2017 Executive Committee
Note: Scroll down for Committee updates
President: Brendan Callinan, Roland Corporation
Vice President: Craig Johnston, Keyboard Corner/KC’s Rockshop, Boronia, VIC
Treasurer: Tony Burn, The Resource Corporation
- Damon McMahon, Shriro Australia
- Richard Snape, Hal Leonard Australia
- Michael Shade, Yamaha Music Australia
- Warrick Baker, Kawai Australia
- Dom DiSisto, Holden Hill Music, SA
- Michael Jongebloed, Fine Music, Hawthorn VIC
- Daryl Horwood, Musicorp, SA
- Graham Hoskins, Concept Music, Wembley WA
- Mark Amory, Fender Australia
- Mark Trask, Dynamic Music (ex-officio)
Executive Officer: Robert Walker
Committee Updates 2016
As Christmas fast approaches, on behalf of the Executive Committee, all the best for the coming festive season and the all-important Christmas trading period. We should also remain aware that the post- Christmas season has now also become an important trading period, which was not the case only a few years back, something I was reminded of clearly as I recently searched through sales data from the last 10 years. This week’s news is full of some very mixed messages about the current state of the Australian economy, so my focus will be on those things we can control ourselves and try to create our own prosperity, as an industry, in 2017.
I’m pleased to announce that we have some fresh blood on the committee with Bud Cole from Fender Australia and Steve Vranch from Yamaha both new and welcome faces. The AMA has a big agenda rolling out after our November meeting with the announcement of the Sydney Drum & Percussion show on May 27-28 at Rosehill and the new industry conference format slated for September. Add to this another Melbourne Guitar Show in August and it’s a solid program. It’s heartening to see that the latest quarterly statistics suggest that the value of the industry has been trending upward, reaching a total import value of over $250 mill for the first time since 2008/9. The conference we’ve committed to is focused on improving the business skills of the industry, a commitment we have made to members.
As we strive to provide value for member’s commitment to the association we have released a 60 second social media advertisement promoting the value of music stores in the community. Please check it out. We have also developed our online library of consumer purchasing tips, all on our You Tube channel for members to share. Like many associations, we rely on a pool of loyal supporters and members who see the importance of the industry having a functional and active industry association. I’m pleased to say that our member support has grown in 2016 with major wholesalers re-joining the AMA in support of the association and their retail partners.
However, it’s vital that the association demonstrate clear and tangible value to those members. We believe that we are doing this better than at any time in recent history, with an active organisation supported by reliable service providers and skills.
Online we are making an impact in supporting the promotion of our products and the music making message. End user promotion of the industry generally is achieved through our social media channels and online footprint. Sharing members content, creating a network from our members’ online activity and growing exponentially the reach of our messaging. We are using highly targeted social media campaigns to selectively grow our market and the reach of our message, for the benefit of all members.
Once again, a safe and prosperous Christmas to all and good health and success for the New Year.
November 29, 2016 – President’s Report to the AGM
The AMA promotes a positive message about music, musicians, music education and music in our community. Our objectives in 2016 and beyond are to increase industry skills, create more customers, promote the benefits of shopping with Australian music businesses, and advocate for music education
Like many associations we rely on a contracting pool of loyal supporters who see the importance of the industry having a functional and active industry association. I am pleased to say that our member support has grown in 2016 with major wholesalers re-joining the AMA in support of the association and their retail partners. However, it’s vital that the association demonstrate clear and tangible value to those members. We believe that we are doing this better than at any time in recent history, with an active organisation supported by reliable service providers and skills.
The committee has pursued as a strategy the re-establishment of an association that members can gain notable benefits from. We have pursued an agenda that required the association to invest for the future. A loss this year followed a surplus last year, reflects the committee’s aim to be most active now in planning future programs. We have invested a lot of resources into planning events and services that will provide value in 2017.
Online we are making an impact in supporting the promotion of our products and the music making message. End user promotion of the industry generally is achieved through our social media channels and online footprint. Sharing members content, creating a network from our members’ online activity, growing exponentially the reach of our messaging. Our online marketing and messaging is being selectively grown by targeted campaigns using social media.
End user promotion via what have again become successful events like the The Melbourne Guitar Show are encouraging. They give us some insights that our core market is getting older, but it’s a good market to have. Our challenge is to keep live music making upper most in the mature adults of tomorrow!
We have worked with member stores in developing video resources promoting the value of Your Local Music Store. We’ve developed advertising pieces featuring music celebs and we are currently plotting the social media campaign to go with it.
