Berlin, CT (November 20, 2020)—Pro-Audio, MI, lighting and consumer electronics distributor Jam Industries has acquired Berlin, CT-based The Music People, parent company to TMP Pro Distribution and On-Stage Stands Products, making TMP a full subsidiary.
“Over the years, our business has grown steadily and evolved to meet the changing needs of our customers. The next step in our evolution is to synergize with JAM Industries to ensure that On-Stage continues to take innovation to the next level as a premium brand and TMP-Pro continues to provide ease of access to a wide range of brands,” said Sharon Hennessey, co-president of The Music People.
She added, “I have long admired the commitment to supporting the music industry demonstrated by Marty and his team at JAM via dependable product distribution and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work together in support of this great industry. Jim, John, and I are proud that, after 42 wonderful years in business, we are joining a family that shares our dedication to delivering outstanding products and customer service. Our united focus on that goal will drive the strategic growth of our TMP-Pro and On-Stage brands beyond what my father imagined when he started this company.”
John Hennessey, co-president of The Music People, added, “The people who make up our team have always been our most valuable assets and that is not going to change. The most exciting part of becoming a part of JAM is that we will continue to operate as a standalone organization. On-Stage and TMP-Pro customers can still turn to familiar faces for the reliable service they expect and Sharon and I will carry on serving as co-presidents. Our customers are part of our community and their success is our success.”
What is your new position, and what does it entail?
My new position is director of Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) and Remanufacturing at d&b audiotechnik. The position entails operationalizing, communicating and drawing awareness to d&b’s new CPO initiative. As part of the program, customers are given the chance to purchase pre-owned, remanufactured d&b systems. CPO systems come with new energy-saving amplification and electronics, accessories, service, finance options and the same support advantages as when purchasing a new system. This new program is a small but powerful way of delivering premium audio while helping to reduce consumption of raw materials.
How has your background prepared you for your new role?
I have over 30 years of experience in senior management roles in the AV industry. Since the beginning of my career, I have accompanied and designed the commercial market launch of new media technologies and products. This wealth of experience was extremely valuable when developing this new sustainable business model for d&b.
What new marketing initiatives are we likely to see from the company?
As with every product that is manufactured by d&b, all CPO products go through a rigorous quality-control process including a through exterior, mechanical and acoustic check. The exterior check includes a full system inspection to confirm there is no damage, then all foam and seals are replaced and the exterior is repainted with the original d&b top coat. In the mechanical inspection, we check pins, rigging, links, wheels, latches, frames and chains for any damage, with everything tested and replaced where necessary. Finally, the CPO program product goes through the same rigorous frequency and impedance checks as new systems, and is subject to a listening test for performance qualities. CPO systems also come with a two-year warranty, and a five-year factory warranty to all new parts.
What are your short- and long-term goals?
Our short-term goal is to make our partners and customers aware of our CPO initiative and its benefits. Not only can these systems significantly reduce our carbon footprint and the consumption of raw materials, but they can also save customers money and extend the product’s life even further.
Our long-term goal is, of course, to make a lasting, positive impact on our environment. At d&b, we’re really conscious of the impact that the entertainment industry in particular has on the environment. Our customers, partners and artists alike recognize just how important is it that we protect the planet and operate in a sustainable way. Everyone has a part to play in “greening” the entertainment industry, and while the industry as a whole has a long way to go to be more sustainable, it is reassuring to see leaders in the entertainment industry beginning to voice their concerns.
What is the greatest challenge you face?
When you look at the overall ecological impact of our industry, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the huge task that lies ahead. We cannot let the enormity of the challenge deter us. While the challenge can seem difficult, it is important that we continue to find ways and take the necessary steps to reduce our carbon footprint. We still have a long way to go to ensure that touring and festivals are more environmentally friendly, but we should remember that small steps can have a big impact.
There is a misconception from the organizational and the customer side that sustainability means expense, but our studies concluded that remanufacturing not only significantly reduces ecological footprint, but it also makes products economically very attractive!
