We can all agree that 2020 has been an
eventful year, yet one without virtually any high-end audio events! Many companies worldwide joined
together with online videos, yet none of us met in person. Sales for many
audiophile companies have increased dramatically during 2020, yet it was not due
to physical shows some claim are a must. Unemployment for millions of workers globally is
at record highs, yet there's an abundance of currency flowing thanks to
government and Central Bank intervention.
An Eventful Year
All of us can agree that many events during 2020 were completely unexpected.
COVID-19 has hurt, and sadly killed, many people. Pandemics have a way of
reminding us all how truly fragile the human species is. This situation has also
brought many of us together, in concert, to sing the praises of music. An abundance
musicians have been streaming live concerts and special one-off performances to
help find a cure for this deadly disease. Enjoy the Music.com did our part as we
streamed many hours of live music from the Blues
Masters At The Crossroads concert on our
Facebook page (click the Video tab). It is this coming together in unison
that also brought about a variety of alternatives including online videos,
special online features such as Enjoy the Music.com's 10 Questions, and too
many other great efforts by many within the industry. And speaking of working
The Audio Industry Alliance
Just a few weeks ago the Audio Industry Alliance was announced
by Michel Plante.
My name is Michel Plante and I fell in love with hi-fi before
I was even allowed to vote. I was so smitten by it that I promised myself that
for the rest of my life I'd work in the audio industry. And I have — in
retail, representation and distribution. I was a store manager, a director of
sales and marketing for major distributors, and a business consultant. And now,
in partnership with my tireless wife and with the support of an incredible team
of hard workers, I'm also an audio show organizer. As you can probably guess,
organizing major shows in large venues is not for the faint-hearted, but I feel
compelled to do it because I'm committed to the audio industry — I want to
help it succeed.
I know that the audio business isn't what it was in its
heyday. From people in every sector, I hear the same concerns: Clientele is
aging. Sales are stagnant. Profits are thinning. Our market is shrinking as it
becomes harder to convert new customers. People don't listen to music seriously
anymore. Yet, my faith in our product is unshakable.
The audio hobby is fun! It's rewarding! And I think it safe to
say that those who enjoy listening to music would rather do so in good sound
over bad if given a choice. So why aren't we doing better? Simple: we're not
doing enough to win over the hearts and minds of today's music lover.
To help combat this situation, I founded in October 2019 The
Audio Industry Alliance, a non-profit audio-appreciation incubator whose mandate
is to maximize the use of social media to revitalize our industry and improve
the personal fortunes of every one of us, from manufacturer, to street-level
store, to audio magazine and audio show. Our organization believes firmly in the
adage that a rising tide lifts all boats.
The best news I can give you is this: thanks to social media,
with our strategy our industry now has the opportunity to reach more —
millions more — music listeners than it ever could. This is exciting stuff.
I look forward to unveiling the entire project with you, in my
follow-up email, next week.... STAY TUNED!
Sales Reach A Fever Pitch
Hmmm… perhaps that's not the best-chosen header considering CV-19. Still, there's no doubt many high-end audio
companies have been experiencing tremendous growth during 2020. Over the past
few months, I've enjoyed wonderful conversations with many manufacturers and
distributors globally. Overall, a majority of companies are reporting record
sales growth. As a multitude of music lovers are on Staycation 2020, they have pushed
forward with purchasing new gear and component upgrades. It not only brings about a
more joyous musical experience into your life, it also gave us something to do while on
Staycation. The same goes for tweaking your system, or dare we admit to finally
having the time to clean cable contacts and straighten out the snake pit of
wires so they are more organized. Don't forget to secure your tonearm, and
then dust under your turntable. Phono cartridges are fragile!
While many of us miss attending physical shows, it is
interesting how the lack of these events has not slowed down procuring the
high-end audio equipment you've desired. Manufacturers and distributors
generally invest tens of thousands of Dollars / Euro into these events, and that
refunded currency (when not 'disappeared' for a few years without the
benefit of interest) brings in a newfound ability to invest into product
research and development, production, advertising, and other matters that
benefit their company. It also proves the strength of our industry in that no
matter what Mother Nature, or a dangerous government lab, may throw at us we are
still here enjoying music to the fullest!
A Divergence Of Economy
We all recognize the very real strife with high unemployment,
yet we all know luxury high-fidelity audio gear is something the more well-to-do
can afford. With an abundance of currency flowing at an unprecedented rate,
thanks to government and Central Bank interventions, the velocity of these funds
are finding their way to purchase many incredible music systems. Never in my
lifetime would I have imagined the trillions of Dollars / Euro being unleashed
by central planners and government officials. The sheer magnitude of their
efforts is greatly helping to keep economies afloat, and in-turn continuing the
flourishing of our high-end audio community.
Here are just two examples of many: One distributor was busy
installing an over $500,000 system, while one manufacturer I spoke with sold out
of all his stock for 2020! You see, many manufacturers order parts and bits in
bulk for a year's worth of production, and in June he had already sold out his
entire 2020 stock and was rushing to order more pieces to build more products.
This is a glorious 'problem' to have.
We All Came Together
Online videos, more reviews, special think pieces, and Enjoy
the Music.com's very own 10 Questions were ways we worked together to
benefit us all. We are working both harder and smarter! I'd like to
humbly thank everyone who has done an amazing job finding new ways to reach
their fans. We have been hiring out for special one-off articles by leading
industry experts, posted more Lifestyle & Design features, and so very much
more. The many e-mails I've been receiving about the record number of articles
have not gone unnoticed.
All this additional work has been my pleasure, if a bit
taxing on my personal life and marriage to the most amazing Muse / wife Heather. Please allow me a moment to thank my Muse Heather for
her unwavering understanding
about the many sleepless nights to ensure Enjoy the Music.com has a record number of
articles, reviews, think pieces, etc. Please also allow me to humbly thank the many journalists,
reviewers, and manufacturers for working together with us to benefit our
industry's worldwide readership. Bravo!
The August Enjoy the Music.comReview Magazine
will officially celebrate our 25th Anniversary! There are many
special articles, highlights, and awards planned. We hope you love our efforts
so far during 2020, as our readership has grown ~30% thanks to Staycation 2020.
We look forward to seeing you back here in August to help us celebrate our very
special 25th Anniversary. As always, in the end what really matters is that you...