The AMA has consulted broadly with the membership and will in 2017 present an industry conference to deliver more training and professional development opportunities. There were clear messages from this consultation which said that too few wholesalers can find value in a ‘trade show’ but will find value in face-to-face meeting time with retailers combined with professional development for their staff. Retailers too, have expressed a strong desire for training opportunities.
Meaningful connections with our international partners, NAMM, MIA UK, and many other international trade associations, has meant that the AMA has been able to work closely with, and be funded by, the NAMM Foundation for our ‘From Schools to Community’ Initiative.
We continue to invest in our nominated core activities. If you are reliably informed about your own market you are better equipped to do business here and overseas. Our statistics and market reports are a reliable source of this information and we work continuously to try and improve this data and the way it is interpreted.
As we head toward the end of another financial year, and a federal election, it is interesting to reflect on the mixed messages facing the industry in 2016. While retail trade figures are still weak, many stores have reported strong outcomes. Margins and cash flow remain under strong pressure from discounting, online sales and the increasing costs of doing business in Australia, but we are a resilient industry that invariably finds solutions to our shared problems. Unfortunately, not all businesses will survive this period of change, but those that do will no doubt be stronger and better prepared for the future. Your AMA Exec Committee firmly believes that some activity in the marketplace is what we best be doing in the industry’s interests. With that in mind we are heading fast towards our second Melbourne Guitar Show, and planning is going well. It is good to see the show being so well supported by the industry at a time when promotional activity is critically important. We have been active in laying the groundwork for further market development with several pilot programs being conducted under the Young Warriors banner. These programs are aimed at providing youth with various opportunities to make music in a mentored environment, in after school settings and in support of mental illness recovery. Our partnership with the NAMM Foundation has been crucial to these developments.
Behind the scenes, the AMA has been working with the Soundhouse Music Alliance in order that we formalize a partnership so that our industry has its own charity, focused on a shared mission. This is an important step for us to have an entity that is separate to the ‘commercial’ side of an association’s activities. This Alliance with the industry, will see us have the ability to attract contributions from donors that are fully tax deductible, and that further our aims of creating programs that improve access to music making.
The 2015 Market Report has been completed and is now online. It’s an interesting report given the reported business environment, with strong gains in the value of the industry. Whether this positive result provides a good platform from which growth will result remains to be seen.
Brendan Callinan, President
I’m writing this on the eve of traveling to the Frankfurt Musikmesse. This is a show that will look radically different in 2016 as the organisers take it in a new consumer-centric direction, focusing on creating an environment where the end user can experience music and music products in a way that transcends what individual retailers can offer, no matter how large. The great hope is that this increased excitement, awareness and education than translates back to additional sales in music shops in the months and years ahead.
The AMA took a similar approach last year, moving away from a show format (AMAC) aimed at creating a business and trade environment, to the Melbourne Guitar Show model that brings end users, suppliers, manufacturers and retailers together in a dynamic and energetic way. We will build on that success again in 2016 and then look to expand the concept into other product categories and locations in 2017. This is no small undertaking for an operation as lean as the AMA, but it is one that we believe can help generate participation and growth and hopefully play a small part in the necessary evolution our industry needs to face off to the future. This is essentially why the AMA exists – to do those things that cannot be undertaken by individual businesses but that will ultimately benefit all. Having said that, I also believe that the AMA needs to create a forum for industry leaders to come together and discuss and workshop the collective challenges we all face in modernising our approach to business, particularly as the millennials take over from the baby boomers as the dominant consumer group in our space. This is one project your committee are currently working on so, as usual, if you have ideas you want tabled, please contact myself, Rob or any of the committee members. This is an organisation of members for members and your voices are needed to make us all stronger.
Well, here we are almost two months into 2016, proving that the pace of life and business shows no signs of letting up. The frenzy of Christmas is already a distant memory, but it is worth noting that the ABS had December retail sales growing at a solid 4%. Hopefully you enjoyed a piece of that in your business.
The AMA is already off to a flying start with the announcement to members last week of the next Melbourne Guitar Show, with new floor plans and a preferential booking period for the August show. The committee has listened closely to feedback from last year’s event and have made a number of improvements, including a dedicated acoustic only floor on the first level. While this show proved a great standalone success in 2015, it is important for members to understand that it is also providing a blueprint for your association to expand it to other cities and other categories in the years ahead.
