Performer Magazine at the 125th AES Convention @ Moscone Center

From October 2-5, San Francisco’s Moscone Center hosted the world’s largest audio tech expo, the Audio Engineering Society Convention. I had a great weekend helping in the Performer Magazine booth, where a number of talented indie artists performed stripped-down sets. Hosting a pseudo-stage was an ingenious idea that really caught positive attention, as attendees were reminded of the true heart of the music industry: music.

The Mumlers shined above all else, so much so that I bought a shirt. I don’t do band shirts (except Festizio band shirts).

The exhibition floor seemed daunting and pointless at first since most of the gear exceeded my needs and income, but I discovered a few interesting products after my second walkthrough. A Novation rep enthusiastically walked me through their new Nocturn, an “intelligent plug-in controller featuring automap universal.” While it both looks cool and allows you to control your favorite plug-ins, it’s also only $150. I can sorta afford that!

Another highlight: The Interchangeable Hearts perform a sultry set.

The Unbelievable: In terms of marketing, it still boggles my mind when a sales rep doesn’t have the foresight to think before they speak. First, there was the guy trying to pitch a story to Performer on counterfeit guitars from China, incorporating a fake Chinese accent while I was STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. Then there was the rep from Fairlight who moved our speakers and made an insulting comment directed at a performing musician. Are you serious?!

I remember when Sonar was just at 2. How quickly they grow up…

But there are also those who market effectively. For example, Dave from Pro Audio Sounds, showed both support and graciousness, an honest-to-goodness musician who also performed a great set of his own. Then, there was the guy from Bourns who, after I made a request for an info packet, came across the aisle to give me a sample Model 95 Guitar Potentiometer so I could “make it into a keychain or something.” An effective sales rep doesn’t build sells, s/he builds relationships. In the end, there is no substitution for the greatest tool in marketing: being a decent person.

A high-end console tracks the score for the “Batman Begins” trailer… *drool*

Overall, the AES Convention was a great learning and networking event. I had a blast, and I’m sure the other attendees did as well.