Together, Wanamaker and Geer seek to serve the MI vendor community’s financing needs. Wanamaker’s extensive industry knowledge and unique understanding of its various market segments, combined with Geer’s more than 20
years of experience in the private equity market sector, will provide a substantial resource to the MI vendor community. Specifically, they will provide equity financing for a variety of vendor needs, including buyouts, growth fi nancings and recapitalizations. In a recapitalization, some shareholders can sell stock, while others retain their ownership and continue to manage the business. The “recap” can also be used to get some chips off the table for owners who continue to
Jay Wanamaker and John Geer.
run their businesses. “The recap is a very flexible structure and situation which can be crafted to meet the objectives of individual owners of a business,” according to Geer. For additional information please contact: Jay Wanamaker at (818) 292-5032 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
S.N. Shure Theater Opens Shure Incorporated celebrated the opening of the new S.N. Shure Theater at the Company’s Corporate Headquarters in
Niles, Ill. Shure chairman, Rose L. Shure, and president and CEO, Sandy LaMantia, participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony and then welcomed Shure Associates and special guests into the new venue. “We’ve wanted to build out this space ever since we moved into our new headquarters five years ago,” says LaMantia. “Following the completion of the Shure Technology Annex in 2004 and the Performance and Listening Center [PLC] in 2005,
we were finally able to turn our attention to this project, which turned out even better than we imagined. It’s a beautiful venue that will serve as a lasting tribute to our founder, S.N. Shure, for many years to come.” Designed by Krueck + Sexton Architects, construction began in March 2008 on the 4,000 square-foot, 143-seat theater, which was designed as a state-of-the art venue for audio and video presentations, product demonstrations, and live music performances.
Fender Partners with Little Kids Rock Fender Musical Instruments Corporation announced a long-term strategic partnership with Little Kids Rock, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit providers of free lessons and instruments. The goal of the partnership is to transform children’s lives by restoring and revitalizing music programs in public schools across the United States. Fender is assuming a leadership role in Little Kids Rock’s nationwide effort to keep music in our schools. The Little Kids Rock program trains and equips schoolteachers across the country to run contemporary band pro12 MMR
grams that feature guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals. Participating schoolteachers receive free training, curriculum and instruments. The organization now serves tens of thousands of students in 18 cities, with new cities being added each year. Little Kids Rock students learn how to play popular music styles including rock, reggae, metal, hip hop and others; they also
learn how to compose their own music and how to improvise. “Little Kids Rock is the most exciting thing to happen for music education in decades,” said Bob Morris, Fender’s director of music education. “They are putting music back in the schools where it belongs, and teaching kids how to play and write the music they love. What could be better than that?” MARCH 2009
THEY KNOW WHAT THEY WANT... So why stock anything else? year? From New Beat HiHats to K Custom Hybrids, Zildjian is the proven gold standard of cymbals. No other cymbal line truly defines your store or excites your customers as much. You know that your Zildjian stock will quickly turn time and time again. And for 2009, we have put together an aggressive schedule of promotions that you will not want to miss. Now more than ever, Zildjian is the only serious choice .
ÂŠ2009 Avedis Zildjian Company
What other cymbal brand gets this sort of following year after
Upfront D’Addario Launches New Web Sites D’Addario & Co. has announced the launch of eight all-new Web sites in the first quarter of 2009 for all of D’Addario’s brands, including D’Addario Fretted, D’Addario Bowed, Planet Waves CI and CE, Evans Drumheads, HQ Percussion, Rico Reeds, and PureSound Percussion. With a new look and design, all sites feature expanded usability and content including product news and information, artist and teaching videos, promotions and sweepstakes, articles, community forums and networking, and additional artist features. The sites also incorporate built-in purchasing options fulfi lled by local retailers, plus international catalogs and consumer buying options.
To experience the all-new D’Addario brand Web sites, please visit the following: D’Addario Fretted: www.daddario.com • D’Addario Bowed: • www.daddariobowed.com Planet Waves CI: • www.planetwaves.com/ci Planet Waves CE: • www.planetwaves.com/ce Evans Drumheads: • www.evansdrumheads.com HQ Percussion: • www.hqpercussion.com Rico Reeds: www.ricoreeds.com • PureSound Percussion: • www.puresoundpercussion.com
DJ Hero On the Way Gaming blog Kotaku (via Eurogamer) definitively confirmed what had long been rumored, DJ Hero is coming “later this year,” complete with a turntable for “competitively” spinning and mixing tunes. Activision CEO Bobby Kotick let the news slip during a recent appearance on CNBC, according to Kotaku. Details are still scarce: Kotick is quoted saying that the DJ Hero turntable will, indeed, let you “play competitively and
spin discs and mix songs,” but that’s about it for now. The first DJ Hero rumors began swirling almost a year ago, after Guitar Hero publisher Activision fi led a trademark for the game back in February 2008. The buzz flared up again in September, after anonymous sources confi rmed the game (reportedly in development for more than two years) to both Kotaku and MTV Multiplayer. (Source: yahoo.com)
Textron Exits Finance Business Just prior to the Winter NAMM show, Textron Financial announced that it would no longer be financing the piano market, which ultimately left some suppliers and dealers scrambling for new credit sources. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported the company had eliminated 6,200 jobs – 14 percent of its workforce – and shut down most of its commercial-finance business. Textron said it would preserve only the part of its finance unit that lends customers money to buy Textron products.
M. Steinert Closes Worcester Store M. Steinert & Sons, one of Steinway’s oldest dealerships has closed its Worcester, Mass. location. The company had a store in the Worcester area since 1872. Steinert headquarters in Boston and a satellite unit in Natick, Mass. will remain open. It was indicated that the company would be 14 MMR
seeking another location as the economy improves. Steinert traces its history to 1860 when Morris Steinert opened a store in Athens, Ga. The Civil War caused Steinert to move to Connecticut and eventually operate more than 40 dealerships throughout the
New England area. The Steinert family ownership continued until 1934 until it was acquired by long time employee Jerome Murphy in 1934. Today, brothers Paul and Jerome represent the third generation of the Murphy family to operate the business. MARCH 2009
Upfront Trade Regrets:
Bob Seidman Bob Seidman, noted MI retailer and wholesaler, passed away on January 7th, 2009 at the age of 78. His career spanned five decades and he was a pioneer in commerce relations between the United States and Japan in the years following World War II.
In 2007 Bob was interviewed for the NAMM Oral History collection, a clip of which is currently posted on the NAMM Web site in honor of Bob and his long career in music www.namm.org/library/ in-memoriam (scroll to the bottom of this page to view his clip).
