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Topic: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

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  1. #1
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    ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    I recently received an industry newsletter with the headline "Summer NAMM Ready Despite ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends". In its June 6 edition of the NAMM PLAYback Digital e-newsletter, NAMM drew a straightforward -- and sometimes somber -- picture of the upcoming Summer NAMM.
    "It's common knowledge that the current state of the music products industry is tumultuous," NAMM stated. "Some would call it a crisis. Changes brought about by slowing industry sales, a tough economy, and unanticipated legal bills from the FTC investigation into our industry have all taken their toll."

    With retailer pre-registration reportedly lagging, the newsletter noted, "We are doing everything possible to get more dealers to come to Austin and many of the most important retailers in the country are planning to attend. However, some are also reporting that sales are down and that they can't afford to bring as many people to the show."
    Usually these industry newsletters put their best foot forward and paint a rosey picture. What is going on?

    Tumultuous? Crisis? Maybe I am missing something as we are not experiencing this. Anyone have clues as to what is going on in the industry?

    Gary Garritan

  2. #2

    Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    Apparently NAMM has yet to figure out they shouldn't have moved summer NAMM from Nashville


    Seriously I have no idea. Although summer NAMM HAS been a downer for as long as I can remember - and developers don't seem to make as big of deal out of NAMM as they use to - some not even bothering to go. But according to CNBC the economy is great. So I don't get that part.

    Although Software sales ARE up and hardware sales (of keyboards at least) are down - I think more people than ever are probably buying gear. Maybe just not from mom & pop stores and rather more mail order "big boy" kind of stores. Who knows.

  3. #3
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
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    Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    As much as I like the idea of NAMM being closer to me, I always thought the idea of having 2 a year was a mistake. It kinda made it less of a big deal (IMO). It used to be like Xmas - but 2 times a year might take something out of it...dunno...
    "So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap." -- Neil Peart
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  4. #4

    Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    I can see why they are worried about the Federal Trade Commission investigation on Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). IF the FTC smells collusion and anti-competitive behavior, then these manufacturers could be facing a very long and costly journey that could end MAP for at least a period of years.

    The distribution arms of the five major record companies were pursued by the FTC. They signed a consent order in 2000 ending MAPS for seven years because the FTC found they had "engaged in acts and practices that have unreasonably restrained competition in the market for prerecorded music in the United States through their adoption" of MAPS. The companies reacted to price wars by Best Buy and other electronic retailers, fearing the decline of retail prices would lead to the decline in wholesale prices.

    Whether or not the NAMM investigation leads to something, the legal costs must be extremely high just to produce documents for the FTC. I can see why the music hardware companies are worried.

  5. #5

    Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    The U.S. is already in a recession.
    .6% GDP growth last quarter which is a joke considering at the GDP gets a 2% hedonics bump.
    (you buy a new mac for $2000. The US Gov thinks since its 100 times faster than an old computer they factor that purchase into GDP by multiplying your $2000 by 100. Yup .... that's $200K in gdp growth!)

    Every store I know is suffering.

    Beyond the tight economy for the middle class - what's out there to buy???
    Digital recorder - nope - apple gets that sale for a new mac and sweetwater gets the order for the interface.

    Synths? nope most purchases are vsti's nowadays.

    Guitars, amps, drums etc - yeah that's still the market but mom and dad are struggeling with their mortgage payment - two car leases - Oil for the heating and $3 for a gallon of gas to drive junior to lessons.
    And if they have room on the credit card, Guitar Center was nice enough to build 4 mega stores within 10 miles of each other.

    And the big statistic no one seems to talk about is the fact that there are fewer kids!

    Welcome to the very beginning of a 20 year retracement of the biggest economic bubble in history.
    Junior isn't really going to be able to pay for mom and pops social security and medicare. Not to mention that florida vacation condo they bought two years ago that's now worth half of what they paid.

    Namm will eventually be Manufacturers taking the Sweetwater guys and the Guitar Center guys to a strip club for a night.
    The rest of the business will go to Apple and small innovators own online web stores.

    can't say I'm really all that bummed about it either.

  6. #6
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    Red face Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    I would like to comment on how LONG it takes music equipment manufacturers to actually bring a product into market as well. Between R&D to actual shipment seems to be a bit long. I'm talking about all the big guys--not the indies like Garritan, Bela D, EastWest, etc.

    Most or all of the products shown/announced at the last NAMM aren't even shipping yet! Kind of strange to have another NAMM when their pace is that slow.

    Second, how's about lack of innovation to keep up with the software? Korg, Roland, and Yamaha are still rebranding and selling us the same sound samples from the early to mid-nineties in their extremely expensive keyboards while software-based samplers are constantly updating and producing all-new massive GB sets. With the big guys' programming knowledge--if that were mixed with those massive sample sets, their hardware keys would be worth that $3000 price tag.