New York, NY (November 17, 2020)—A giant among recording engineers, Bruce Swedien died peacefully November 16 at the age of 86. Over the course of a 65-year career in engineering and production, Swedien was nominated for 13 Grammy Awards and received five, including for his work with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones on 1982’s Thriller, the top-selling album of all-time with an estimated 66 million copies sold.
Jackson and Jones were far from the only major names that Swedien recorded, however. That list, reading like a Who’s Who of 20th Century popular music, includes—to name only a few—Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole, Paul McCartney, Curtis Mayfield, Sergio Mendes, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, George Benson, Dinah Washington, Tommy Dorsey, Herb Alpert, Roberta Flack, Rufus & Chaka Kahn, LL Kool J, the Smothers Brothers, Andrew Previn, James Ingram, Eydie Gorme, Joe Williams, Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Herbie Hancock, Lionel Hampton, Lena Horne, Missing Persons, Jimmy Reed, Patti Austin, Sarah Vaughn, Donna Summer, David Hasselhoff and many others.
Swedien’s recording philosophy was simple, as he told Pro Sound News in 2014: “The top thing is: Music first. Everybody thinks that you listen, that you learn how to make records by listening to records, but you don’t. You have to go out and hear live music in a good acoustic situation, and from there, you build a benchmark for your ear…. You can’t learn how to make records by listening to other people’s records, because then you’ll never be able to express yourself. You’ll always have that other thing; it will be too much of an influence.”
While Swedien had his own influences and mentors in the studio, he found his own way over the course of a considerable career. Born in Minneapolis, MN on April 19, 1934, Swedien began working in local basement studios while still in high school, and married his life-long companion, Beatrice Anderson, not long after graduation. Although he started his own recording studio at age 19 by converting a former movie theater into a facility, he moved with his wife and three kids in 1957 to Chicago to work at RCA Victor recording studios, before joining Bill Putnam’s legendary Universal Recording the following year as a staff engineer.
It was during that time that he truly came into his own as an engineer, he told PSN: “My mentor was Bill Putnam in Chicago. He was marvelous. [Soon] I was recording all the big bands at that point in time: Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Duke Ellington—yeah, everybody.” During his time there, in 1962, Swedien garnered his first Grammy nomination, for engineering Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ evergreen single, “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
It was also during that time that he befriended Jones while the latter was the president of Mercury Records; it was the start of a working and personal friendship that would last the rest of his life. After going independent in 1969, Swedien found himself usually engineering in New York or Los Angeles, and eventually moved to L.A. in 1975. When Jones took on the role of music supervisor for the 1978 movie adaptation of the Broadway musical The Wiz, he recruited Swedien to record the soundtrack with him, marking the first time the pair worked with Michael Jackson, who starred in the film. While the picture flopped, the three soon reunited to record Jackson’s 1979 hit album, Off The Wall, which had four top-10 hits and ultimately sold over 20 million copies. They would go on to create 1982’s Thriller, 1987’s Bad and 1992’s Dangerous, and Swedien won engineering Grammys for all three albums. He additionally nabbed Grammys for his work on two of Jones’ own projects—1990’s Back on the Block and 1996’s Q’s Jook Joint.
Swedien moved to New York in 1994, and then later to Florida. In the 2000s, he wrote three books that extensively detailed his working methods and philosophy behind recording—2004’s Make Mine Music; 2009’s In the Studio with Michael Jackson; and 2013’s The Bruce Swedien Recording Method—and also began teaching master classes around the world with his “In the Studio with Bruce Swedien” workshops. During his career, he was additionally awarded 10 Grammy certificates and two ASCAP Composer Awards, and was also nominated for five TEC Awards. His passing on November 16, 2020 was announced on Facebook by his daughter Roberta, who paid tribute to her father as having had “A long life full of love, great music, big boats and a beautiful marriage. We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone.”
London, UK (November 11, 2020)—Shure has made a strategic investment in Finnish software company Ab Wavemark Oy, a software house centered around solutions for theater, broadcast, and content streaming applications.
In addition to products such as Wavetool and WTAutomixer, Wavemark has recently expanded its software portfolio into streaming applications with the debut of WTAutomixer, a multichannel gain sharing automixer plug-in that can be inserted to almost any DAW, enabling auto-mixing for uses like podcasting, remote learning and house of worship services.
