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April 2013
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
In This Issue....
Doin' The Show Shuffle
Show are great for attendees, yet how many can the industry support?
Article By Steven R. Rochlin


AXPONA 2013  As we enter the busy United States show season, with Munich sneaking its way in early May, have already been hearing grumblings from the industry insiders. Even in this challenging economy we have never had so many audiophile events here in the USA. Of course shows are great fun and bring in a 'new' audience. As an example, the recent Chicago AXPONA event brought high-end audio back to a city that has not seen a show in many years. Of course many events hold their expo at the same location year after year. On a side note, am doing my best to keep Enjoy the Music.com non-political and thus we either became official media partners of all four major USA shows or none. Naturally we earned the former, avoided the later and you'll see exciting live daily coverage each day from every event!

Chester Group's New York Audio Show 2013In this issue we have snuck in coverage of the Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics International (ALMA) Winter Symposium 2013! The ALMA is a is a 51-year-old trade association dedicated to the design, test and manufacture of speakers. Rick Becker just chimed in with his Montreal Salon Son & Image Report 2013 show coverage while in only two weeks my wife and I will be in the city that never sleeps to report on the Chester Group's New York Audio Show 2013. Of course we can't forget the enormous and extremely important Munich High End show!

Remember earlier when I said there were many events within the USA? Well, we must not forget the Lone Star Audio Fest and Capitol Audiofest plus of course Constantine Soo's exciting Dagogo San Francisco show. Adding to this we have many very active audiophile/audio groups who have their own swap meets and such. Perhaps now you can see where things are getting quite busy here in the good ol' U. S. of A. Of course I wish the industry could handle 20 events a year all around the country, yet at what point do things get a bit redundant, or perhaps oversaturated?

Years ago while covering approximately 8 shows a year I found that as time went by there were fewer and fewer things to actually report on. I mean, if you saw it at CES, and then Munich a few months later, who really gives a crap if said product was making its 'big Italy debut' at Milan's Top Audio show in September? It is interesting that October's RMAF event there are many new products launched, so perhaps that is the new release date for many products other than CES?

On the plus side, was just yesterday discussing with another industry professional was how these shows are helping local (to the show) retail, and this is a great thing! Another added benefit for attendees is the opportunity to buy that special piece of gear they want at a show discount. The exhibitor does not really want to schlep the piece back to the factory and you get a great deal knowing you have an authentic piece of gear fully backed by the manufacturer. Win – win for attendees.

Of course all the costs associated for an event to the exhibitor can be offset in various ways, yet in the end make no mistake as these events can be very costly! So this begs the question; How many shows can a manufacturer handle? What if a show was in Canada one week and the USA the next? Getting high-end audio equipment across the border can be challenging as many of us within the industry have been at an event where a piece of gear was not there due to being caught up in customs. With so many different companies producing their own show, at some point there needs to be an organized timeline so one does not directly interfere with another. Another option, which I hear is right now being considered, is to have two shows at the same time yet in different locations… by two competing companies. Yup, you read that right. As for how this all will turn out, am hoping for the very best yet am not sure the ultimate outcome.

For now some of you at home either just came back from AXPONA or looking forward to the New York event next week... or perhaps T.H.E. Show Newport and then RMAF! It is always great to spend time chatting with loyal readers, answering system questions, etc. too. As always, there will be daily live coverage and remember to see Rick Becker's part 1 and part 2 coverage of the Montreal Salon Son & Image Report 2013 with updates to follow in the coming days. My  Chester Group's New York Audio Show 2013 report begins April 12th!


Added April 2, 2013
  It seems that only a few days after publishing the above article we have Roy Bird, Honorary Chairman of The Chester Group, chime in and say:

Show Dates For 2014 An Important Announcement

'Yes' this very subject is becoming very controversial, but nevertheless there is a saying that if shows did not exist they would soon be invented! So setting dates for shows is now the most testing of exercises.

It's not just trying to find the right venue, in the right place, but also whether they want to accommodate shows in the first place.  Then there are the amount of major shows worldwide, the various seasons, creating sufficient gaps between each one, whether they are trade only or consumer  and 'yes' whether in reality we have enough shows. 'BUT' one overriding fact remains that wherever we are in the world we rarely 'if ever' get complaints from visitors that there are too many!