    I've been looking forward to the new VG-99 by Roland (as a guitarist) but they are taking forever to ship it and it's right on the edge of being way overpriced, as all Roland gear is.

    I've actually purchased more new equipment in the last year than any time before because I do feel like technology is finally becoming more useful and easier to use, along with less getting in the way when trying to be creative but, I think the big instrument manufacturers need to start realizing that they have a select audience of musicians for the most part, who are demanding quality and will instantly spread the word when something is crap. Also, everyone is looking for vintage instruments because we realize that things were just plain made better and sounded more, well musical. Maybe they do know that we are all on to them and are just trying to get all the next-gen products right. I doubt that though. But I can hope...

    Bottom line is that I think even beginning musicians are now demanding more pristine quality and manufacturing than ever before and that has probably eliminated all the fat from the music-product world.

    We all have to admit we have it pretty good right now as self-producing musicians. 10-20 years ago we had almost none of the products out now to help us sound like a million dollar studio.

    J-Mac

  7. #7

    Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    Frankly I think the musical instrument market is absolutely flooded. Especially with things like SynthEdit around, there are dozens of new companies selling software or samples every year. Not to mention, thanks to eBay, we have tons of people selling samples and VSTs of questionable legitimacy (eg. triton and motif soundsets). How much of that is really being recorded in surveys of the industry as a whole?
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  8. #8

    Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    Quote Originally Posted by myramyd
    We all have to admit we have it pretty good right now as self-producing musicians. 10-20 years ago we had almost none of the products out now to help us sound like a million dollar studio.

    J-Mac
    there it is right there,
    That is why studios are dropping like flies and recording engineers are finding other things to do. The reality is that musicians used to blow, pluck, hit or bow their instrument, now it has a 1/4" plug.

    A professional seasoned recording engineer is a totally different breed than a musician, sometimes one in the same, but rarely. A great engineer hears all the flaws and all the "wrong" things that the musician did with his/her recording. While the musician thinks he did an awesome job, he didn't. Proof is how many people ask about what expensive "mastering plugin" they can buy to get "that professional sound" like the big boys. Sorry folks there is no magic plugin.

    Today's musician feels he can play all the instruments, record all the parts, and even market it himself through his website and iTunes. I am not complaining, just observing what is happening, scratch that, what HAS happened.
    Have microphone will travel...
    Dan

  9. #9

    Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    - i do remember that only a few short years ago there seemed to be much more noise about the outboard/inboard sounds debate re sound banks, synths and samples. I could be just biased here - but it does seem that the software improvements of late do seem to mean the inboard systems are more taken for granted as the way to go, for cost effectiveness, quality and ease of use.(Ok -not necessarily ease of use yet!). At least, thats the group picture I get from other players/writers that i know.

    The software VST purchases ive made the last 18 months would have probably cost somewhere around 5X as much to get their hardware equivalents, factoring in the cost of a DAW and sequencer. (thats a quick estimate).

    It will be interesting to see what Roland/Yamaha/Korg come up with in the face of this...

  10. #10

    Re: ‘Tumultuous’ Industry Trends?? NAMM Report

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN
    there it is right there,
    That is why studios are dropping like flies and recording engineers are finding other things to do. The reality is that musicians used to blow, pluck, hit or bow their instrument, now it has a 1/4" plug.

    A professional seasoned recording engineer is a totally different breed than a musician, sometimes one in the same, but rarely. A great engineer hears all the flaws and all the "wrong" things that the musician did with his/her recording. While the musician thinks he did an awesome job, he didn't. Proof is how many people ask about what expensive "mastering plugin" they can buy to get "that professional sound" like the big boys. Sorry folks there is no magic plugin.

    Today's musician feels he can play all the instruments, record all the parts, and even market it himself through his website and iTunes. I am not complaining, just observing what is happening, scratch that, what HAS happened.
    Have microphone will travel...
    Dan
    I think you have nailed it DPDAN,

    The thing is, on the other hand pro engineers (atleast here in Europe) are ruining albums by over producing and pushing levels (at mastering) too high which in turn destroys the dynamics.

    Over EQed or excited vocals that have been tuned in software sound awful to me. Home producers also have this going on and it is something that I personally have never liked and therefore never used.

    So in some way the pros have been destroying it themselves.

    There are countless albums that if they were better produced would certainly sound a lot better than they do.

    it is something that I have learnt since recording my first album as that was pushed a bit too far.

    There needs to be changes in the industry as physical CD sales have been in decline for too long with in end in sight...

    I also think that a business such as any of the developers here on this site can't justify the exhibition space costs twice a year. I am also pretty sure that there are not many visitors from other parts of the world coming over for the show twice a year.

    I don't see any answers maybe someone else will... I certainly hope that there are answers to some of the things wrong in the industry at the moment...

    Simon
    www.sounds-and-images.co.uk

    And now also at Flickr!

    http://flickr.com/photos/sounds-and-images/

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    View Simon Fielder's Profile at NorthernSounds.net

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