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#671336 - 09/03/21 07:25 AM [Off-Topic] Changes in Sweetwater Management.
Registered: 12/08/02
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Loc: Wauconda, Il.
MusicStudent Offline
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#671344 - 09/03/21 08:28 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 6081
Loc: Akron, Oh
eddie1261 Offline
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Meh. All he really did was cash out. He is 64 now. He'll probably ride a desk for 5-6 more years and then ride into the sunset. Personally I don't care at all about this. Time marches on. I am still just 3 hours away and I can either get my stuff the next day or drive there to buy it in person. I mean, really, how does this change YOUR life?


Edited by eddie1261 (09/03/21 08:28 AM)
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#671543 - 09/04/21 12:16 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 5417
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
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Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Let's hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

Notes
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#671544 - 09/04/21 12:31 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 04/08/11
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Loc: Akron, Oh
eddie1261 Offline
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What do you people seriously think is going to happen? The new management, STILL lead by Surack in a figurehead titular role, is going to go out of their way to destroy the business model that got them where they are under Chuck? 1 day shipping will turn into 10 day shipping? Prices will double? No more candy in the boxes? I just don't understand why the doomsday prognostications.
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#671598 - 09/04/21 06:52 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: eddie1261]
Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7825
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
rockstar_not Offline
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Posts: 7825
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Originally Posted By: eddie1261
What do you people seriously think is going to happen? The new management, STILL lead by Surack in a figurehead titular role, is going to go out of their way to destroy the business model that got them where they are under Chuck? 1 day shipping will turn into 10 day shipping? Prices will double? No more candy in the boxes? I just don't understand why the doomsday prognostications.


Right on Eddie! As for Guitar Center as a comparison, completely and totally different business models. Notice I didn’t call it Guitar Sinner. The local Colorado Springs store has yet to let me down on new or used gear I buy from he website; throwing me a heavy duty 9V power supply for a Zoom B3 I bought from the used market on their website, and putting a new bridge on my recently purchased Gretsch 5410T I bought used from the website that had an aftermarket roller bridge on it with a little ping when doing left hand vibrato on the high e string. Straight up great customer service.

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#671601 - 09/04/21 07:05 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: rockstar_not]
Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 13708
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
VideoTrack Offline
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I've purchased directly from Sweetwater, discussed products with their sales team, had fast express shipping, and never had a problem. If that model has worked well for them before, I can't see why they would consider changing it.
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#671611 - 09/04/21 08:39 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 22457
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Offline
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All my experiences with Sweetwater going back over twenty years have been outstanding. I will continue to purchase from them even if they don’t include the candy.

By comparison, I went to my local Guitar Center this week for the first time in two years. I won’t be going back. Very little on display, low stock, and an overall messy place. No one took notice of me.

I’m fortunate there is an excellent locally-owned music retailer including a pro audio department that’s top notch.
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#671630 - 09/05/21 05:41 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 5417
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
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My only concern is the possibility that little by little the company becoming run by bean-counters instead of musicians.

Woodwind & Brasswind used to be an excellent resource for musicians, until it was bought by the same entity that owned Guitar Center.

Out went the experts that you could ask and get great advice, and WW&BW slowly degenerated to the status of another "Musician's Friend" type store.

Will that happen with Sweetwater? I certainly hope not. I've always had good experiences there.

Insights and incites by Notes
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#671633 - 09/05/21 06:23 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: Matt Finley]
Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 6081
Loc: Akron, Oh
eddie1261 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
I will continue to purchase from them even if they don’t include the candy.


This made me laugh because at the start of the Covid mess I ordered something from them and there was no candy. Having NEVER missed an opportunity to bust somebody's onions, I called my sales guy friend there. Now we all get assigned a "sales engineer", but this guy is actually from where I am and in fact I am still playing an Ensoniq keyboard he sold me in 1988 at Lentine's Music. so I have known this guy almost 35 years. I called him up and playfully laid into him with a profanity laced tirade about how horribly they treat their customers by not including candy anymore. How outraged I was at the lapse in customer service and how dare they expect to keep their customer base with this sort of behavior. I went on and on like I do here.

When we quit laughing he explained that it was a sanitary thing and they were ordered that since candy can not be sanitized that they were to suspend the practice of sending candy.

3 days later I got a bag of mini Tootsie Rolls in the mail! With a note telling me in essence (and in very different language) to take a long walk on a short pier. I can even explain how hard I laughed when I opened that box.

