The 2008 Percussive Arts Society International Convention took place from Nov 6-9 in Austin, Texas. As the streets around the convention center in downtown Austin echoed with the cadences of high school and collegiate drumlines, the mood inside the expo was one of cautious optimism about the MI market going forward, in spite of the turbulent economy, which weighed heavily on the minds of consumers, manufacturers, and retailers alike. As one vendor stated, “Hope comes from the idea that in good times and bad, people will continue to play music.” This optimism was not unwarranted, as foot traffic was high and sales relatively strong. In fact, another vendor, a representative from a cymbal manufacturer, mentioned that his company hit their sales target for the entire show in the very first day.
In a season defined by a historic presidential campaign, MMR once again sponsored our own election, polling MI retailers to determine the top products of 2008. The votes have all been tallied and, for the eighth consecutive year, dealers have chosen Yamaha’s Disklavier as the overall Product of the Year.
While concerns about the entry of Best Buy into the MI market has some wringing their hands nervously, and continuing anxiety over competition from big box and Internet retailers remain hot topics, it’ll come as a surprise to no one that that overarching concern voiced by those retailers we contacted for this year’s 50-dealer/50-state review was: the economy.