17th Annual Dealers’ Choice Awards
This year, MMR’s annual survey of MI retailers to determine top products yielded some familiar results (Yamaha’s Disklavier as Product of the Year, Hal Leonard as Print Publisher of the Year) as well as some fairly surprising upsets (Gibson’s Les Paul trumping longtime Electric Guitar Line of the Year winner, the Fender Stratocaster). Selections were solicited via e-mail, online, and in a ballot appearing in the October issue of Musical Merchandise Review.
Much like 2008, this year’s replies were widely varied, reflecting the continued (though possibly/hopefully on the way out) economic upheaval throughout the market. Our thanks go out to all retailers who participated in 2009′s Dealers’ Choice voting.
What’s to say that hasn’t already been said? Yamaha’s Disklavier series has been the clear winner in this category since George W.’s first year in office.
With an exhaustive array of Grand Pianos, Uprights, and the distinctive Elton John Limited Edition Signature Series Red Piano, Disklavier consoles offer a wide range of options for users at a number of price points. With ongoing improvements and innovations, Yamaha’s likely to be in the running for top honors in 2010, as well.
Breaking the Fender Stratocaster’s formidable stranglehold on this category, Gibson’s iconic Les Paul model comes out on top in 2009.
Whether due to an increased number of signature models and high tech improvements, or an up-tick in interest after the passing of the legendary guitarist who shared his name with these instruments, the Les Paul made quite an impact.
Last year, Ibanez’ SR Series came out ahead in this category. In this year’s balloting, many respondents simply replied, “Ibanez,” speaking to the company’s wide array of popular models that resonate with players of all types.
Acoustic Guitar Line of the Year
C.F. Martin & Co., Inc.
Martin Guitars continued its winning ways, once again claiming victory in the Acoustic Guitar category in convincing fashion. With a storied history, a reputation for impeccable quality and workmanship, and a dizzying lineup of available styles, the venerable Pennsylvania guitar manufacturer is tough to beat.
An exceedingly tight race in this category nonetheless once again saw Peavey’s popular and affordable line of modeling guitar amplifiers eke out a win.
In 2008, Zoom’s H4 emerged as the leader in the world of the handheld digital recorders. The newer H4n with increased functionality built upon the appeal of the previous model and came out tops in 2009′s voting.
Yamaha’s comprehensive sound reinforcement offerings at a variety of price-points were a hit with churches, schools, arenas, and other venues.
In one of the upsets of 2009, A-T’s versatile 2000 Series Wireless system unseated longtime category winner, Shure SM57/58.
One of 2009′s Dealer’s Choice Awards’ tightest races was won by Cannonball’s popular A5-L alto sax.
Kawai’s K-3 Upright connected with performers and educators of all types. Dealers once again noted that brand loyalty, quality, and value make the K-3 a compelling option.
Yamaha’s impressive winning streak continues in this category with the venerable Clavinova taking the top prize in ’09. Players of virtually all ability levels and budgets can find something that matches their needs within the extensive line of models.
Last year saw Roland’s FP-7 emerge as the winner in this category, but this time around the RD digital pianos – RD-300GX and RD-700GX – get the nod. A number of onboard pianos and EPs make this highly portable stage piano a hit with players.
Consistently one of the most hotly contested categories, this year’s Percussion Line of the Year honors go to Pearl Drums.
American DJ snags their fifth consecutive win as Lighting Line of the year. Dealers and end users alike appreciate ADJ’s extensive product catalog and continued spirit of innovation.
DJ Line of the Year this time goes to Gemini. Readers point to variety, quality, as well as cutting edge technological features as strong selling points.
Even more so than Yamaha’s Disklavier, Hal Leonard seems to have sewn their category up tight. Print Music Publisher winners each and every year since the very first MMR’s Dealers’ Choice Awards, the company’s exhaustive library of high profile, popular titles makes it a hard competitor to best.
Finale’s music notation software is a resounding hit with educators and students. The newest incarnation of the title offers greater automation and enhanced functionality.
Accessory Line of the Year
D’Addario & Company
D’Addario was given the nod by dealers in this category. Guitarists and bassists continue to be drawn to the strings’ durability and quality, while an assortment of tuners, drumheads, straps, and more appeal to musicians of virtually all types.
Visitors to Music People’s online portal can easily browse a number of categories to gather general (or more detailed) info, review product offerings, and interact with the company directly.