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Upfront

  • GC Restructures Associate Wage System

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 27, 2014

    Guitar Center is planning to replace its much-discussed sales commission system for employees with a system of hourly pay. The shift also includes a commitment that every single Guitar Center employee will earn above minimum wage beginning this September.

    The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) calls the policy shift a major victory for its organizing effort focusing on Guitar Center stores.

    GC has a different take, however. On April 25, Christopher Ian Bennett, VP of communications & corporate affairs told MMR, “We’ve announced some really exciting changes to our store compensation model and the response across the country, from associates everywhere has been incredibly positive. I think it’s fitting that as we enter into our 50th year as a n MI brand we’ve been unafraid to listen to what our associates have had to say about making Guitar Center a top employer, and to make some bold changes to support them and move us forward.

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  • Fender to Close Ovation Factory in Connecticut

    hoff | Upfront | April 25, 2014

    Fender has announced that it will be closing the facility in New Hartford, Connecticut where it has built Ovation brand instruments for the last 47 years. The company reportedly plans to cease production in June, but will continue building the guitars in China, South Korea, and Indonesia. The company cited insufficient market demand as the primary reason for closing the factory.

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  • Music & Arts Adds Six Washington Locations

    hoff | Upfront | April 25, 2014

    Music & Arts, the largest band and orchestra instrument retailer and lesson provider, has increased its presence in Washington State to 13 stores with the addition of six Mills Music locations. Effective immediately, Mills Music locations in Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Issaquah, Kent and Redmond are now part of the Music & Arts family of stores. This acquisition comes on the heels of the retailer acquiring seven Music Center stores in Washington in February, making Music & Arts the largest music retailer and lesson provider in the state.

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  • Jupiter Launches ‘Banded’ Campaign to Unite School Music Community

    hoff | Upfront | April 25, 2014

    Jupiter Band Instruments has launched a new integrated marketing campaign dubbed "Banded,” which highlights the common ground shared amongmusicians, music educators, parents of musicians, school music retailers, and Jupiter.  The campaign demonstratesJupiter's brand values and how their role is aligned with all aspects of music education, the lives of musicians, and the love of music.  

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  • NAMM Foundation Helps Anaheim City School District’s Music Program

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 21, 2014

    Working toward its mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan, The NAMM Foundation has pledged a $10,000 grant to the Anaheim City School District (ACSD). The grant helps to support the district’s budding school music and orchestra programs. Anaheim is home to the NAMM Show, the world's leading trade-only event for the music products industry, held annually at the Anaheim Convention Center.

    “The success of the NAMM Show provides the funds for the NAMM Foundation's many efforts to support music education,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “And while our members come from around the globe to attend NAMM, we all have a very special connection to the Anaheim community. It is gratifying to be able to assist the children and the inspiring music teachers in the Anaheim City School District.”

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  • inMusic Adds Denon, Marantz Brands to Portfolio

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 15, 2014

    inMusic has announced the addition of three professional product brands from D&M Holdings to its existing family of brands. Denon Professional, Marantz Professional, and Denon DJ join a family that includes Akai Professional, Alesis, Alto Professional, ION Audio, Numark, M-Audio, AIR Music Technology, and Mixmeister.

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  • Hal Leonard and Cakewalk Forge Distribution Partnership

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 15, 2014

    Effective immediately, Cakewalk’s product line—both professional and consumer—will have additional North American distribution through Hal Leonard. According to Cakewalk president Michael Hoover, “Hal Leonard is an established and highly respected outlet for a wide variety of technology products. Their expertise in reaching crucial markets—including education, worship, and independent MI retailers—will further Cakewalk’s continuing growth and recognition as a manufacturer of premium, thoughtfully designed software.”

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  • Lanikai Partners with Jake Shimabukuro Foundation

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 13, 2014

    Lanikai Ukuleles has announced a partnership with Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso and composer Jake Shimabukuro’s Four Strings Foundation.  The non-profit, founded by Shimabukuro and Chicago educator Polly Yukevich in 2013, seeks to curate music education workshops nationwide.  Lanikai, one of the world’s largest ukulele brands, remains committed to music education and will provide their patented TunaUke ukuleles to schools and educators in support of this initiative.

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  • Gibson Brands Sponsor the Institute Guitar Scholarship

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 13, 2014

    The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance has announced that Gibson Brands will be sponsoring two of eight scholarships available for students hoping to join its intensive one year Higher Diploma course. The award offers the successful entrants fully-funded places (worth £5,950 for UK based students and £7,200 for international students) on the course, which is specifically designed to fast-track students' development and encourage them to discover their creative potential. Alongside the scholarship, Gibson will provide each guitar winner with a Les Paul Futura 2014 Guitar.

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  • NAMBACKER B2B Networking Group Welcomes New Members

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 13, 2014

    NAMBACKER B2B networking group announced the addition of three new NAMM exhibitor manufacturers as dues-paying members since the 2014 Anaheim show.

    The first new member is Rick Schubb, owner of the legendary Schubb Capo Company, celebrating his 40th year in the business. Here is one of Rick’s greatest quotes… “Dave Coontz and I formed a partnership on a handshake in 1974 based on a solid premise: no compromises.”

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  • Kidder Music Celebrates 40th Anniversary

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 13, 2014

    2014 holds exciting news for family-owned Kidder Music as they announce their 40th anniversary. The store kicked off their anniversary celebration at the Illinois Music Educators Conference in January, and has plans for events, sales, and specials throughout the year.

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  • Fender CEO Larry Thomas to Retire

    Christian Wissmuller | Upfront | April 13, 2014

    Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) has announced the upcoming retirement of CEO Larry Thomas, effective May 31, 2014. Thomas was appointed to the FMIC Board of Directors in 2009 and later appointed CEO on Aug. 1, 2010. Current interim COO Scott Gilbertson will assume the role of interim CEO until the company completes its search for a successor.

    Gilbertson is a partner at TPG Growth and currently serves on the board of Fender Musical Instruments and has also served as interim COO since Oct. 2013. Previously, he held a variety of executive positions at leading companies including J.Crew, Under Armour and Bally International. 

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