Around the 55th Annual NARM 'Music Biz' Convention

The Future of the Biz on the Future of the Biz panel featured four young executives from this magazine's "40 under 40" power list, who shared their vision of the industry's future. From left: Christopher "Tricky"Stewart, musician/writer/producer and president of A&R for Epic Records; Ethiopia Habtemariam, senior VP of Motown Records and EVP/head of urban music for Universal Music Publishing Group; Billboard senior correspondent Phil Gallo; Joe Belliotti, head of global music marketing for Coca-Cola's worldwide sports, entertainment and partnership marketing team; Rebeca Leon, VP of latin talent for AEG Live/Golden Voice

The U.S. music industry's sales, retail, distribution and marketing mavens descended on the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza for NARM's annual "Music Biz" convention. In his opening speech, NARM president Jim Donio termed the meeting the organization's meeting its "biggest and most forward looking program ever," with almost 120 speakers and presenters taking part in the agenda.

The convention, which was populated with executives from both the digital and physical side of the business, is a five-day long event, now in its 55th year. The organization has taken a lead in helping the industry establish a digital infrastructure through such efforts as, which has organized a digital supply chain working group and a subscription working group, even as the trade association continues to help labels and brick and mortar merchants deal with the physical side of the business.

Once known as the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers, the trade group shortened its name to NARM in order to recast itself as a music business trade group. During the convention's metadata summit, which took place in the first two days before the official opening of the Music Biz convention, industry digital veteran and MediaNet executive VP/GM Larry Miller, who introduced us all to the coming complexity of digital distribution back in the late 1990's when he headed up AT&Ts a2B and then Reciprocal, said if you had asked him back then who would be taking a lead position in helping to build the industry's digital infrastructure, the last organization he would have named would have been NARM, applauding the group for its turnaround.

Following are some pictures from the seminars, parties and socializing that took place during the convention.

NARM chairman and co-CEO of J&R Music World Rachelle Friedman and NARM president Jim Donio, comparing notes on how the Music Biz convention is going


NARM VP of digital strategy and biz development Bill Wilson, who heads up the organization's effort, addresses attendees at the convention's metadata summit, urging the delegates to make action item suggestions to help move the industry along in its goal of conquering the metadata challenge


At the opening session for the Music Biz convention, NARM president Jim Donio presented the indie record store coalitions that launched Record Store Day, which celebrated its sixth event in April, with the NARM Independent Spirit Award. From left: Coalition of Music Stores executive director Michael Bunnell, who owns the Record Exchange store in Boise, ID; American Independent Media Stores founder Eric Levin, who owns Criminals Records in Atlanta; Donio, Department of Record Stores marketing director Carrie Colliton; and Department Of Record Stores leader Michael Kurtz


NARM president Jim Donio (right) presents the organization's Presidential Award, which recognizes individuals who contributed greatly to the overall success of the music industry, to Ted Cohen, a 30-year industry veteran who heads up his own firm TAG Strategic and who has been a key executive involved in the evolution of the digital music distribution channel


Universal Music Group Distribution CEO Jim Urie (right) congratulates NARM president Jim Donio for his 25 years of service with NARM, including 10 years leading the organization, presenting him with a plaque picturing each No. 1 top seller for each year from 1988 through 2012


After a hard day of doing business at the Music Biz convention, held at the Hyatt Recency Century Plaza Hotal in Los Angeles,, senior industry executives corner NARM president Jim Donio to find out about the latest convention gossip at the WEA sponsored, convention opening cocktail party. From left: WEA president Mike Jbara, WEA senior VP of sales Mitch Imber, Anderson Merchandisers president/CEO/GM Bill Lardie; executive VP of sales and production for the Universal Music East Coast Label Group Pat Monaco, and NARM president Jim Donio