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NARM Show Ready to Rock

4 Aug, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

The National Association of Recording Merchandisers' (NARM) annual conference kicks off Aug. 11 in San Diego, building on last year's resurgence.

“We're very happy with the participation and the support we have gotten this year,” said NARM president Jim Donio. “We have more live music scheduled for this year than in the past 10 years, with 45 acts coming.”

On the business side, Donio said he expects hot topics at this year's show to be DualDisc (DVD on one side, CD on the other), the album sales slump, the digital delivery music issue and fourth-quarter slates.

Aug. 13 the NPD group will release a consumer report on DualDisc, along with other industry research from Nielsen SoundScan.

5.1 Entertainment is sponsoring a mobile exhibit that will be stationed in a different area of the convention each day where attendees can check out upcoming DualDisc product.

This year's NARM show will mark the first integrated audio/video product promotion and announcement schedule for the newly dubbed Rhino Entertainment, formerly Warner Strategic Marketing, said company VP Paul DeGooyer. Rhino will be showcasing its fall release slate, which the company also highlighted at the Video Software Dealers Association's (VSDA) Home Entertainment 2005 show.

Attendees this year are getting the world premiere peek at Clear Channel Entertainment Home Video and Ventura Distribution's upcoming concert DVD, Motley Crue: Carnival of Sins.

“Being at NARM puts us, with this particular project, squarely in the heart of the music retail community, which is where we know this title needs to be,” said Steve Sterling, SVP of Clear Channel Entertainment Television.

The NARM show is very important to an industry struggling with slumping album sales, suppliers attending the show said.

“A lot of major trade association's conventions, I think, have bottomed out over the last few years and are really now finding their place again with their constituencies,” Sterling said. “But with NARM, because the music [retailer] side of the business is so proudly passionate about their business, the NARM show has remained very viable.”

NARM provides an overall context for suppliers and retailers to work in, DeGooyer said.

“The music business might be smaller than the movie or video business in the United States, but it's not going anywhere,” he said. “NARM is a great way for music people to come together.”

Music Video Distributors (MVD) will be highlighting their first DualDisc release at this year's show, DEVO Live 1980. The DVD side features a concert from the group at their peak with bonus extras and the concert audio on the CD side.

NARM is a great opportunity for some creative brainstorming with retailers, said Ed Seaman, VP of sales for MVD.

“Most people in the music retailing business at this point have done one of two things: they've either expanded out of selling only CDs or they've gone out of business, for the most part,” he said. “Traditional music retailers have been recognizing more and more that music DVD is the music business.”

Most music retailers these days are very much in the video game — and not just music DVD. Disney Records and EMI are sponsoring a special exhibit for the upcoming theatrical film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

NARM is presenting awards this year to two “giants of the industry,” Donio said.

Singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt will receive the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award at the Aug. 12 opening session. Producer and entertainment mogul Quincy Jones will pick up the Chairman's Lifetime Achievement Award. Jones was the keynote speaker at the 1985 convention, and NARM is thrilled to have him back two decades later, Donio said.

It's also the first time in 20 years that the show has been held at the same location two years in a row, he said.

San Diego went over so well with exhibitors and attendees last year, it was an easy decision to go with the location again this year, Donio said.

NARM eschewed a co-located annual show with VSDA for 2005 and announced its San Diego confab locale shortly before talks of merging the NARM and VSDA trade groups ceased in November of last year.

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