Rob Walker represented the AMA at NAMM this year, further cementing the already strong relationship we enjoy with NAMM, who have again invited us to apply for NAMM Foundation funding to further our ‘From School to Community’ project. They are helping us develop programs that use music in after-school, local government settings and music therapy to keep students of all ages playing via recreational music. In particular, we want to develop stronger links to these program for member retailers. We also saw great attendance from members and associates at our annual NAMM get together, hosted by NAMM Chairman Mark Goff.
As I ease into my second stint as AMA President (after a very long hiatus), I have asked the committee to focus on a few key things – growing the market through greater participation in music, providing training and support programs to improve the skills of our member businesses and to help equip them for a rapidly changing world, and to provide our retail members with stronger connections to end users through promotions, programs, events and advocacy.
Most importantly, while the Association and I all working for the greater good of our industry, it is the paying AMA members that I want to see really benefit from our efforts. Through your engagement you make our activities possible and I want every AMA member to see a tangible return from that investment.
Recent Committee Updates
While Christmas is a great time for personal reflection, in a business sense it is all about looking forward to the year ahead and putting the wheels in motion for achieving lofty goals. At the recent industry get together following the associations AGM, I had the opportunity to talk with members about what is important to them in the current climate. The answers invariably revolved around common themes – how do I connect with more customers; where can I access specialty training for myself and my staff; how can the association better support the core MI channel?
The good news is that your association is well progressed on ideas and plans for 2016 that directly address these needs. Early next year we will unveil plans to provide members with access to highly targeted training programs around digital marketing and internet trade. We will build on the success of the Melbourne Guitar Show with another event that brings consumers and traders together in an exciting and engaging way but also provides more links for the broader industry to connect, including the relaunch of National Guitar Month. We have a blueprint to take consumer shows into other cities and other product categories. It will be a busy and exciting year and I hope it’s one that brings new growth and prosperity to our members.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many members who have contacted me since taking over the Presidents chair, be it expressions of support or ideas and suggestions. I really hope that we can galvanise the industry and take it forward in 2016.
I’m sure the committee join me in wishing the members, and all that work in the industry, Christmas greetings and health and prosperity in 2016.
Brendan Callinan Elected President for 2015 – 16
The association is pleased to announce that the MD of Roland, Brendan Callinan was elected president following the AGM. BC comes to this position with considerable experience as a past-president, and long-time committee member. He has worked at Roland for 25 years, and first served on the committee in 2002 playing his part in the association’s work to develop the industry and its market. At a crucial time in the industry’s history, his experience and passion for music products will go a long way towards the association being a positive contributor to music products businesses nationwide.
Brendan said; “After taking several years off from the AMA committee, I returned in 2013 believing that the rapid change impacting our industry would be best addressed by a cohesive, collegiate approach to business. The last two years have reinforced my belief that we are always stronger and more successful working together to solve shared problems, than in isolation. I have been privileged to watch the efforts of Rob Walker, Tony Burn and my fellow committee members rebuild, rejuvenate and repurpose the AMA towards relevance in today’s environment. I see the next few years as critical to our industry and association. The opportunity for businesses who understand the shifting landscape and develop quick and creative responses, is unparalleled in our recent history. I want the Australian MI industry to be at the forefront of that movement. I see our agenda as increasing the tangible value proposition of AMA membership, providing strong connections to consumers for AMA members and building revenues that can, once again, allow us to invest in programs that engage the community in active music making. To that end I am happy to hear from any AMA member who has ideas on how this can be achieved”.
Craig Johnston was again elected Treasurer and continues his excellent (and voluntary) work in oversight of the members’ finances.
Ever noticed how music products feature in other industry ads?
Currently there’s the Hyundai Small but Epic TV campaign featuring Ben Marshall shredding on a uke.
One of my past favourites is ANZ TV ad where the school girl is practising trombone but the slide is hitting the wall because the room is so small ”need more space?”
Then there’s the Tintern Grammar add gracing Eastlink in Melbourne showing a student playing a classical guitar with the slogan “I want to put a dint in the world”.
There are many others, the point being that when a mainstream industry like car manufacturers or banks or schools use our products, they give us much more exposure than we would ever achieve.
Of course they’re not trying to sell our gear but it’s interesting how music making features in the aspirational theme of their ads.
Tintern’s theme is obvious – your child will get the best well rounded education and that includes music and arts.
ANZ are trying to sell you a home loan so that you can extend or buy a new house that will give your kids the room they need to pursue noisy but educational things like playing an instrument. Any self-respecting parent would want to be in the position to do that.
Hyundai’s ad is another twist on size doesn’t matter. Our small car is better equipped and more fun than the gas guzzler you have now. The allusion to music being that someone cool like a musician would buy this.
