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July 2020
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times
High-end audio sales skyrocket during COVID-19.
Editorial By Steven R. Rochlin

 

It Was The Best Of Times It Was The Worst Of Times High-end audio sales skyrocket during COVID-19.

 

  We can all agree that 2020 has been an eventful year, yet one without virtually any high-end audio events! Many companies worldwide joined together with online videos, yet none of us met in person. Sales for many audiophile companies have increased dramatically during 2020, yet it was not due to physical shows some claim are a must. Unemployment for millions of workers globally is at record highs, yet there's an abundance of currency flowing thanks to government and Central Bank intervention.

 

An Eventful Year
All of us can agree that many events during 2020 were completely unexpected. COVID-19 has hurt, and sadly killed, many people. Pandemics have a way of reminding us all how truly fragile the human species is. This situation has also brought many of us together, in concert, to sing the praises of music. An abundance of musicians have been streaming live concerts and special one-off performances to help find a cure for this deadly disease. Enjoy the Music.com did our part as we streamed many hours of live music from the Blues Masters At The Crossroads concert on our Facebook page (click the Video tab). It is this coming together in unison that also brought about a variety of alternatives including online videos, special online features such as Enjoy the Music.com's 10 Questions, and too many other great efforts by many within the industry. And speaking of working together....

 

It Was The Best Of Times It Was The Worst Of Times High-end audio sales skyrocket during COVID-19.

 

The Audio Industry Alliance
Just a few weeks ago the Audio Industry Alliance was announced by Michel Plante.

Dear Colleague,

My name is Michel Plante and I fell in love with hi-fi before I was even allowed to vote. I was so smitten by it that I promised myself that for the rest of my life I'd work in the audio industry. And I have — in retail, representation and distribution. I was a store manager, a director of sales and marketing for major distributors, and a business consultant. And now, in partnership with my tireless wife and with the support of an incredible team of hard workers, I'm also an audio show organizer. As you can probably guess, organizing major shows in large venues is not for the faint-hearted, but I feel compelled to do it because I'm committed to the audio industry — I want to help it succeed.

I know that the audio business isn't what it was in its heyday. From people in every sector, I hear the same concerns: Clientele is aging. Sales are stagnant. Profits are thinning. Our market is shrinking as it becomes harder to convert new customers. People don't listen to music seriously anymore. Yet, my faith in our product is unshakable.

The audio hobby is fun! It's rewarding! And I think it safe to say that those who enjoy listening to music would rather do so in good sound over bad if given a choice. So why aren't we doing better? Simple: we're not doing enough to win over the hearts and minds of today's music lover.

To help combat this situation, I founded in October 2019 The Audio Industry Alliance, a non-profit audio-appreciation incubator whose mandate is to maximize the use of social media to revitalize our industry and improve the personal fortunes of every one of us, from manufacturer, to street-level store, to audio magazine and audio show. Our organization believes firmly in the adage that a rising tide lifts all boats.

The best news I can give you is this: thanks to social media, with our strategy our industry now has the opportunity to reach more — millions more — music listeners than it ever could. This is exciting stuff.

I look forward to unveiling the entire project with you, in my follow-up email, next week.... STAY TUNED!

Please share this message.

Best,

Michel Plante
Founder & CEO
AudionIdustryAlliance.org

 

It Was The Best Of Times It Was The Worst Of Times High-end audio sales skyrocket during COVID-19.

 

Sales Reach A Fever Pitch
Hmmm… perhaps that's not the best-chosen header considering CV-19. Still, there's no doubt many high-end audio companies have been experiencing tremendous growth during 2020. Over the past few months, I've enjoyed wonderful conversations with many manufacturers and distributors globally. Overall, a majority of companies are reporting record sales growth. As a multitude of music lovers are on Staycation 2020, they have pushed forward with purchasing new gear and component upgrades. It not only brings about a more joyous musical experience into your life, it also gave us something to do while on Staycation. The same goes for tweaking your system, or dare we admit to finally having the time to clean cable contacts and straighten out the snake pit of wires so they are more organized. Don't forget to secure your tonearm, and then dust under your turntable. Phono cartridges are fragile!

While many of us miss attending physical shows, it is interesting how the lack of these events has not slowed down procuring the high-end audio equipment you've desired. Manufacturers and distributors generally invest tens of thousands of Dollars / Euro into these events, and that refunded currency (when not 'disappeared' for a few years without the benefit of interest) brings in a newfound ability to invest into product research and development, production, advertising, and other matters that benefit their company. It also proves the strength of our industry in that no matter what Mother Nature, or a dangerous government lab, may throw at us we are still here enjoying music to the fullest!

 

 

It Was The Best Of Times It Was The Worst Of Times High-end audio sales skyrocket during COVID-19.

 

A Divergence Of Economy
We all recognize the very real strife with high unemployment, yet we all know luxury high-fidelity audio gear is something the more well-to-do can afford. With an abundance of currency flowing at an unprecedented rate, thanks to government and Central Bank interventions, the velocity of these funds are finding their way to purchase many incredible music systems. Never in my lifetime would I have imagined the trillions of Dollars / Euro being unleashed by central planners and government officials. The sheer magnitude of their efforts is greatly helping to keep economies afloat, and in-turn continuing the flourishing of our high-end audio community.

Here are just two examples of many: One distributor was busy installing an over $500,000 system, while one manufacturer I spoke with sold out of all his stock for 2020! You see, many manufacturers order parts and bits in bulk for a year's worth of production, and in June he had already sold out his entire 2020 stock and was rushing to order more pieces to build more products. This is a glorious 'problem' to have.

 

It Was The Best Of Times It Was The Worst Of Times High-end audio sales skyrocket during COVID-19.

 

We All Came Together
Online videos, more reviews, special think pieces, and Enjoy the Music.com's very own 10 Questions were ways we worked together to benefit us all. We are working both harder and smarter! I'd like to humbly thank everyone who has done an amazing job finding new ways to reach their fans. We have been hiring out for special one-off articles by leading industry experts, posted more Lifestyle & Design features, and so very much more. The many e-mails I've been receiving about the record number of articles have not gone unnoticed.

All this additional work has been my pleasure, if a bit taxing on my personal life and marriage to the most amazing Muse / wife Heather. Please allow me a moment to thank my Muse Heather for her unwavering understanding about the many sleepless nights to ensure Enjoy the Music.com has a record number of articles, reviews, think pieces, etc. Please also allow me to humbly thank the many journalists, reviewers, and manufacturers for working together with us to benefit our industry's worldwide readership. Bravo!

 

It Was The Best Of Times It Was The Worst Of Times High-end audio sales skyrocket during COVID-19.

 

The August Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine will officially celebrate our 25th Anniversary! There are many special articles, highlights, and awards planned. We hope you love our efforts so far during 2020, as our readership has grown ~30% thanks to Staycation 2020. We look forward to seeing you back here in August to help us celebrate our very special 25th Anniversary. As always, in the end what really matters is that you...

 

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

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