Don Randall Don Randall, who named many of the most famous guitars in the Fender line, has passed away. Don Randall met Leo Fender before World War II when both men worked in radio repair. After the war they decided to form a business together that would allow Leo to focus on developing a line of guitars. The Fender Guitar Company began work on a series of electric guitars and Don named all of the prod-
ucts Leo designed. First he named the Broadcaster, then the Telecaster and by the time rock was rolling into popularity Don named the next line of guitars the Stratocaster. Don went on to have an equally important role in the design of the solid-state amplifier when he opened Randall Corp. in 1970. The company introduced several innovative products before Don sold the business in the late 1990s.
Christopher Ross, founder and president of Chris Ross & Associates, passed away on February 9. Mr. Ross attended Berklee School of Music, and Hofstra University and later managed Bayshore Long Island music store where he taught many students. His later business venture, Chris Ross & Associates, was a prominent manufacturers representative firm specializing in audio/visual equipment, musical instruments and contracting to the broadcast markets. He was a member of NAMM’s Advisory Board. A Memorial Service will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Chris may do so through contributions to the Parkinsons Foundation, www.pdf.org. Don’s NAMM Oral History interview was completed on February 10, 2006. Mr. Randall passed away on December 23, 2008. For a short video clip taken from his NAMM Oral History interview, visit: www.namm.org/library/in-memoriam
Manuel Rodríguez II Manuel Rodríguez II, one of the finest luthiers of the Madrid school, died on December 25 in Madrid. In his early years, Manuel worked with his father, a maker of flamenco and classical guitars, and also learned
from the likes of Jose Ramírez III, Santos Hernández, Modesto Borreguero, and Marcelo Barbero. During his lifetime, Rodríguez strived for a strong, balanced sound from his instruments, while never neglecting the need of having instruments that are also strikingly beautiful in their appearance.
Today, the guitars manufactured by Rodríguez & Sons can be found in almost every European country, as well as in the US, Japan and many other countries. His guitars have been tested, used and praised by Andres Segovia, Regino Sáinz de la Maza, Angel Romero and Theodore Norman, among many others.
pipe organ building. The goal was always to make organs better, more affordable, and consequently more available for people to enjoy. During his long and prolific career, he was awarded over 70 patents. Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc. still remains a family
owned and operated business to this day with Scott R. Peterson, Dick’s son, as company president. Memorial donations in Mr. Peterson’s name may be made to the American Guild of Organists “New Organist Fund”, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260, New York, NY 10115; www.agohq.org.
Richard H. Peterson After a fourteen-year-long bout with a debilitating illness, Richard H. (Dick) Peterson, founder of Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc., passed away peacefully at his home at age 83 on January 29, 2009. Besides spending time with Carol, his devoted wife of 53 years, and with his other family members, Dick’s greatest passion was applying modern technology to 16 MMR
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People The Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association Inc., (CPDJA), has announced that Michael Coombs has been appointed president of the CPDJA and Dina Deveau has been appointed vice president in addition to retaining her current management responsibilities. The outgoing president Dennis Hampson will continue with the association in an executive director role involved with the day-to-day operations of the association. Group One Ltd. has appointed Matt Larson as its National Sales manager for Professional Audio Products. In his new position, Larson will oversee the U.S. sales efforts of Group One’s Larson roster of audio products, which include DiGiCo, MC2, and XTA. Larson is a pro audio veteran, whose previous experience includes Business & Sales Manager for the prestigious Midas and Klark Teknik lines. FDW-Worldwide, North American distributors of Violet-Design, Sontronics, Nevaton microphones and worldwide distributors of Cable Up and Vu cables and accessories, announced the Goodwin appointment of Buzz Goodwin to the newly created position of president of FDW-Worldwide. In this position, Goodwin will be responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the business as well as managing worldwide sales and marketing strategies, artist relations and product development for all FDW-Worldwide brands. Bob Lee of QSC Audio Products has been elected to serve as AES’s secretary in 2008. He officially took charge of the post shortly after the 125th AES Convention held in San Francisco. 18 MMR
Lee fulfi lled a technical marketing role at QSC prior to joining the Tech Services Group. In professional life previous to his commitments in Costa Mesa, he was a tech support specialist at Crest Audio, and served a stint at Sennheiser as an applications engineer specializing in wireless microphones. Having just completed two years as AES VP for the Western US and Canada, during his tenure in this capacity he helped launch the society’s new professional section in the Sacramento Valley, and revitalized student sections in locations including Long Beach City College. The Office of AES Secretary is part of the Executive Committee, and is one of the highest in the organization. QSC VP of Global Sales Greg McLagan has also announced that industry veteran Perry Celia has been named as the company’s director of US Sales-Western Region. Celia comes to the post following a career path marked by stops at JBL, where he served as director of Eastern Sales; independent rep firm Sound Marketing West, where he was a VP and principal; and Alesis Corporation, where he also wore the title of director of Eastern Sales.
Shure Incorporated announced that Mark has Humrichouser been promoted to general manager of its U.S. Business Unit. In this role, he will have dayto-day responsibility for the management of Humrichouser the sales, marketing, customer service, and applications engineering functions for the U.S. In addition to Humrichouser’s promotion, Jim Schanz has been promoted to director of U.S. Field Sales and Abby Kaplan has been promoted to senior manager of National Accounts. Schanz will be responsible for managing all of Shure’s U.S territory sales activities. Kaplan will oversee all activities related to the Company’s designated national accounts, including national music instru-
ment retail chains, consumer electronics big box retail chains, and specialty channel dealers.
Guitar Center recently announced the appointment of Phil Rich to the position of vice president of Merchandise for Guitars and Amplifiers. The announcement was made by John Bagan, executive VP of Merchandise. In his new position, Rich will be responsible for overseeing the purchasing and merchandising of all stringed instruments and amplifiers. Harman International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE: HAR) has announced that David Slump will take the dual position of president, Consumer Audio Division and vice president Corporate Development, effective immediately. He succeeds Mr. Richard Sorota who has decided to seek an opportunity outside the company. The Company also named Mr. Sachin Lawande as Chief Technology Officer, effective immediately. He succeeds Mr. Helmut Schinagel.
Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com MARCH 2009
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Letters Congratulations on creating the “Don Johnson Service Award” and for its inaugural presentation to Dave Teeple. What a perfect combination! Don was such a strong advocate for music education and Dave Teeple epitomizes that in everything he does. I just read your February issue and tremendously enjoyed your story about Dave and Barb Teeple – great people and great ambassadors for our industry. Well done! Warmest regards, Dennis Houlihan Roland I just received the February 2009 issue of MMR, and I was proud to see Dave Steeple’s picture on the cover. Dave is most deserving of the “Don Johnson Music Industry Service Award.” I have known Dave for almost 25 years and he is exactly as your magazine article tells his story. Dave is also an outstanding husband, father, and community servant. Dave is
A Message from the Johnson Family to David Teeple Dear Dave, Congratulations on receiving the Don John son Music Indu stry Serv ice Award. Our family was delighted to hear you were chosen for this welldeserved recognition based on your relentless devotion to the mus ic indu stry, and your commitment to bringing your love of music to a diverse group of people. Don shared these passions too, and we know he would be humbled that he was being honored with this award. We wish you continued success with Port Huron Music Center and future endeavors that will continue to inspire, promote and shape the future of music education.
