Retail Briefs: NARM Upgrades Database, IRIS To Distribute Saban Artists
Retail Briefs: NARM Upgrades Database, IRIS To Distribute Saban Artists

The NARM convention kicked off on an upbeat note this morning in Los Angeles at the Century City Hyatt Regency, as delegates basked in the glow of a 1.6% U.S. sales increase, the first time since 2004.

During his keynote address, BMG North America president of creative Billy Mann noted that while the industry has evolved into a more disciplined business model, "so many decisions we make are off the spreadsheet. Sometimes you just have to believe in an act."

While he noted the technological direction that the industry is headed in, he still took time to note the role that indie stores play, especially to himself when he was growing up.

On the other hand, some wonder if the CD is dead, he noted, and pointed out that the automobile manufacturers are not making cars with CD players in them anymore. "I don't think the CD will be the cornerstone of retail in the future," he said.

He noted that the music industry was facing many challenges, but it was up to the people at NARM to turn those challenges into opportunities and get remuneration.

During the opening session, bluegrass/folk artist Cathy Anne McLintock played four songs, Jake Walden who made his second album with $23,000 pledged from fans, delivered a short two song set as did Wildflower Recording artist Sadie Jemmett.

The NARM executive committee is led by chairman Rachelle Friedman of J&R Music & Computer World, serving her fourth term as chairman; Adam Mirabella, of Nokia was named vice chairman and Steve McLanahan of Merchandisers as treasurer. The other board members consist of Amazon's Craig Pape; Baker & Taylor's Steve Harkins; Best Buy's Nate Jarpe, Homer's Mike Fratt, immergent's John Trickett, iTunes Brent Muhle, Target's Jake Langner, Verizon Wireless Ed Ruth, and direct-at-large Len Cosimano.

The convention began with an address from NARM president Jim Donio who noted that the last time NARM held its convention in Los Angeles, the event's theme was "Welcome to the digital decade." Sony classical was talking about the possibilities of music videos in HDTV while the DAT formation was also being introduced. Lyrics were also a big issue, which is why NARM offered a seminar, "To sticker or not to sticker: the censorship issue.

Then piracy was an issue but nothing like now, where rampant illegal downloading worldwide has contributed to a 52% decline in music sales in the past 10 years, Donio said.

"Here we are today, clearly leaner, understandably meaner, but hopefully wiser for having survived the amazing transformation our business has endured since we last occupied this ballroom," Donio said.

The industry's message about piracy is resonating, Donio said, noting that Vice President Joe Biden has committed the Obama's administration's fierce determination to protect the country's intellectual property. "Piracy is outright theft," according to a quote from Biden displayed on the screen during Donio's address. "There's no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property."

He noted that during the year the recent Record Store Day was a resounding success and he also talked about the joint effort by NARM to revive "the gift of music" campaign, reporting that the next phase of the compaign will be working with Ketchum Sports & Entertainment to help identify potential brand partners to help bring the promotional tool to a larger audience.

Noting that for the first time since 2004, weekly U.S. music sales have outpaced the corresponding weeks of the prior years 11 times so far this year. Several key influencers for this turnaround: great music, better value, new promotional approaches, improved trading partner collaboration, the death of Limewire, more non-traditional outlets, enhanced connections with fans, and gifting.

The next question is have we hit bottom? We've thought so before and been wrong. Maybe this time."
The NARM convention kicked off on an upbeat note this morning in Los Angeles at the Century City Hyatt Regency, as delegates basked in the glow of a 1.4% U.S. sales increase, the first time since 2004.

During his keynote address, BMG North America president of creative Billy Mann noted that while the industry has evolved into a more disciplined business model, "so many decisions we make are off the spreadsheet. Sometimes you just have to believe in an act."

While he noted the technological direction that the industry is headed in, he still took time to note the role that indie stores play, especially to himself when he was growing up.

On the other hand, some wonder if the CD is dead, he noted, and pointed out that the automobile manufacturers are not making cars with CD players in them anymore. "I don't think the CD will be the cornerstone of retail in the future," he said.

He noted that the music industry was facing many challenges, but it was up to the people at NARM to turn those challenges into opportunities and get remuneration.

During the opening session, bluegrass/folk artist Cathy Anne McLintock played four songs, Jake Walden who made his second album with $23,000 pledged from fans, delivered a short two song set as did Wildflower Recording artist Sadie Jemmett.

The NARM executive committee is led by chairman Rachelle Friedman of J&R Music & Computer World, serving her fourth term as chairman; Adam Mirabella, of Nokia was named vice chairman and Steve McLanahan of Merchandisers as treasurer. The other board members consist of Amazon's Craig Pape; Baker & Taylor's Steve Harkins; Best Buy's Nate Jarpe, Homer's Mike Fratt, immergent's John Trickett, iTunes Brent Muhle, Target's Jake Langner, Verizon Wireless Ed Ruth, and direct-at-large Len Cosimano.

The convention began with an address from NARM president Jim Donio who noted that the last time NARM held its convention in Los Angeles, the event's theme was "Welcome to the digital decade." Sony classical was talking about the possibilities of music videos in HDTV while the DAT formation was also being introduced. Lyrics were also a big issue, which is why NARM offered a seminar, "To sticker or not to sticker: the censorship issue.

Then piracy was an issue but nothing like now, where rampant illegal downloading worldwide has contributed to a 52% decline in music sales in the past 10years, Donio said.

"Here we are today, clearly leaner, understandably meaner, but hopefully wiser for having survived the amazing transformation our business has endured since we last occupied this ballroom," Donio said.

The industry's message about piracy is resonating, Donio said, noting that Vice President Joe Biden has committed the Obama's administration's fierce determination to protect the country's intellectual property. "Piracy is outright theft," according to a quote from Biden displayed on the screen during Donio's address. "There's no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property."

He noted that during the year the recent Record Store Day was a resounding success and he also talked about the joint effort by NARM to revive "the gift of music" campaign, reporting that the next phase of the compaign will be working with Ketchum Sports & Entertainment to help identify potential brand partners to help bring the promotional tool to a larger audience.

Noting that for the first time since 2004, weekly U.S. music sales have outpaced the corresponding weeks of the prior years 11 times so far this year. Several key influencers for this turnaround: great music, better value, new promotional approaches, improved trading partner collaboration, the death of Limewire, more non-traditional outlets, enhanced connections with fans, and gifting.

The next question is have we hit bottom? We've thought so before and been wrong. Maybe this time."