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“I think that the Warner acquisition gives us 3.3 billion reasons that music is still a good investment.”
—-Jim Donio, NARM President
NARM ON THE RUN: DAY ONE RECAP
Our Intrepid Retail Reporter Gets a Fix on the Opening Session
NARM’s official Opening Session got underway at this year’s convention, as usual, with a speech by President Jim Donio, who remarked that the last time the confab was held in L.A. was back in 1990 with the slogan “Welcome to the Digital Decade.”

There were six majors, DAT recorders were coming of age and Tipper Gore’s parental advisory crusade had a session called “To Sticker or Not to Sticker.” Mariah Carey joined Michael Bolton on stage during the final awards dinner and blew the crowd away.

Donio talked about how things had changed since then, not the least of which is the well-documented erosion in sales, with a whopping 52% decline in the last decade. He then went on to highlight some optimistic touchstones, including the Music Rights Now campaign being spearheaded by UMGD topper Jim Urie and the fact that, for the first time since 2004, we have seen constant upticks in year-over-year sales.

Donio also pointed out (as many have recently) that the industry has seen 12 weeks during this year in sales increases and if we include TEA (Track Equivalent Albums) we are currently up 1.6% over 2010. “Have we hit bottom?” he asked. “I think that the Warner acquisition gives us 3.3 billion reasons that music is still a good investment.”

He talked about the recent Cloud announcements from Amazon and Google (more on that later from the seminar that followed) and trumpeted NARM digital initiatives being introduce by the org’s tech guru Bill Wilson. He also pointed to the success of Record Store Day, which saw a whopping 39% increase in revenues over last year’s event and went on to emphasize that NARM’s commitment to the industry “goes well beyond just the convention.”

J&R’s Rachelle Friedman took the stage after being named NARM Chairman for an unprecedented fourth term. She talked about the org’s Scholarship Fund, which is in its 46th year, and announced this year’s new board members.

The officers are Nokia’s Adam Mirabella (Vice Chair), Anderson MerchandisersSteve McClanahan (Treasurer), and Len Cosimano (Director at Large). Other board members include Homer’s Mike Fratt, Baker & Taylor’s Steve Harkins, Best Buy’s Nate Jarpe, Target’s Jake Langner, iTunesBrent Muhle, Amazon’s Craig Pape, Verizon WirelessEd Ruth and Immergent RecordsJohn Trickett.

 

BMG/Chrysalis’ President of Creative for North America Billy Mann delivered this year’s keynote address and was interviewed on stage by Comet.com’s Tamara Conniff.

 More on that in a bit, right now we’re rushing to another seminar.

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