Best Wishes, Charlene, Hilary and Rosamund Johnson
the type of person who, by being in your life, makes you a better person. Thank you for the article on Dave Teeple! Regards, Steve Wicks Korg USA Please note that within the article on Universal Percussion (February, pg. 23), Tom Shelley related that Tama “doesn’t have any other sub-distributors” other than Universal Percussion. Unfortunately that very significant pre-fix “sub” got lost in the tran-
scription sauce and the quote came out as Tama doesn’t “have any other distributors” which might cause some confusion. So I might just set the record straight: Tama has two distributors in the United States: Chesbro Music for authorized dealerships west of the Rockies, except California; and Hoshino USA, for authorized dealerships in California and east of the Rockies; and one sub-distributor (for Tama Hardware only) Universal Percussion. Paul Specht Hoshino USA
MMR’s new Musical Merchandise Professionals Group on LinkedIn is where M.I. professionals are interacting with their peers and discussing the issues of the day. Recently we asked folks for their impressions of the recent NAMM show – here are a few responses: Donovan Bankhead wrote: The show was very successful for Springfield Music, Inc. We operate a couple of full-line music stores in SW Missouri. I took six staff members, and we were booked solid from 8am-6pm every day. Between meeting with vendors and attending the Idea Sessions, we didn’t have time for lunch. I’m always disheartened by the number of dealers that spend all of their time looking at new gear, and not spending the time going to the Idea Sessions where they will REALLY learn how to improve their business. One thing most stores DON’T need is more product (sorry to my manufacturing friends who have replied to this topic)… Kimmy McCann wrote: NAMM was a huge success for Core One Creative. Our Bullet Cable and Core X2 Cables have a fan base around the world that we weren’t aware of and now we are. Dealers who were at the show were ready to do business. We signed a higher percentage of new dealers at this show than in the past… Frank Baxter wrote: As the owner of PianoWorld.com I look to the show for networking opportunities. This was our best show in years, many piano industry professionals (dealers, manufacturers, restorations shops, etc.) have finally realized the advantages of promoting to our audiences. We’ve worked hard (and continue to work hard) to build substantial qualified traffic… I did find that a lot of the people we chatted with were cautiously optimistic. Many of the manufacturers (piano) claimed to be having a “great show,” but I have to wonder how much of that was hype. Dealers, on the other hand were in general less enthusiastic, but still seemed to believe things would be ok… LinkedIn is an online network of more than 30 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries. MMR created Musical Merchandise Professionals Group to help M.I. professionals advance their careers and business goals by facilitating the creation of vital, new business contacts. LinkedIn is free to join. Visit www.linkedin.com to create a profile that summarizes your professional accomplishments. Then simply search for “Musical Merchandise Professionals Group” and request to join. MARCH 2009
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Dealers Scramble for Prots — Stress Institutional and Used Sales
or most of us, 2008 was a challenging year—one that included soaring gas prices, a worldwide financial crisis, record home foreclosures, and a presidential election. All of these events have, of course, had an impact on MI vendors, some more than others. MMR recently checked in with piano retailers to see how they fared during the events of the past year, and what they expect in 2009. In terms of sales, there seems to be no clear trend: roughly half of the dealers we spoke with report that high-end sales are keeping them afloat, while the other half noted that low-end and middle range models have been moving. With 2008 being so unpredictable, some dealers noticed a shift in sales as the economy slumped. As Anne Shepherd of Chick Music in Athens, Ga. notes, “The inexpensive pianos are selling. We did a lot with the higher end player pianos, but after the middle of the year, we saw those sales slumping. We do carry a less expensive player grand and they are moving better than the upper end.” One common thread shared by most dealers was that institutional sales have been a key component and, for most, have become more important than ever. As Alex Kapteyn of Central Michigan Piano in Carson City, put it, “This seems to be our saving grace currently. We are focusing more on institutional sales this year than ever before.” As for 2009 predictions, the overall sentiment from dealers was uncertainty. However, they do remain hopeful, on average. Gil Colainni summarized the coming year by saying, “The industry is precarious. The next six to eight months will really tell a story. It doesn’t look good, but the strong will survive.” 28 MMR
How do you think 2009 will compare to 2008? Gil Colaianni: Worse. I don’t know how small, local dealers like me are going to be able to buy merchandise with the credit situation being the way it is at local banks. Dennis Fry: We had a really good 2008 up until October. We actually did better this December than last December because we had a lot of large school sales. Schools have been very strong for us. We are lucky that in our area we have a lot of large schools and colleges like Yale that have been putting a lot of money into music funds. Anne Shepherd: Well, I am not going to be pessimistic. I’m going to say that it will be better. Alex Kapteyn: We are cautiously optimistic about 2009.
Gil Colianni Colaianni Piano Little Rock, Ark.
Dennis Fry Fry’s Westport Fairfield Piano & Organ Fairfield, Conn.
Bobby Hodges: It looks like 2009 will be a trying year for all in the piano industry. Market recovery, negative media, and the election year have all taken a toll. William Crabtree: We had a very strong institutional year in 2008 with a down year for home sales. I think 2009 will still be a good institutional year, but probably not at the 2008 level. Home sales will depend on consumer confidence which will be anyone’s guess. Craig Whitaker: 2007 was the best year ever with 2008 being the second best. 2009 will be okay, but not as good as the two previous years. Nick Pell: I think 2008 will go down as just another so-so year for the Conservatory of Music.
Anne Shepherd Chick Music Athens, Ga.
Alex Kapteyn Central Michigan Piano Carson City, Mich.
How has the economy impacted your business? Gil Colaianni: It has impacted business considerably. It has been a combination of things. I am not a full-line store, and before the economic crisis, piano sales had been on the decline for all dealers to begin with. I think the biggest surprise and the biggest impact of the economic crisis on business has been the credit market freeze. I don’t have the personal capital to keep my inventory up, and banks are not lending to small businesses.
Bobby Hodges Hodges Piano & Organ Florence, S.C.
