Takeaways from 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, a few of our members have contributed their thoughts and perspectives on the past year. Looking forward to 2018, RPMDA wishes all of our members and everyone in the music industry a prosperous and exciting New Year!

Kevin Cranley – Willis Music

RPMDA asked me to write something this past week and it’s been staring at me in my inbox ever since.  I really didn’t know what to write until I just watched a video this morning from Matthew Kelly.  The message was that we shouldn’t tackle any big problems without gratitude first.  An acknowledgment of gratitude is helpful in building on the good in our lives and spreading it to other areas.  Whether 2017 was a good year or could have been better, what can we be thankful for?  Something as simple as turning on the faucet and getting hot water or having enough to eat today is something that many in the world can’t count on.  So, before we take on our challenges and obstacles in 2018 let’s begin by realizing everything we are blessed with.  Merry Christmas.

Dan Del Fiorentino – NAMM

One of my takeaways from 2017 comes as I reflect back on those related to music publishing who we lost throughout the year.  The lessons we can learn from these mentors, leaders, and friends is vast and I feel blessed that their documented interviews allow us and future generations to learn from them.  Can we pause in reflection of those music publishers who were interviewed for the NAMM Oral History program who were lost in 2017?

Charles Slater, CFO for JW Pepper

Matanya Ophee, President of Editions Orphee

Ed Murphy, long time relationship with G Schirmer and Harmony Media Founder

Jay Morgenstern, Executive VP for Warner Chappell Music

Toyomasa Namikawa, Founder of the Japan Music publisher Teine Corp.

Ivan Mogull, Founder of Orchard Music, long history in the Brill Building

For those attending the NAMM Show in Anaheim, our annual Tribute program will begin at 5:30 pm on Thursday, January 25th in front of the main stage outside of the Anaheim Convention Center.  All are welcome to join us.

Johann Gouws – Alfred Music

Having been fortunate enough to travel the world extensively over the last number of years, 2017 was the year that one theme stood out stronger than ever before: from the US to China, England to Australia, music education is as strong and exciting as it has ever been. Many of these markets have seen significant change over the last few years and despite the obstacles faced by retailers, publishers and educators, people of all ages want to learn how to play instruments, improve their musical skills and experience that joy that only comes from making music. It is with this in mind that I personally look forward to 2018 and how the print industry collectively will evolve to meet these aspiring and established music makers where they are at.

Jill and Tom Jeffers – Jeffers Handbell Supply

Keep Learning, you never know enough. Attending conferences, talking to others, reading, watching webinars, it all adds up.

Don’t blame the economy. It has been 10 years now. We can’t keep blaming the economy for our poor business performance. Dig into the problem. Is it your location, your product mix, your customers are going elsewhere, the Internet? Find the problems and fix them or change your business. Get rid of dead market segments. Find new avenues to sell through, and don’t forget to make sure your staff is educated to sell.

Look at your margins. If you can’t get the desired margins or turns, decide if you want to carry the items. Look at products that you can produce in-house. Buttons and magnets can be made cheaply with minimum investment in equipment. You would be surprised how many $2 buttons can be sold if they are available. Sublimation allows you to create mugs, water bottles, plaques, and thousands of unique items for your store. Most stores have creative people who would love to produce artwork for products. T-shirts can be made in-house with a larger investment. Look at thermal transfer or Direct to Garment printers. Don’t stop thinking how to improve the business!

Tracy Leenman – Musical Innovations

Each customer is a “new customer,” in the sense that – even if they’ve been in the store 100 times before, this is a new interaction and a new opportunity to make (or destroy) a good impression. We have to treat each person that walks in the door as though they are a welcomed, a special guest and be sure that no “baggage” from earlier in the day (or even a previous interaction with that same customer) affects that interaction.

Don’t take anything for granted. I am prone to assume people know certain things when they really don’t, and they may be hesitant to let on that they don’t. Especially with new employees (even retired teachers), it’s important to review, review, review, until they “own” a task. It’s also important to sustain an environment where employees are free to ask questions and/or admit what they don’t know.

Always have a Plan B. We had a huge Christmas sale scheduled for December 9th, the day 1/4″ of snow fell on Greenville and the town was immobilized. We didn’t really have a backup plan to advertise and do the sale on the 16th as we should have – but then who expects snow in Greenville, SC in early December?? (and who would think that 1/4″ would immobilize a town??)

Reiff Lorenz – Lorenz Music

  • Achieving big goals usually takes longer than we wish it would. Success often comes to the one who stays fully engaged throughout a lengthy process.
  • There are good people in our industry. Even through difficult times, you can count on that.
  • The challenges we face in the years ahead are no larger or smaller than the challenges we faced 20, 30, or 40 years ago. We have been through the past, so it doesn’t seem so threatening anymore. We will work through the issues in front of us, and then forget how worried we were about them.

Steve Loweth – Mayfair Music

Dear Friends at RPMDA

It has been a few years since I last attended an RPMDA gathering. While I keep in regular contact with many of you, some I have not, but I do think about everyone often. Mayfair Music Publications has been publishing music since the Summer of 1979. It began with the publishing and distributing of that wonderful piece called Music Box Dancer by Frank Mills. It was our big hit that allowed us to transform the

proceeds of one song into viable wonderful music publishing company that today is still going strong. A lot of this has to do because of RPMDA and people like you. While RPMDA has been changing its way of doing business, so has Mayfair. But through these changes in technology, we bring with us all the deep learning from each of you and from RPMDA. I wish you each a prosperous 2018 and look forward to our paths crossing again.  Peace

Annekathrin Mascus – Breitkopf

Looking back on an exciting and eventful year, I’m bound to say that many things are taken too seriously, that one should rather focus on what’s really important in life. So, my resolution for the New Year is to live a more conscious life and start each day in a relaxed and confident manner.

With this in mind, I wish all RPMDA friends a peaceful Festive Season and all the best for 2018. See you in Minneapolis.

Larry Morton – Hal Leonard Corporation

The past year showed all of us in print music publishing and retailing that the desire to learn to play musical instruments, and the joy that playing brings, is undiminished. From blockbuster music-centric shows like La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen to the increasing number of US children beginning music lessons, to the expansion of adult music learning programs, our print music industry is full of evolving opportunities.  My lesson starts with the idea that demand is as strong as ever, but that is not to say that demand isn’t evolving. On the business side, 2017 confirmed that how we handle the blurring between physical and eCommerce retailing, as well as physical and virtual content, will continue to define our collective success as an industry going forward.

Joel Shoemake – Pine Lake Music

In 2017 I continued to learn the lesson that the past decade has taught us – that in today’s environment, music dealers can’t choose to be customer-oriented or cost-conscious, effective or efficient, hard workers or innovators. We must embrace all of these.

Norm Zimmerman – Steve’s Music

At this time of the year. We all find ourselves very busy juggling work with family and friends. Please let’s not forget those less fortunate. This is the perfect time of the year to give back to our Community. Take a little time and help to spread good cheer and help those less fortunate. Pack a Holiday Food Hamper or deliver one and feel the satisfaction of helping those less fortunate. Involve the whole family in this project.  It will make you realize how lucky you are to have what you have. Season’s Best!