Wavemark software has been used in conjunction with several high-profile theater applications using Shure Axient Digital Wireless Systems. Shure itself is no stranger to software solutions, as its offerings include Wireless Workbench for live events, as well as Designer, SystemOn, and its new IntelliMix Room Audio Processing Software for integrated systems.
“This move reinforces our commitment to the evolving needs of the pro audio and events industries,” said Brian Woodland, vice president, Global Business Development, Shure. “Both Shure and Wavemark have established strong relationships in the industry by understanding user workflows. Leveraging this mutual success, we will further support the growth in wireless system scale and complexity, help customers navigate the challenges of congested RF spectrum, while enabling advanced remote control, monitoring, and system management tools.”
“We are very proud of this collaborative approach with Shure,” said Timo Liski, commercial director at Wavemark. “The ability to share ideas and leverage synergies around software will be beneficial to customers in the audio industry.”
What is your new position, and what does it entail?
My new position is national sales manager, which oversees Mackie’s independent dealer and distributor partners within North America. I work directly with our sales team, which is structured with regional sales managers and account managers. Our shared goal is to drive sales and expand into new markets using best practices.
How has your background prepared you for your new role?
Being a guitar player since age 13, I studied audio recording as a major in college, earning a B.A. degree. This provided me an understanding of studio gear and signal flow. After playing in bands and teaching guitar lessons, that path led me to start in pro audio sales at a major MI retail chain, where I became audio department manager. Deciding to expand my horizons, I entered the manufacturers’ rep world, holding sales positions for several major industry brands and independent rep firms over a span of two decades. Being located between the NYC metro and Mid-Atlantic regions, high-revenue responsibilities have always been a staple of my career. Most recently, I was Eastern regional sales manager for Mackie, with responsibility for half the United States and Canada. I was always mentored along the way by great sales managers, and I bring that experience with me.
What new marketing initiatives are we likely to see from the company?
Our marketing efforts moved swiftly to create content covering our new product lines, tech support and live webinars. We also began a podcast series, The Ins & Outs with Mackie, which brings us closer to our users. Another great tool we created specifically for our dealer base is Mackie U, where a salesperson can watch a video presentation of a product category and complete questions to become Mackie-certified.
What are your short- and long-term goals?
I’m used to being in fast-paced business environments, so short- and long-term goals are almost the same for me. I have a lot of ideas ready to go and constantly implement company initiatives, one of which is entering the consumer electronics market with our new in-demand home/recording products such as multimedia monitors, USB mics, interfaces and headphones.
The greatest challenge our sales team currently faces, not uncommon during COVID-19, is connecting with our dealer partners and consumers in new virtual ways—our team members are accustomed to conducting meetings and product demos/trainings in person. Mackie was well-positioned to supply the market with our new releases from NAMM 2020, where we released recording and podcasting products that professionals, novices, hobbyist, students, schools (and even us Mackoids) use every day to meet virtually. I tell the team, “Every virtual call we make using Mackie gear is a demo!”
Meyer Sound has announced the promotion of four key staff members, each receiving a broader scope of responsibilities. Tim Boot has been named director of global marketing, taking on product management, marketing, communications and education on a worldwide basis. John McMahon has been promoted to senior vice president, assuming a range of company-wide executive responsibilities while also working with Meyer Sound’s founders, president and CEO John Meyer and executive vice president Helen Meyer. Marc Chutczer has become vice president of R&D, assuming coordinated leadership of all Meyer Sound R&D teams. Mike Ulrich has been appointed vice president of operations, taking charge of all aspects of manufacturing, purchasing, quality control and test engineering.
iZotope has added Jean-Marc Jot, Ph.D., as vice president of research and chief scientist, a position in which he will lead the company’s efforts in advanced scientific research, expanding and deepening iZotope’s investigations into applications of machine learning and digital signal processing technology for audio. He joins the company from Magic Leap, where most recently he was vice president and head of audio and media. He previously served as senior vice president and head of research and development at DTS, as well as research fellow at Creative Labs and research scientist at IRCAM.