Dennis Fry: There has been an impact, but we’re making it through. We are not waiting for the business to come in; we’re going out to get people in. We have been doing a lot of promotions with Yamaha. Alex Kapteyn: Our numbers were actually up in 2008, but only through much creativity in marketing, as well as beginning to manufacture our own soundboards and pinblocks for our piano restorations. This aided in controlling our costs. Networking with other piano stores and techs has also helped us find new market share. Bobby Hodges: Buying attitudes continue to decay, and it is a real challenge to make the sale in today’s market. We attempt to make the purchase a pleasant experience. William Crabtree: All facets of retail business are off. I especially notice that customers seem to be retreating to one level. Steinway customers are buying Boston pianos; Boston customers are buying Essex pianos. New low-end buyers are buying used or digital pianos. Craig Whitaker: We have been seeing more low-end shoppers, for both digital and acoustic, fewer people coming through the doors and fewer buyers Nick Pell: Our gross sales numbers were very much in-line with 2007. However, we did notice a slightly lesser profit margin. MARCH 2009
William Crabtree Reifsnyder’s Lancaster, Penn.
Craig Whitaker Craig’s Pianos & Keyboards Toledo, Ohio
Nick Pell Conservatory of Music Terre Haute, Ind.
Have you expanded or have you had to cut back on staff, for example?
Anne Shepherd: Right now we are holding on and have not cut staff yet. We hope it will stay that way.
Gil Colaianni: I have always kept my staff and expenses at a minimum because we are a fairly simple operation; we are not full-line. But advertising spending has been curtailed drastically.
Alex Kapteyn: We still are maintaining the same staff, but are concerned we may have to cut back if the economy does not improve.
Dennis Fry: We have stayed the same with no expansion or cutbacks.
Bobby Hodges: We are a staff of regulars who have been here long term. There have been no changes other than temp help.
William Crabtree: We have cut back on staff and are now at barebones. Craig Whitaker: Things have remained the same. Nick Pell: Our staff levels have remained the same. We feel that any reduction in staff would have caused us to suffer a loss in our level of customer service. In this economic climate, it’s imperative to have the best team you can. We all preach to our customers that “you get what you pay for.” The same can be said for your sales staff. What price points are moving? Gil Colaianni: If it wasn’t for the high-end sales it would be difficult. Fortunately we carry the Steinway line, and it doesn’t take a lot of the large dollar sales to at least keep our head above water. That’s where our money is coming from—the high-end sales. Dennis Fry: All of the top-end, used stuff went this past holiday season. People were very conscious of price. But we had some high-end, used pianos for $25,000 that we had for a while, and they sold the quickest. In terms of new, it’s been the moderate end, mostly mid-range uprights. We also sold a lot of digital pianos over the holiday season. It seemed like people felt as though they were getting more for their money with a digital. We had a record year for Clavinova sales.
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Anne Shepherd: The inexpensive pianos are selling. We did a lot with the higher end player pianos, but after the middle of the year, we saw those sales slumping. We do carry a less expensive player grand and they are moving better than the upper end. We are selling more grands than uprights.
Bobby Hodges: Small or petite grands seem to outdistance the other units. I attribute this to middle to upper income. William Crabtree: The Essex vertical has been especially strong in the $4,000 to $5,000 range and the high-end Roland HP207 SB is a very good mover, while the lesser models are slower movers. Craig Whitaker: Low-end and rentals. MARCH 2009
Yamaha has a goal for Clavinova: make music fun and accessible for everyone. To reach this objective, we’ve spent the past 26 years creating exciting features, offering excellent services and delivering premium quality. These characteristics define the Clavinova Advantage. This Advantage not only helps musicians and hobbyists enjoy making music, it makes dealers happy. Clavinova ® – 2008 MMR Dealer’s Choice Award, Home Digital Keyboard of the Year.
Nick Pell: It seems that the middle-end products are moving the best for us. What role have institutional sales played? Gil Colaianni: That business has broken through to about 20 percent. It is the only thing that has been semi-constant. Dennis Fry: In December, Yale bought 16 pianos, all high-end Yamaha. Just prior to that, the city of Bridgeport bought 15 professional uprights.
Anne Shepherd: We havenâ€™t done a lot with institutions. We have done business with people who work at the University, but nothing with the school directly.
William Crabtree: Very strong in 2008, close to half our total revenues. While 2009 may not rise to this level, we have expectations for another very strong institutional year.
Alex Kapteyn: This seems to be our saving grace currently. We are focusing more on institutional sales this year than ever before.
Craig Whitaker: Institutional sales have not been impacted too much by the economy and have remained steady.
Bobby Hodges: Institutional sales hold our business together, with a combination of organs and pianos.
Nick Pell: Institutional sales are extremely important to us now. We find that purchasing church mailing lists and offering free on-site trials with no obligations have better than 75 percent closing rates. Once we get our instrument in there, they donâ€™t want to let it go. How have trade-ins and used sales been? Gil Colaianni: Itâ€™s all I can get. We may be seeing a renewed interest in low-end, low-priced, used pianos. About 25 percent of my floor space is dedicated to nothing but refurbished, used pianos. Anne Shepherd: We have a tremendous amount of trades and used. We had a lot of used pianos during the Christmas season, most of which have moved. Alex Kapteyn: About the same as 2007. Bobby Hodges: We keep a good inventory of used and trade-ins to feed the buyers who cannot afford the new price range, which works well for us. William Crabtree: We have more inquiries about used pianos, especially people wanting to sell. With the glut of used pianos, we are able to be much more selective and purchase newer and higher quality pianos for less than we did several years ago. We have also found a new service to offer and that is the removal of unwanted pianos for a fee. In years past, people would try to give their old pianos away free if we could re-sell them or use them for parts. Now they are willing to pay us to haul away the pianos. We do quite well offering this service since we have a full-time moving crew. Craig Whitaker: Piano trade-ins, used piano sales, and rentals have been an increasing revenue stream. Nick Pell: Used pianos are actually our quickest turning instruments.
ssurance — it is what every church or individual customer wants when making a decision to purchase a new organ. At Rodgers Instruments, we are proud to celebrate 50 years of leadership in the classical organ business and 20 years as part of the Roland Corporation. Thousands of churches, homes, educational institutions and concert halls have chosen Rodgers. Why? Sound quality, trust in our local dealers, and the knowledge that Rodgers is a solid company with unparalleled nancial strength to support existing products and innovate the best new instruments. Have you thought about what being a Rodgers dealer can do for your business? These are just a few of the benets of representing Rodgers organs:
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How are you getting people in the store? Gil Colaianni: Prayer. I am just hoping to stay in the loop. I have a lot of competition in this area and a newcomer who has to advertise because no one has ever heard of them. There’s an array of Steinway promotional activities that we have adhered to for quite some time, some of which cost very little and some of them cost a lot. I can’t invest $50,000 in an all-out
promotion. I have continued with direct mail and that’s about all right now. We also do social-type events every month. It’s a good, inexpensive way to get people to come in and visit for music, cocktails, and a musical presentation. Sometimes we see a lot of the same people at these events, but anything to generate camaraderie that spreads to new customers is good. It’s fun too. We are in a very eclectic part of town, with many art galleries. We combine a lot of events with our neighbors and have art
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displays. I also jump at the opportunity to work with charitable organizations, if they are looking for a place to host an evening out for their donors. We have done several of those and they have really worked out well.