Some months back the Chester Group, mindful of the amount of Shows in the US, made contact with Richard at 'THE' show group, Michel of Salon Son & Image and Steve Davies of Axpona.  All organisers of fairly large and significant consumer shows in the USA, at least two of which are well established and of fixed location. It was our objective that we had at least one month between any of our shows for 2014. We had already taken the precaution of securing two options in April for 2014:  11 - 13 April & 25 -27 April.  Richard, Michel and ourselves favoured the latter and this is what has now been optioned for 2014.

We did communicate with Axpona several times but they were unable to confirm their plans, as it was suggested that they had other major announcements to make of their own. We tried, and always will try to work with other Organisers and this will remain the case. However this is their prerogative so we had to get on with the job, as is usual, of planning for 2014 ahead of this year's show.

We have found it vital that our Exhibitors know of our plans well ahead.

We work on the basis that if a show has confirmed that it's staying in the same location & Hotel then it is as an established event, and speaking for ourselves we will remain at the The Palace for the foreseeable future.

Having said that we have two other very significant announcements:
Later this year, we will be launching a new series of shows that whilst dealing with High Performance Audio will be smaller, backed by completely new  and major Media ( not Audio ) will reach brand new markets, and a launch is planned for November. These events will be very exclusive and not interfere with existing shows, on the contrary in our opinion they will at the very least be complimentary.

Secondly and given the debates that are going in with regards to dates we are re-establishing our steering committees, which were unique to our company when we launched back in 2001. They will be made up of a selection of Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers. We hope to formulate a meeting during our show this year in New York and we will be open to all views and aspirations. It is our view that this is essential at this time, as there must be more dialogue with the industry.

   --- Roy Bird
      Honorary Chairman, The Chester Group


Added April 3, 2013
Today many of us received the following from Steve Davis of AXPONA...

Just a Quick Note To Let Everyone Know
AXPONA Chicago Is Now Set For April 23-27, 2014

You will receive in your mail on Friday morning, the 5th of April, layout of the hotel and the room maps for the 2014 AXPONA. We have many returning exhibitors and priority selection of Exhibit Space will begin at this time. No billing will take place until August 15th 2013 but it will be important to pick your space(s) now as they will not last long.

We expect almost everyone that was with us this year to return and we also have a long waiting list of new vendors who signed up at this year's event for participation in 2014.

We have added a new component to the show on Wednesday night, the 23rd April 2014, for Dealers and Manufacturers. This addition to AXPONA will again set a standard we know others will want to follow. We urge you to sign up early when we distribute the information on this new concept.

We look forward to everyone selecting their exhibit space for 2014 you are in for a real treat with this show.

Steve Davis and Everyone from AXPONA
& Thanks to everyone for the continued support. We will do everything in our power to make 2014 even better than 2013.


Added April 8, 2013
As the Montreal event is also around the same time as the other shows... Here is a response from Sarah Tremblay, Chairwoman of Montreal HiFi Show.

As shows have benefits on the markets, each major city in USA and Canada should have their own, but unfortunately, we all know it is not possible as manufacturers and reviewers can't be on the road every week-end. So what should be the compromises, is it to do a show one year in New York the other year in Chicago, same in Canada, one year in Montreal the other year in Toronto? Is it to cancel some of the shows as the market can't support more than six or seven shows in North America? I would like to suggest that the answer comes from the ones that are the most concerns, the exhibitors and the reviewers, only them know what is good for them, if a majority vote for the schedule as it is, fine there are nothing to fix. But if the majority ask for a lighter show schedule, then they will have to vote for which shows they want to participate to and then each show promoter will have to be creative if they want to stay in business. That's all I am asking, tell me what you want, I am at your service, not the other way around.

Sarah Tremblay
Montreal HiFi Show


Thanks Roy, Steve and now Sarah for chiming in. As always, in the end what really matters is that you...


Enjoy the Music (Day after day the show must go on... with time on your side),

Steven R. Rochlin















































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