Iron Mountain Entertainment Services has appointed Beth Greve director and global head of sales. Greve is responsible for the acquisition, retention and growth of new business opportunities. She oversees global sales and account management teams and partners closely with the marketing team to maximize relationships within the media and entertainment industries. Greve was chief commercial officer at GoldieBlox; chief commercial officer for the World Surf League; senior vice president of digital at Discovery Networks; chief revenue and partnerships officer for AwesomenessTV; and head of Entertainment Content West, Business Development at YouTube.
Brad Nelms has been named sales director of Solotech’s Las Vegas office, where he will lead the Las Vegas sales team with the objective of establishing Solotech’s business position and growing revenue and market share in the region. He will oversee the development of key existing accounts in the live performance and entertainment sectors while ensuring a diversification strategy to penetrate other market segments. Nelms brings with him 15 years of experience in sales management and operations, mainly at ACT Lighting, VER and 4 Wall Entertainment.
New York, NY (November 5, 2020)—Two weeks after a massive three-day fire ravaged the Nobeoka City, China factory of semiconductor producer Asahi Kasei Microsystems, pro-audio manufacturers around the world that are dependent on AKM’s high-end audio chips are still looking for information and determining their next steps.
AKM produces a variety of ADCs, DACs, ASRCs and Receivers for numerous pro-audio and high-end consumer audiophile manufacturers, including Solid State Logic, TASCAM, miniDSP, Merging Technologies, SPL of Germany, Focusrite, RME, Schitt Audio, SMSL, Monoprice and others. All of AKM’s audio-related chips were produced at the now-closed factory.
That all of AKM’s audio-related manufacturing could be wiped out in one fell swoop blindsided many of its customers. “We were unaware that only one facility manufactured the AKM DACs and ADCs—that shows how small our industry really is,” said Hermann Gier, managing partner of SPL of Germany. AKM officials have said publicly they hope to be operational again in six months, and the company is expected to engage independent fabrication houses in an effort to keep production going, but nothing concrete has been announced.
“I still have close to zero information as far as the AKM prognosis is concerned,” said Chris Hollebone, sales and marketing manager at Merging Technologies. “As far as we are concerned, we are taking stock, literally, over the weekend and trying to ascertain whether an order that was about to be delivered was destroyed in the fire or might still make it…. We have enough parts in-house to keep us going for a while, but not knowing when any production might start may cause us headaches down the line. It is a bit like COVID-19—very hard to predict!”
Paul Youngblood, director of Product Marketing at TASCAM, admitted “This has all happened so fast that all we can say is we are still in the process of analyzing the situation.” A spokesperson for RME echoed that sentiment, stating that company was “currently still ascertaining information, and it’s too early for them to comment.”
SPL of Germany’s Gier noted that his company was “fortunately…in a comfortable position,” adding that while it uses AKM converters in a number of products, including its Crimson, Madison, Phonitor range of headphone amps, and the new Marc One interface, among others, SPL has stocks in-house that it estimates will last between six months and a year, depending on the product.
That hasn’t stopped some from trying to capitalize on the situation, however. Gier noted, “It is unfortunate that stock brokers take advantage of situations like this, making it increasingly worse by charging ridiculous prices for remaining parts. We already rejected various unethical offers; now it looks unlikely that our industry can sustain production and keep the prices stable.”
For now, the pro-audio industry awaits news from AKM.
Garden City, ID (November 5, 2020)—Two suspects were arrested Wednesday in connection with a November 1 burglary of $35,000 in gear, instruments and tools from Audio Lab Recording Studio. Most of the stolen items were returned to the Garden City, ID facility.
Following a tip, police arrived at a home on East 40th Street at 11 am and found Jason Daniels, 30, and Amanda Peden, 37, in possession of stolen goods from the heist. Currently being held in Ada County Jail, the pair are expected to be arraigned later today.
Both Daniels and Peden already had outstanding warrants out for them, so while each was charged for the Audio Lab burglary with felony possession of stolen property, they were also separately charged with felony probation violation warrants, and Peden additionally faces warrant charges of felony grand theft and burglary, as well as four misdemeanor charges of petit theft and an additional misdemeanor for commercial burglary.