Dennis Fry: We’ve run full-page ads in regional papers and, we really can’t tell if we got any calls from it. We did radio ads and got no calls from it. We’ve been doing quite a bit on-line with our local Yellow Pages, to target people shopping on-line, so they can find us. It’s been really hard to trace the money spend and what has come back from it. Anne Shepherd: Television has been our best form of advertising. We also do
Santi Falcone– Where Is He Now? Santi Falcone has made the transition from piano dealer, technician and manufacturer to chocolatier. During the ‘70’s Falcone operated a chain of seven dealerships in New England which was sold to New England Piano & Organ. In the early 1980s, Falcone introduced, a line of grand pianos under the Falcone brand which was later sold to supermarket entrepreneur Bud Greer and became part of Mason and Hamlin. Eventually Mason and Hamlin was sold to the Burgett Family and the Falcone brand to ASC. As reported in the Boston Globe, Falcone decided on a change of lifestyle 20 years ago, “I spent two weeks at the library, researching what I wanted to do, and boiled it down to either bottling water or making chocolates…I wanted a business that was relatively recession proof.” He made his first candy (truffles) at home and developed his candy making skills to Dante Confections, a wholesaler and retail operation located in a strip mall in Billerica, Mass. When asked if chocolate has proven to be a recession proof career Falcone replied, “Yes, even when times are bad everyone still buys chocolates.” MARCH 2009
CRAZY EIGHT At Yamaha, naturally we’re proud of the Disklavier and its
the success of this groundbreaking instrument. We’re not
features. But we never dreamed that it could
about to rest on these laurels, though. As the
win the music industry’s top prize — the
introduction of the Disklavier E3 at NAMM
MMR “Product of the Year” award — eight
proves, there’s more excitement to come.
years in a row! We’re incredibly honored and we gratefully acknowledge our dealers’ role in ©2009
newspaper ads, but have found that television ads are much more effective.
as our main avenue of media, and this has been mainly through television and radio.
have also done liquidation sales on stock from other out-of-business dealers
Alex Kapteyn: We are advertising and selling more than ever through our Web site. We have done a couple of big mailers this year, but with disappointing results. Locally, people are not buying nearly as much as 2005-2007. Our area has been hit hard by the declining auto industry.
William Crabtree: Our Web site is attracting more buyers, so we try to increase the information. We also offer our store space to teachers for recitals and organizations for meetings. We have a contract with a national talk show host to do radio ads. This has had some positive results as far as store awareness.
Nick Pell: We have done some radio advertising and lots of direct mail. I still think that over half of our business comes directly from referrals. That’s why creating customer loyalty is so important to us.
Craig Whitaker: We have done radio ads, mostly with newspaper support. We
Gil Colaianni: I think it’s a very integral part of my business. I don’t know of too many of my customers who have not accessed the Web site or found us through the site. We preach to not be in a hurry and to use resources like the Internet. We encourage people to use the Internet to shop around to make their decision and not just buy the first shiny thing they see out there. We figure if they slow down, get an education, and talk with people, our chances are a lot better that they will come back here and deal with us. We have been here a long time—55 years in the city and 85 years in my family. Our products’ dollar value is second to none.
Bobby Hodges: We keep rotating advertising between local radio and major television markets. We continue to use branding
Is this how you’re ordering product?
Things happen fast during the work day. There’s so much to do that ordering reeds, mouthpieces or mutes becomes a real time drain. Not any more. Now you can go to www.DANSR.com and click on the DANSR 24-7 link. The DANSR store is open day and night so you can order product anytime you like, whenever it’s convenient for you. It’s quick and easy and gives you access to great products on demand so you can devote your instore time to bigger issues—like making money. It’s the kind of service you’d expect from a company that imports world-class products like Vandoren reeds and mouthpieces and Denis Wick brass mouthpieces and mutes. Now you can expect it 24-7.
What do think your Web site has done for your business?
Dennis Fry: We don’t sell through our Web site; it’s just for fact finding. We are getting customers through the site more than ever. It also comes down to our reputation. We have been here for 50 plus years. A lot of our business is word of mouth. Anne Shepherd: We have had people come in saying that they saw our Web site. We have teaching studios, and many people have come in for lessons because they saw it on our Web site. Alex Kapteyn: Without it, we would be struggling a great deal. It accounts for 50 to 60 percent of our overall business. Bobby Hodges: We have been pleased with the out of area response from our site. It continues to amaze me how many people surf the Web. William Crabtree: It has made us more visible and has defi nitely enhanced customer contacts and business.
Vision � Passion � Results © 2009 DANSR, inc., 818 W. Evergreen Ave., Chicago, IL 60642 • 888-707-4455 www.dansr.com • firstname.lastname@example.org 36 MMR
Craig Whitaker: The Internet has replaced the phone book for shoppers. Nick Pell: Our Web site is budding right now. MARCH 2009
Do you have a customer e-mail list or regular mail list? Gil Colaianni: Our e-mail list is about 6500. We’ll do that periodically, for promotions, but not on a daily basis. I don’t want to be in peoples’ faces. Dennis Fry: Both. We do e-mail blast. Anne Shepherd: We have a mail list and plan on creating an e-mail list. Alex Kapteyn: Yes, both.
tising with our long history of being in business. Discounted prices always get attention.
William Crabtree: I cannot say that anything has been particularly effective. Good referrals still are our best opportunity to sell a higher quality instrument. Working directly with influential folks in the community is still good. Craig Whitaker: Special financing offered by the manufacturer and liquidation sales have worked the best.
Nick Pell: Free trials for institutions and free lessons for our general walk-in customers have been good. A great lesson culture shows your customer your not just a salesperson, but you are going to see it through right along with them. Who is your customer base? Gil Colaianni: Well, for years we would assume that the instigator of a piano purchase would be they lady of the family, interested in beatifying the home and educating the children. That still viable, but
Bobby Hodges: We keep a continually growing church list. William Crabtree: We are building a list for e-mail. Direct mail pieces have not done well for us in the past. Craig Whitaker: We do not have an email list, but we do have a mailing list. Nick Pell: We have both customer and institutional direct mail lists. What type of promotion has been the most effective? Gil Colaianni: Little things have done well, and I have lost thousands of dollars on promotions when I shouldn’t have lost anything. It’s a matter of timing I guess. We are not really big in the promotional game. Some retailers promote sales for pianos selling at 80 percent off. That’s ridiculous; I’m not going to get into that fray.
Meeting the Needs of Students for More Than 25 Years ... Our Best-Selling SV-175 Cremona Violin! Cremona bowed instruments have set the pace for the vibrant student and rental markets for over 25 years. Strict adherence to international sizing requirements, domestic educational set-up standards and continuous quality improvement have made Cremona Violins, Violas, Basses and Cellos proven sales leaders. Our best-selling, ebony fitted SV-175 Cremona Premier Violin Outfit has again been upgraded to include the new LaSalle LB-15 Octagonal Bow and the TL-33 deluxe rectangular Travelite case.
