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 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!
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?!
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.
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.