In a press statement, Lt. Tom Patterson of the Garden City Police Department noted, “The case investigators were excited to be able to return most of the missing property to the victim so quickly. Much of the property had great sentimental value to the victim, which made them irreplaceable. This case is a great example of the police working with the victim to bring the case to a successful conclusion.”
Audio Labs announced the successful recovery of the stolen items on its Facebook page, stating, “We have great news! We want to thank each and every one of you for sharing our posts and spreading this news far and wide. It contributed 100% to the recovery of most of our items. We are lucky to have you all in our family! Also the Garden City Police Department were AMAZING. We can not say enough about how wonderful they were to us during this time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!! Justice prevails!”
Some of recording equipment stolen from Audio Lab included a Neumann TLM 49 LDC microphone, a Focusrite ISA One desktop mic preamp and an RCF Evox8 portable PA system. Numerous instruments were also taken, including a ROLI Songmaker keyboard system; numerous guitars including an Epiphone Casino with a Bigsby tailpiece, a 1972 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe and a Line 6 Variax 700 Series; Hohner and Ibanez basses; and a vintage banjo that had belonged to Fulton’s grandfather.
Fulton followed up with Pro Sound News, reporting “we have most of our gear back, including my Epiphone and banjo. Sadly, the 72’ Les Paul Deluxe did not make its way home.”
AV Network Nation, taking place virtually on December 10, has been approved by the AVIXA independent Certification Renewal Committee to provide learning opportunities for CTS holders and others for their continued professional development; the event is worth 4.75 AVIXA Renewal Units (RUs) for CTS, CTS-D, and CTS-I holders.
“The CTS program is the marquee certification in the AV industry,” said Tim Albright, founder, AVNation. “The number of CTS RUs available to our attendees drives the point home that we are committed to providing quality AV education in support of that program.”
“The CTS program has been the leading AV professional credential for more than 30 years, and today there are over 13,000 CTS holders around the world,” said David Labuskes, CTS, chief executive officer of AVIXA. “We’re thrilled that the AV Network Nation event has made the commitment to become a CTS renewal unit provider, which will help AV professionals continue to invest in their professional development.”
London, UK (November 3, 2020)—Los-Angeles-based real estate investment firm Hackman Capital Partners (HCP) has agreed to invest £300 million over the next three years to develop Eastbrook Studios London, which will be the U.K. capital’s largest film and TV studio campus.
HCP, which owns Culver Studios in Los Angeles and Silvercup Studios in New York City, signed the deal with Barking and Dagenham Council after the original backer dropped out over concerns regarding the potential impact of Brexit. The project, which has long been touted by its backers as London’s answer to Hollywood, already has planning permission.
The campus is expected to include as many as 12 sound stages, three acres of backlot, offices and ancillary space spread over 500,000 square feet — about two-thirds the area of Pinewood Studios, which is about 20 miles west of central London, where the Star Wars and James Bond franchises are produced. Construction is projected to begin on land formerly occupied by a pharmaceutical factory opposite the Dagenham East Underground station in 2021. The first productions at Eastbrook Studios London are due to start filming by mid-2022, with the campus fully operational by 2023.
According to a statement from the Barking and Dagenham Council, the new studios will be a major boost for the borough, the entertainment industry and the capital, creating an estimated 1,200 jobs, contributing £35M per year to the local economy and inspiring more development into thriving East London.
“Dagenham used to be famous for factories and Fords,” says Councilor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, “but in the future, we will be equally famous for making films. It’s not for the glamour or glory. It’s about bringing in thousands of jobs, providing education and training opportunities for local young people, and giving people hope in these gloomy Covid times.”
More than £3.6 billion was invested into U.K. film and TV productions last year. The coronavirus pandemic has put a serious dent in the business, but analysts estimate that over 85% of productions have returned, mainly in London and the south east of England, bringing employment to more than 100,000 workers.
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, believes the new studio complex will aid in the capital’s bounce back from COVID-19: “We are already seeing that the success of this industry will help our economy to recover from the impact of the pandemic, and these studios will play a key role in our city’s future.”