Dennis Fry: We’ve been doing a lot of targeted, direct mail pieces. We buy certain zip codes and target that way. We sell the high-end Disklavier. We target people who we think who are not as effected by the economy
Cremona SV-175 Violin Outfit:
Anne Shepherd: Television ads and our Web site. We also have a lot of loyal customers who do a lot of advertising for us. Word of mouth has been the best type of advertising for us.
•Six sizes from 4⁄4 to 1⁄16 •Long lasting ebony fittings •Finetuner tailpiece for precise, easy tuning •Rugged TL-33 Travelite case •All-solid carved, graduated construction •Well-balanced LaSalle LB-15 bow with ebony frog
Alex Kapteyn: We have done a couple of big mailers this year, but with disappointing results. Locally, people are not buying nearly as much as 2005-2007. Bobby Hodges: We stick with the branding, and generic types of adverMARCH 2009
 BUY-SAGA www.sagamusic.com Dealer inquiries invited.
the male of the home is just as interested, if not more now.
Nick Pell: Our base consists mostly of moms and dads.
which helps. We do school band rentals, and that gets students in the door.
Dennis Fry: Mostly families with young children, but we cater to all.
Do you offer lessons or work with the community in any way to get people interested in music making?
Alex Kapteyn: Yes, we do offer lessons
Anne Shepherd: We have a widerange of customers. The University of Georgia is right here in Athens, and we get a lot of customers from there. We have two hospitals and some of the doctors have been our customers. We also do a lot with music teachers. Alex Kapteyn: Our customers are schools, recording venues, casinos, piano owners, piano teachers, and piano technicians. Bobby Hodges: We continue to see the middle income couples, in their late thirties, leading the way. William Crabtree: Families with beginner children and retired or almost retired adults. Craig Whitaker: Mom and dad with a few kiddies who want to learn to play the piano
Dennis Fry: We have a studio and offer lessons. Right now we have one teacher. This is an area where we are really looking to grow in 2009. Right now we have 60 students. We work with Make a Wish and other organizations. We also did a lot of promotion, trying to get people excited about pianos, when the Elton John piano was on tour. We have sold two Elton John pianos, which are very expensive. With Make a Wish we have donated pianos to families. Anne Shepherd: We have put an addition on our building and have dedicated the entire second floor to teaching studios and recital hall. It’s been two years since that was completed, and it’s going very well. We work through the schools to reach out to students and get them in to take lessons. We are a full-line store,
Bobby Hodges: We have always promoted private lessons and support our local music teachers association. We provide a digital piano each year at Christmas for their students to perform. We also tried a digital in one of our local grocery stores for Christmas music during the month of December. We had a musician play each afternoon from 3 to 8. PM.... William Crabtree: We began an RMM (Recreational Music Making) program in one of our stores, and I have interest from a teacher to begin one in our other store. We also have studios in our store. Craig Whitaker: We do in-house lessons, but not much work in the community to promote music making. Nick Pell: We have a great Lowrey Organ program for senior citizens that focuses on fun and wellness.
chicks AND brass AND bling Talk to a member of our new sales team about Sonaré’s two
new trumpets and three new gold ﬂutes. just kinda different.
Call and make your appointment to visit us at NAMM booth 2930. 9 7 8 - 4 6 1 - 6 1 1 1 38 MMR
w w w . s o n a r e w i n d s . c o m MARCH 2009
What is your outlook for the coming year? Gil Colaianni: The industry is precarious. The next six to eight months will really tell a story. It doesn’t look good, but the strong will survive. Those dealers with personal assets may be able to hold out and ride the storm. There are also some savvy entrepreneurs who know how to scale back and still make money. My feeling is we will probably see some heads roll—there is no way around it. It’s going to be tough. Maybe if we all ride out these peaks and valleys together, it won’t be so bad. I may be working out of my garage in the future, but I will always be in the business. Dennis Fry: I am trying to maintain a positive outlook. It seems like all of us here are doing twice as much work to make what we did last year. We are actively pursuing whatever we can. Anne Shepherd: I think things will improve. We have seen bad financial times before. Things will pick up again. Alex Kapteyn: Uncertain, but doing all we can to succeed. Bobby Hodges: Guarded but optimistic. We are too blessed to be stressed. William Crabtree: I believe it will be a tough and challenging year, but I expect we will survive the current economic climate. We will have to re-evaluate how we do business, re-focus on our core operations, and in general, get back to basics. Craig Whitaker: I will refined my advertising vehicles and cut out phone book ads. My outlook is generally positive. I am not retrenching for 2009, but am not planning any overzealous promotions or product line changes. Nick Pell: We are already noticing an upswing in our piano sales for the month of January. We think if we can focus on getting more referrals and building our customer base and loyalty, we can outperform 2008 by a large margin. MARCH 2009
PIANO & KEYBOARD
New Keyboard Products of
Korg Unveils the LP-350 Digital Piano Korg’s LP-350, a full 88-note keyboard, is specially designed to be unobtrusive. The smooth top and no exposed hinges, allows the piano to easily blend into the room and even be used as a small table or desk. Three levels of touch sensitivity are available, allowing players to customize the dynamic response to their own playing style. The hammer weighting gets progressively lighter as a player moves up the keyboard, and the key cover is a true slow-closing fallboard, just like on a concert grand. All three pedals from a concert grand are included (damper, soft and sostenuto), and the damper and soft pedal feature expressive and nuanced half-pedaling. When open, the key cover transforms into a sheet music stand. The LP-350’s piano sounds feature stereo samples from a concert grand piano taken at multiple velocities to capture and reproduce the entire dynamic range with clarity. Electric pianos, clavs and harpsichords, church and jazz organs, mallet percussion, guitar, strings, choirs, and lush pads round out the sound offerings. Two sounds can be layered together 40 MMR
for rich blends, with reverb and chorus effects able to be added to any of the thirty on-board sounds. The tuning is adjustable to match other instruments, and users can transpose the LP-350 into any key to play along with any musician, instrument or range. A built-inmetronome is also included for practice purposes. A sound system is integrated into the unit’s cabinet. Two large 10-cm speakers are mounted in a bass-reflex chamber and powered by a pair of 11-watt amplifiers. For private use, dual headphone outputs allow parent and child, student and teacher, or friends to share the instrument together. The LP-350 is also equipped with MIDI In/Out, allowing access to a home computer or other MIDI device. The Korg LP-350 Digital Piano will be available early March 2009 at a U.S. MSRP of $1,400. www.korg.com
has been redesigned from scratch. The result offers a rich sound with many possibilities in its dynamic range; it is now often compared to a larger grand. Grotrian aims to place this instrument in practice rooms of universities and conservatories, in smaller event locations, and in private residences. www.grotrian.de
Roland Unveils V-Piano Unlike previous loop-based sampling, Roland’s V-Piano reproduces the complex resonances of acoustic pianos, as well as the subtle modulations generated by touch. Its new keyboard sensors not only support high repetition, but also reproduce the tonal fluctuations caused by differences in stroke acceleration patterns. The V-Piano’s sounds include both “Vintage” and “Vanguard” pianos. The
