2011 RPMDA Convention
The 2011 Retail Print Music Dealers Association convention, held in sunny Tampa, Florida from April 28-30, walked the line between a relaxing escape and an intense, focused examination of the ever-evolving best practices in the print music industry. Featuring a significant boost in attendance over last year, including a number of first-time attendees and exhibitors, the annual get-together displayed its typical congenial atmosphere, even as publishers and dealers took a serious look at many critical elements of the retail print industry through an array of breakout sessions, seminars, and meetings. From presentations on the nuts and bolts of organizing an in-store print music department or maximizing efficiency in business meetings to a cocktail party and harbor cruise, the 2011 RPMDA convention provided a unique opportunity to talk shop, network, and get a pulse on the latest trendsof the industry.
Among the many highlights of the three-day event were a session on Freakonomics in the Music Industry, during which Hal Leonard’s Larry Morton took at look at some common perceptions and misperceptions as applied to the print music industry – “conventional wisdom is usually wrong,” he noted – as well as the annual “Best Ideas” session, moderated by Kevin Cranley of Willis Music. This showcase of 25 ideas, presented by attendees in two minutes or less, for print music retailers to implement in their stores, was an opportunity for the bold among the print music attendees to stand up and make themselves heard. The audience then voted for the top idea of the 25 that had been presented, with the winner coming from Christie Smith of Long & McQuade Music, who proposed throwing an in-store piano Christmas music reading party and pot luck meal, giving customers the opportunity to hear and discover new music in fun and inviting atmosphere.
At a tropical-themed closing dinner on Saturday evening, Danny Rocks, the well known music industry speaker, NAMM presenter and business consultant with his own firm, The Company Rocks, was presented with the Dorothy Award, given for a lifetime of service and achievement in the music industry, the highest honor bestowed by RPMDA. Also honored throughout the weekend were charter member Don Eubanks, who is retiring from Hutchins & Rea Music after 40 years in the print music industry; RPMDA executive director Madeleine Crouch for her 20 years of service to date; Claudia Keith of The Music Mart in Albuquerque, NM, who received the 2011 Sandy Feldstein Service Award for her ongoing volunteer service on behalf of RPMDA as historian; and long-time member Diane Moore, owner of the Keyboard Cache, Anchorage, Alaska, who was presented with the John Walters “President’s Choice” Award for her friendship and support by RPMDA president Gayle Beacock of Beacock Music in Vancouver, Washington. A new award, the Don Eubanks Publisher Representative Award, was presented on behalf of RPMDA’s dealer members to Bruce Bush of the Hal Leonard Corporation for his consistent and exemplary service to his customers.