Attending trade shows gives audio hardware and software vendors a chance to demonstrate their products to new customers, connect with existing customers, and maybe garner some attention from the audiophile press for their products. I’ve participated in dozens of trade show over the past 20 years. I was pleased to have given the keynote address at the very first AXPONA show, have travelled to Denver repeatedly to exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, got bed bugs at the Crowne Plaza Hotel during the Capitol Audio Fest, drove to San Francisco for the California Audio Show, and even jetted to Munich last year for the biggest show of them all. But among my favorite audio events is the one being held this weekend in Long Beach — T.H.E. Show 2019!
What makes a great show? It depends on whether you’re a attendee or a vendor. For marketplace sellers, having great traffic, a good location, and having room enough to display your wares are important. These days I’m happy to stand behind a couple of nicely draped banquet tables with my recordings and copies of my book Music and Audio: A User Guide to Better Sound. I don’t even bring an Oppo player and headphones anymore — the cost of electricity is prohibitive in most venues! And forget about WiFi internet.
For those needing to demo their systems on speakers (rather than headphones for those restricted to the marketplace — although sometimes a rogue vendor will resort to playing through speakers!), having one of the expensive ballrooms or a converted sleeping room is required. When AIX Records partnered with JVC, Dolby, JBL, Oppo, Benchmark, Bryston, and DH Labs in the Lakeshore ballroom at AXPONA, we were able to demonstrate real high-resolution, multichannel sound with HD-Video! Anyone that had the chance to experience our demos at AXPONA, it was rare sonic treat. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to do assemble another room of that caliber — the prices are simply too high for my small company.
Is bigger always better? If the metric is how many tickets were sold, then AXPONA most likely wins for biggest show in North America. But what I heard from vendors and attendees at the most recent AXPONA show was that it has grown TOO big. It was virtually impossible for visitors to see/hear all of the rooms, experience the headphones room, make it through the marketplace, and attend a seminar or two. For those of us hoping to have time with potential customers to sell some music or book, a show that offers too many rooms or events reduces the bottom line. I’ve actually had a more reasonable return on my investment of time and money at shows the size of T.H.E. Show. The attendees are focused and spend more time listening to what I have to say.
And then there’s the behind the scenes stuff. Vendors are chased by sales people to lock in preferred “discount” rates, purchase ad space in the show brochure or get your company name on a lanyard, secure a paid-to-play seminar spot, or pay $200 for an electrical hookup. I have always enjoyed — and preferred — the direct connection to the audiophile organizer behind the show. When my friend Steve AND Carman Davis started AXPONA, it was so pleasant, non-corporate, and dedicated to the magic of the audiophile hobby — because Steve is one of us. And I’ve always enjoyed dealing with Gary Gill of the Capitol Audio Fest and Constantine Soo of the California Audio Show. Maurice Jung and his team at T.H.E. Show understand that a trade show is much more than maximizing profits by squeezing everyone at every turn. They see the benefits of having a well organized show populated by good companies. My hat is off to the T.H.E. Show.
50% OFF Sale Extended For 3 More Days!!
Special 50% Discount for Blog Readers!
Come by the T.H.E. Show this weekend in Long Beach or order through the website to take advantage of this deal through the weekend. NOTE: This discount applies only to the paperbook book not the eBook.
Visit Music and Audio: A User Guide to Better Soundto get your copy today!
I hope to see many of you this weekend in Long Beach. I’m going to continue to offer readers of this blog with the 50% discount on the Music and Audio book. Just mention the deal when you come by the table and I’ll honor the lower price. The rest of the attendees will only get 25% off. It will be out secret.