Grotrian´s New Baby Grand Grotrian has been reworking its baby grand model 165 Chambre over the course of the last year. The complete acoustical system of the 165 grand piano MARCH 2009
vintage tones reproduce the sound of contemporary pianos and famous vintage pianos, while the vanguard tones allow users to create never-before-heard tones, going beyond previous physical restrictions of acoustic pianos related to the type and number of strings. Using basic component-based synthesis, players of the V-Piano can create their own piano to their taste using voicing parameters such as unison tuning, hammer hardness, and various resonances. This allows for easy creation of the desired piano image, plus the ability to switch easily between desired sounds. www.rolandus.com
New Wyman Grand Upgrades Finished in polished ebony, the new Wyman Model WG145 HPE 4'9" grand piano features an all-new beveled lid de-
sign, an all-new plate color and finish, oversized spaded legs with double width solid brass casters, and other cosmetic enhancements. These product upgrades are now available on all other Wyman grand piano models and finishes as well, including the premium Wyman Pianoforte models. www.wymanpiano.com
Kawai Debuts “Blak Series” The RX BLAK Series of grand pianos from Kawai features the M-3 Ninja Action, named for its ability to provide a tactile responsiveness. The application of ABS-Carbon is said to help to make the M-3 Ninja Action up to 25 percent faster than traditional wooden
piano actions. Hammer shanks are reinforced with stabilizers to maintain proper hammer alignment and deliver a more precise strike. Cosmetic enhancements include a new plate finish, a new plate relief, black soundboard braids and felt, brass accents, and a solid brass lower lid prop. www.kawaius.com
Yamaha’s AvantGrand N3 The AvantGrand N3 from Yamaha features new technologies that are said to actualize the physical connection a pianist experiences on an acoustic grand piano. The Tactile Response System replicates the resonating string vibration of an acoustic piano to the player’s hands
Post NAMM Comments In light of the current business climate, we were pleased to have had a good turn-out at NAMM and to have an opportunity for dealers to see our new AvantGrand product, and hear about the new Keyboard Division’s objectives. The AvantGrand was a huge hit, and our other products received good comments and orders from our dealers. I think that dealers still are very cautious about this year and are making moves to watch finances and shore up their bottom line - both necessary in these times. I certainly don’t have any specific predictions for the year, but we remain cautiously optimistic. Paul Calvin VP/General Manager Piano Division Yamaha Corp of America This year’s NAMM Show was a little bit slower visitor wise. But we had nearly all our dealers from the US and Canada at our booth stated. In general we noticed that dealers are a little bit more cautious to reorder instruments they have sold. But so far business has not been so bad. We think that 2009 in general will be tough for American dealers. We, as a small size piano manufacturer, will always find our customers. In 2008, for example, we increased our worldwide grand piano sales about 15 percent, compared to 2007. Burkhard Stein CEO Grotrian Piano Company GmbH
We had a very good NAMM show this year; although attendance was down somewhat. Our business was up slightly over last year’s show. Plus we were able to visit with many Wyman dealers in person which is always valuable. Although the consensus is that 2009 will be a challenging year, we do see opportunities for those who work hard and are proficient in the piano business. As an example, Wyman fully supports the PMAI effort to promote Recreational Music Making (RMM). Interest in making music is as strong as ever, and RMM is a great way to steer baby boomers into playing the piano and to generate piano sales. Tim Laskey President Wyman Piano Company NAMM was good for Lowrey. We had a successful launch of our newest product, A300 Holiday Classic as well as a number of new marketing programs for dealers. We signed three new dealers at the show and have several more working toward that goal. Predictions for the year are Lowrey and its dealers will make the best of a tough situation by remaining strong in our alliance and working hard together for mutual success. Frank West Marketing Manager Lowrey Organs
Samick Debuts Digital Grand Product Assembly in Gallatin Jay Cross, vice president Sales and Marketing for Samick Music Corp reports that “NAMM traffic was steady and actually busier than anticipated. Last year’s show was exciting for us because of the 50th anniversary of Samick, but also because of the ‘official’ unveiling of the KD7 digital grand and we were the first company outside Piano Disc to offer Syncavision to our dealer direct. This year we unveiled twice as many new products as we did the year before. Our approach at NAMM is to always provide something new and I think our dealers appreciate that even though the economy is restricting the flow of buyers, we’re staying out front with new products for their
showroom floor. We are also aware that dealer credit has tightened up, most recently with Textron closing their music finance division, at the same time we are fortunate that Textron did not represent a majority of the flooring used to fund our product. Regardless, we are searching for alternative sources to fill the void and we should have resolution of this issue before the first quarter of 2009 is complete. “Last year Samick purchased a 52-foot trailer for dealers to do promotions. The side of the trailer reads, ‘Factory Direct Piano Sale’ so consumers can’t miss it. Dealers used the trailer during the Fall and we have it scheduled heavily through the Spring of 2009. All a dealer has to do is commit to a trailer load and pick a week or two weekends to use the trailer. We provide banners and move it to the dealers specific location. In 2008 we also hired Tony Mastadonna
as Director of Institutional Development. With American production under way, we see an opportunity to increase our market share in the US for institutional sales. “Another fairly new development for us is the LXR recording strip. With this system a piano can be easily connected to a computer via standard USB, allowing for options related to both education and recording on the instrument. There are similar products on the market, but we believe the LXR is completely different. Rather than being an ‘offthe-shelf’ add-on, our unit has been engineered specifically for SMC and we are taking this world-wide for distribution. It will work with any applicable keyboard software available, including ‘Piano Wizard”. The unit will be bundled with its own educational based software so both dealer and consumer will be able to plug-and-play right out of the box.”
New Keyboard Products KIG54 Ebony Polish with Bubinga accents, PS157 Ebony Polish with Pommele accents. Normally seen in
European Pianos, the KIG54 EBBP is a 5’4” New Yorker Series grand in Ebony Polish with Bubinga accents. The PS157 EBPM, our 5’2” Pramberger Signature Series grand, uses the same format, but different finish combination with the base of Ebony Polish with Pommele accents. These
style/finish combinations are typical of “upper end” models, according to Jay Cross who notes “We found we could offer these at more affordable price points.” New 7’ scale available. “We are sensitive to the needs of both the dealers and their customers (especially during tough economic times), so we want to develop products, particularly for 2009, that most dealers can stock and turn relatively quickly. We received several requests for a high quality, well built, yet affordable 7’ piano. We’re now offering this scale by special order to dealers for the buyer who desires the “big” sound of concert grand, but only has the budget for a smaller grand. We have also targeted institutions with this product, specifically churches”.
