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Flying in the face of the notion that the retail community is on its last legs, the halls are crowded with conventioneers and all the familiar faces are still here.

HEY KIDS, WHAT TIME IS IT?
THAT’S RIGHT, IT’S NARM TIME!

Mark Pearson Returns to His Beloved City by
the Bay for the Annual Retail Party-Down
The 50th edition of NARM is officially underway, and the halls of the San Francisco Marriott are once again teaming with retailers, labels and distributors. Flying in the face of the notion that the retail community is on its last legs, the halls are crowded with conventioneers and all the familiar faces are still here.

Some came Saturday to partake of an Oakland A’s game, but most started showing up on Sunday afternoon in time for the traditional Welcome Reception cocktail party, hosted this year by Rhino and featuring a miniature golf course.

The evening’s late-night entertainment was hosted by WEA, with sets from WB’s Alanis Morrissette, Ryko’s Will Hoge, Roadrunner’s Parlor Mob, Atlantic’s Carolina Liar and Bad Boy’s Janelle Monae.

The ninth annual Music Monitor Network dinner, hosted every year by Wind-up head of sales Derek Graham, was once again one of the highlights of the convention. Welsh rockers People in Planes played a short set at Tommy Toy’s in advance of their June 24 release, Beyond the Horizon.  MMN was also boasting their newest member, 22-store chain Sunrise Records based in Ontario, Canada.

All of the indie retailers at the convention, including MMN, are still basking in the afterglow of the unbelievably successful April 19 Record Store Day, which galvanized hundreds of indies nationwide. So in the midst of the hand-wringing about the state of the business in general, as well as the health of some major businesses—notably, the fate of Handleman—the show is going on, and spirits are surprisingly high.

Monday morning is the opening session and the official kickoff of the confab. Stay tuned.

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