In any case music making is still seen as an aspirational activity by much larger industries and when it comes to trying to connect with people’s hope and dreams, our product can figure highly.
So if we’re being swamped by the mundane issues of just making a living in the music industry and the ever changing goal posts that business throws at us, it might be worth remembering that there’s an element of what we do that’s both magnetic and enigmatic to the average person.
If we can get rid of the enigma that would be great – for all of us.
All the best,
Latest Committee News September 2015
The AMA executive committee took a couple of significant directions as a result of its September quarterly meeting.
AMA re-appoints Rob Walker as CEO
The AMA executive committee appointed Rob to continue the work that commenced in 2013 for a further two years. AMA president Tony Burn said “This appointment was based on key KPI’s being achieved in Rob’s first two years. In Rob’s time as CEO he has organised two successful AMAC’s, executed the highly popular Melbourne Guitar Show, developed three new industry websites, and maintained our core services for members.” He added, “We have also consolidated our partnership with the NAMM Foundation and achieved program funding again this year. We have a plan and we are looking forward to the next two years, as the AMA further supports the industry.”
Melbourne Guitar Show back in 2016
After the success of the MGS, the committee has resolved to go again in 2016. The Caulfield Racecourse has been booked again for early August 5 – 7 and the show committee will be looking at this years’ experience and seek to improve the concept. Nearly 5,000 people enjoyed a weekend of product and performance and we think there is even more potential if we get more engagement from the industry next year.
Our post show exhibitor survey was emphatic with over 90% of our patrons thinking the show was great! ‘The industry received a well-overdue boost in confidence from the positive results of the show”, said AMA president, Tony Burn
View from the Top August 2015, From Tony Burn, AMA President
Let’s go on with the show…..
It is just over a week since we convened at the Caulfield Racecourse, 6km from the CBD, for the Melbourne Guitar Show.
From an idea formed over the committee room table around a year ago and as a result of nine months hard planning, we had a show – or did we?
Despite a heralded return and success of AMAC 2013 we found numbers dwindled by about 20% in 2014 for a number of reasons. Interest in the concept seemed to have waned – do we risk going again and see interest wane further? What could we do differently?
The committee made the bold decision to go down the path of promoting to the end user once again and opened the event to all members, retail and wholesale in a collaborative spirit. We all felt the time was right to provide some promotion to the consumer to be proactive in stimulating our market.
The guitar show concept has continued to work here and overseas for many years. The question the committee had to answer was, “did the Australian public still want to attend this kind of show?”.
The answer was a resounding yes.
How did we brand the show?
Australian Musician is the association’s strongest public brand and it was decided that the show should belong to the Magazine. Again the concept of targeted marketing was vital and the best value. The show brings attention to the magazine and vice versa.
So the AMA marketing machine went into full swing and the central platform of Australian Musician provided the articles and videos promoting the show and the magazine.
The week before the show we had over 50,000 page views from nearly 20,000 unique visitors on the Australian Musician site. 1,000 people on Facebook saying they were going and 500 tickets sold.
Still we didn’t know if we had a show on our hands and that we could pay the bills.
I think it was about an hour in on the first day before I realised it would be hard to screw this up.
We had great attendance, great exhibitors and great clinicians. Bands were playing outside and in, the overpriced coffee was flowing and I could see we were in for a big show.
In the end we had 4,581 participants and hundreds more made a return visit on the Sunday. They were also buying, and exhibitors have reported seeing many customers in the week or so following that they had not seen before.
So now we have some decisions to make:
- Same time, same place and go for a bigger show?
- Events to other capital cities?
- What can we do differently to increase visitor and patron numbers?
- How do we/should we provide the industry with a business forum for suppliers and retailers? Read – do we need ‘trade events’ like AMAC? Like public shows it may prove cyclical, but we still must consider this.
The Exec Committee meets early September to thrash out our future plans. These include by the way development of pilot recreational music making programs in school and community to invest our NAMM Foundation grant for 15-16.
As always we’ll keep members posted on the plans for next year and if you have any comments or suggestions please let your preferred committee member know or contact me or Rob. For more on the show here’s the blog http://www.australianmusician.com.au/melbourne-guitar-show-news/
For Pony Music’s time lapse video of the show from their booth https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pony-Music/128455264493?fref=ts
Check out some of the exhibitor’s responses, including my own, to their Melbourne Guitar Show experience
Finally I’d like to thank Rob (without whom this couldn’t have happened), Glenys, Richard, Greg, Dom (who donated his time), Shannon and all the exhibitors and staff for their involvement.