Designed, Developed and Assembled in the USA. Dick Christian, a consultant on American Production for SMC commented on the assembling of William Knabe and JP Pramberger pianos at the Gallatin, TN headquarters. “ We have started producing mid size and larger grand pianos in Gallatin. Our numbers are slowly increasing and we are plannint to produce ten grand pianos per month for 2009 and we hope to increase gradually to 15 per month in 2010.” KC243. “ Another request in the Kohler & Campbell line has been an affordably priced 43” decorator console” noted Jay Cross. “We feel we hit a homerun with our answer to this need. K&C deale-
rs will notice one piece leg (like a fine piece of furniture) glued and doweled construction for the front legs. Beveled edges, tone escapement, beautiful “bird’s eye maple” inlays in the music racks of some models are just some of the features our dealers will enjoy. This product will catch the eyes of the discriminating buyer, and once again, with our theme to produce high quality products at affordable pricing, we’ve produced a product ( in the KC243) that will look and play like an expensive piano, but will remain affordable. K&C New Yorker Series Changes, KIG59/61. “As marketing director the last two years at SMC, I was charged with task of marketing all six of our brands. Noticing we had too many skus, the first thing I did was address each individual brand. Since I had a hand in helping with the design of the Pramberger line, we tackled that first. We decided to remove the “Remington” name from the entry level Pramberger product and vertically market the brand with every fall board utilizing the “Pramberger” name. The second step was to eliminate sku’s that just no longer made sense. We now have a very clean lineup of Pramberger products with no replication within the line. In 2008, I decided to take the same approach with the Kohler & Campbell line. Early in 2008, we started making
the KIG48, 4’8” grand, KIG50, 5’ grand and the KIG54, 5’4” grand, available for “non-container” dealers. It took off so well we decided to make two new products to finish out the series, the KIG59 and KIG61, 5’9” and 6’1” grands. Like the KIG54, these models offer a duplex scale, premium Samick Hammers (with German Hammer Felt) and our own Samick Action. Once again, we’re keeping the theme of high quality, durable, institutional grade product at better price points. All KIG grands will now be considered “New Yorker Series”, and starting in the Summer of 2009 we’ll address our “Millennium Series” grands with the “new” prefix, KMG. We now have a clear distinction between the New Yorker Series and the Millennium Series. Also, later this year, we’ll apply the same philosophy to the verticals in our K&C line.”
through specially placed transducers, while a new mechanical touch pedal system reproduces the fi nesse of acoustic pedals, duplicating the spring, friction, and inertia. The placement of the four-channel, three-way Spatial Acoustic Speaker System mimics the points where the original grand piano samples were taken, while two Soundboard Resonators create a non-directional sound dispersion directly in front of the player, duplicating the subtle reproduction of the buildup of sound felt by concert pianists. www.yamaha.com
The New Ritmüller Pianos from Pearl River Pearl River Piano Group America has launched their totally re-designed, upmarket brand, Ritmüller line. European designer Lothar Thomma spearheaded the redesign effort and produced a total
beyond expectations. The pianos have all been re-engineered and assembled with components including: Louis Renner premium hammers; genuine ebony wood sharps; solid spruce soundboards; Röslau strings and solid maple capped; vertically laminated bridges.Mr. Thomma was also involved in the redevelopment of several popular Pearl River models including the new T-Series consoles. www.pearlriverpiano.com Newest
color LCD display, USB port, two 49note keyboards, 13 note pedal board, preset and programmable modes for any type of player, and walnut or oak rolltop cabinets. www.lowrey.com
Lowrey’s A300 Organ The A300 Holiday Classic features 90 styles, 1,421 presets, 177 genius tones,
of eight completely new Ritmüller models including three uprights and five grands. Mr. Thomma’s charge was to combine European craftsmanship with the latest in music technology and he has succeeded
Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site, www.MMRmagazine.com
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Lambert’s Music Wins
with Brand & Customer Loyalty
n 1974, Judy Lambert began selling organs at Anderson Music Center in Anderson, Ind. and, not long after she started, sales were up with the organ department thriving. More than any other line, Judy enjoyed selling Lowreys and decided that was what she wanted to do when she retired – open her own store and sell Lowreys and nothing but. Along with her husband, Phil Lambert, that’s exactly what she did. In 2006, they purchased the organ division of Anderson Music Center and re-opened as Lambert’s Music. Since launching the business they have managed to build a strong customer base. In addition to Judy and Phil, Lambert’s Music has seven employees, who all teach music at the store. According to Judy, “Business has been awesome. The lesson program brings in business and if people are having fun, enjoying music making, the organ sales will come.” The sales have come - within the past two years Lambert’s Music has become the tenth largest Lowrey dealer in the U.S. In 2007 Lambert’s Music was awarded with Lowrey’s Top Performer Dealer Award.
Seijro Imamura, vice president & general manager of Lowrey Organ, Judy and Phil Lambert, and Hirotaka Kawai, president of Kawai Musical Instruments.
Lambert’s participates in Lowrey’s LIFE program – a recreational music making program for dealers. Lowrey rewards LIFE members with points, which can be used for gift cards, travel, and apparel. Judy reports the program is a success saying, “We have the largest LIFE club in the United States. We took up the name, “Friends for Life” for our LIFE club and now have 162 members. We have a special organization here. LIFE club members often arrive at the store an hour before class to catch up with fellow members and have some milk and cookies.” Lambert’s LIFE club organizes two benefits a year for local charities. Last year they raised $18,000 for a local advocacy organization for abused and neglected children. Despite a tough economy, Lambert’s has managed to continuously generate business. Anderson’s population has dropped from its peak of 75,000 in 1970 to 55,000, mostly due to the closings of area General Motors plants. Most of the people who remained in Anderson are retired and as Judy put it, “They have nothing to do, and Lambert’s has become the place to be.” LIFE club members range in age from 50 to 96, and Lambert’s has become the social center of their community. Lambert’s has a Web site (www.lambertsmusic.com)and Judy says that being linked in with the Lowrey site has provided them with a lot of traffic and business. They also advertise in the local and surrounding newspapers and on two radio stations. Judy says such advertising has been very effective in recruiting students. Lambert’s does outreach programs, where LIFE members play live music at a local senior community center, every Monday. They also perform at a local café, the mall, and at various clubs and organizations. The goal is to get people exposed to and interested in music making.
Breaking News Find it in the Hot News section of MMR’s Web site,
www.MMRmagazine.com MARCH 2009