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“Like we tell our customers, ‘You can’t roll a joint on a download….Buy vinyl!’”
—-Don VanCleave, CIMS, at NARM
HITS ARMED FOR NARM
Retail Editor Mark Pearson Hangs in the City by the Bay for Opening Session
A packed house was there for the opening session of the 50th Anniversary NARM Convention, which took place this morning in San Francisco beginning with a 15-minute video documentary detailing the org’s beginnings as a rack-jobber association started in 1958.

It was interspersed with names and faces from the past, including words from Mickey Granberg, who worked with NARM for some 40 years.  It was a nice compliment to the impressive Gallery of Memories that NARM has on display in the hallways of the hotel.

The best line of the doc was from Don VanCleave, who said, when talking about the current rebirth of vinyl, “Like we tell our customers, ‘You can’t roll a joint on a download….Buy vinyl!’”

NARM President Jim Donio’s opening remarks focused on the belief that the association matters more today than it did when it first started 50 years ago. He talked about the challenge of only 42% of music acquisitions being paid for and the fact that biz was down 11.8% last year. But he also optimistically pointed to “some easing” of that downturn this year. He also lauded the labels for spreading out their big releases over the entire year rather than just the fourth quarter. He expressed the opinion that there will always be a place for some form of physical product in the marketplace and noted the pains that occurred in every change of format from LPs to 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs to digital downloads and whatever might come next. He quoted snippets of speeches made over the last 50 years at NARM that all could have been in a speech given this year.

One of the biggest rounds of applause came in reaction to Donio’s mention of Record Store Day. Independents and majors alike erupted when he brought up the incredibly successful promotion.

Going forward, Donio believes that it is the music business’ mission “to promote great products with interoperability,” and closed with a NARM-centric statement to “never underestimate the power of association.”

Target’s Sue Peterson was then named Chairman of the Board for an unprecedented third term and in turn announced two new members to the board: iTunesVal Cole and BordersRob Gruen.

Hear Music’s Hilary McCrae played a smoldering three-song set. And, after an introduction by J&R’s Rachelle Friedman, WB Nashville’s Randy Travis played four songs. Travis, who has won five CMA awards and six Grammys, was an obvious choice for a performer this year as both those awards shows were presented with the Presidential Award for Sustained Industry Achievement. On hand accepting the honors were CMA’s Tammy Genovese and The Recording Academy’s Neil Portnow.

Finally, the same award was given to long-time music wholesaling giant Eric Paulson, founder of Navarre Corp. Paulson, who sold the Navarre music division a year ago and stepped down as CEO to retire, gave a very emotional speech closing with “I cannot imagine a better way to have spent the last 40 years.”

A TICKING HITS LIST
Surely you have the time to take a look. (8/7a)
THE GREAT CATALOG GOLD RUSH
Is mining the past the future? (8/7a)
TIKTOK RESPONDS TO TRUMP'S BAN
The kids are not alright with Trump. (8/7a)
POP SMOKE GAINS, DABABY LEADS OUR SONG CHART
And the streams just keep on coming. (8/7a)
THE BABE & THE MULE
Interscope's co-MVPs (8/7a)
BTS BRINGS IT
They're so dreamy.
VOTE BY MAIL
It's a conspiracy, because everyone does it.
IS IT CHRISTMAS?
No, but we're thinking about cookies.
WOKE MUSIC
Protest songs that sound like now.
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