All the best,
Tony Burn, President
President’s View from the Top – April 2015
This year has started with a bang both for the industry and the Association. The feedback from retail and wholesale has tended positive overall.
There has been some slowdown over recent weeks as exchange rates affect local pricing on US product but for the most part our industry has done well.
Our 2014 Statistics and Market Report will soon be released in the members only section of the AMA website – an encouraging 4% lift in value and over 10% in units represents the best result in three years. This is also reflected in the US stats. <LINK>
We have launched the Melbourne Guitar Show under the banner of Australian Musician. we have positioned Australian Musician our primary end-user promotional vehicle, online. It is gaining momentum all the time and the guitar show is a great use of Australian Musician’s reach and the quality of its reader base. At the time of writing this around 50% of the space has been sold. This will be a great event covering all aspects of guitar from playing, manufacturing, teaching, performance and much more. <LINK>http://www.australianmusician.com.au/melbourne-guitar-show/
In addition to the show Australian Musician is providing an unprecedented wealth of material including archives of previous issues as well as video channels talking to local and international musicians. We’re also broadening the horizons of the publication to cover more sectors of the market, especially traditional instruments. And we are promoting members’ products. Check it out here – http://www.australianmusician.com.au/
On the government relations front (training in particular) we have successfully lobbied for the reinstatement of a CERT IV qualification in Musical Instrument Making and Repair. The federal government withdrew funding but the Victorian State Government has funded a new qualification. Industry representatives, with our CEO chairing the task force, have worked with the government to design a course that can become a national qualification and be applied to various instruments, although the current course is focused on guitar. The aim is to provide a recognised qualification that enhances employment opportunities within the industry. This is great news for manufacturers and technicians who provide employment but also a great way for retail staff to improve their skills base and value add for employers. <LINK>
NAMM this year was a record event and we are proud to say that our Executive Officer, Rob Walker was asked to chair an international forum of global music associations. NAMM CEO, Joe Lamond also hosted a gathering of Australian suppliers and retailers which was attended by the NAMM Chairman and executive committee. There’s some happy snaps here http://www.australianmusician.com.au/namm-2015-aussie-delegation/
When you hear what’s going on around the world it makes you realise once again how strong and resilient the Australian music industry is and how lucky we are to have such a committed and proactive Music Association.
In addition we have made a grant submission to the NAMM Foundation for two new programs to expand music making both in schools and in the wider community.
New Community Service Announcements released by NAMM are in this Enews and online. <LINK> http://www.australianmusic.asn.au/namm-foundation-release-new-public-service-announcements/
On the subject of promoting music making I the community we are pleased to announce new Weekend Warriors rounds:
- KC’s Rock Shop – Boronia, VIC
- GH Music – Flemington, VIC
- Muso’s Corner – Newcastle, NSW
- Allans + Billy Hyde – Alexandria NSW
- Holden Hill Music – Holden Hill – SA
The value of this programme is beyond doubt and easier than ever to set up. Talk to Rob to find out more – <LINK> – www.weekendwarriors.org.au
So as you can see, there’s been a lot of activity going on behind the scenes and now you can see the benefits.
If you would like to know more about any of these subjects then please contact Rob or myself.
If you like to have a rant – just call me – Rob’s too busy J
All the best
February 2015 Meeting Notes
|February 17, 2015 The committee met last week and considered a solid agenda, including final planning for the Melbourne Guitar Show, The Low Value Threshold on GST, both featured in this newsletter.The focus of our Grants Application to the NAMM Foundation for 2015-16 was another important consideration with the committee opting for a ‘From School to Community’ focus where opportunities for music making were developed in the community through recreational music making programsThe Benchmarking project was further discussed in the light of the relatively few responses received from the initial call for expressions of interest. The committee deferred the issue pending further consultation with members on describing the confidential process.ABS Industry import statistics was also on the agenda with concern being expressed over the blurring of the Digital Piano reporting, seemingly being skewed by incorrect category reporting. It was agreed that the key importers would be consulted in an effort to make some real comparisons of the 2014 stats against actual imports.
Also pending an ABS inquiry, Digital Drums awaits reclassification into its own code. Further information as it comes to hand.
Longer term, the committee chose to keep its options open regarding trade events this year, seeking to prioritise our promotion to the end user. Having said that AMAC is scheduled for 2016 at Jupiters from August 27 – 28
The committee approved some news memberships too, with Jade MC Australia, The Music Bus and Muso’s Corner joining up to support the efforts of the group.