Love those guys over at Sweetwater!
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#671634 - 09/05/21 06:41 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: Notes Norton]
Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 6081
Loc: Akron, Oh
eddie1261 Offline
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Notes, in the scenario you described my business spidey sense tells me that what they did was a move to cut operating costs, where they may have felt that selling items geared toward one specific demographic was overhead that was wasted. Thus the metamorphosis toward it being a "Musician's Friend" type store. Like "Why have a store for JUST woodwinds and brass and another store that sells everything including that redundant merchandise?" That, of course, leads to Johnny the kid just out of high school replacing Joe the old guy with more years in the world of woodwinds that Johnny has been alive, because Johnny will work for minimum wage and Joe will not. Yep, it stinks, but yep, it's business.

I worked as a bench tech in a Gateway store. Gateway's powers that be decided they had to get rid of the overhead those stores was costing them. However, they understood that they still needed bricks, and not just clicks, so they pulled a slick (but in my eyes unethical) move and bought eMachines. Those computers were somewhere between doorstop and boat anchor. Made in Indonesia with whatever parts they could buy cheap and just horrible performance. Gateway then went to Best Buy and said "WE now own eMachines, and here's what YOU are going to do. If you want to continue to sell eMachines, you are also going to sell Gateways. If you won't stock and sell Gateways, we will no longer supply eMachines so you have that cheap loss leader computer to draw people in so you can upsell them." Best Buy had no choice but to roll over for them.

I was once in a Best Buy store, and some kid selling computers told a customer that eMachines were made by Gateway. I could not let that go. I stepped in and said "Excuse me ma'am but eMachines are not MADE by Gateway. Gateway owns eMachine, but they are still made in southeast Asia with what amounts to spare parts and they are AWFUL computers. It will be here at Geek Squad more than it is in your home. This is one area to NOT skimp. Gateway is a far better computer and it would really be a smart move to pay the higher price for the better computer." Then I turned to the kid and said "I need to talk to your manager. NOW." He came over, I took him aside and asked "HOW DARE YOU have your kids on the floor tell customers that eMachine is made by Gateway? eMachine is STILL made in Indonesia and they are still awful computers. Gateway owns them, but Gateway does NOT make eMachines. That is extremely deceptive and a horrible way to do business. It's bad enough to bait and switch like you do but to outright lie to customers this way is despicable." He asked me to leave the store. I refused. He called police. I told them why he wanted me to leave. They told him that I could stay and maybe they shouldn't lie to customers that way. I made some calls, got some names, and sent some emails, and that manager was gone in a month.

That is an example of how business acquisitions can go bad. I seriously doubt that Sweetwater would turn to that. Chuck Surack is a long time man of god and I doubt that he would ever deceive people that way. A parent company can own businesses but man, does Pepsico actually MAKE the tacos at Taco Bell?
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#671645 - 09/05/21 07:31 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 01/15/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Springfield, MO
jcland Offline
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Registered: 01/15/01
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Loc: Springfield, MO
I have purchased from Sweetwater before and never had a problem with them.

However, Guitar Center, and there is one about 3 mins from my house, looks more and more like a Pawn Shop when I go in and reminds me of what K-Mart looked like before they went under.

It's just a matter of time.
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#671651 - 09/05/21 08:01 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 22457
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
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Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
I did used to love that WWBW had experts.

I haven’t been in a pawn shop but I do remember KMart. Yes, that’s a more appropriate description than I gave, with one exception: KMart often had too much stock, with much of it on the floor.

I was hoping it was just poor management in the one Guitar Center. Apparently not.

But back on the original point, I agree Sweetwater should not change their model and expect they won’t for awhile.
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#671655 - 09/05/21 08:28 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 6081
Loc: Akron, Oh
eddie1261 Offline
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My Sweetwater experience may be different than many of you because I live just 3 hours away. I ALWAYS get my purchase the next day. I plan to take a day trip and go there sometime soon. If you are in Washington State you will likely not have that particular advantage, and I get that Sweetwater is just another store. I have recently purchased used gear from Guitar Center from a store in Virginia and from Musician's Friend from a store in Illinois, and the item arrived day 3 after the purchase. As long as none of that changes, I don't care WHO owns the places.

We just had a place that specialized in stringed instruments and school rentals be purchased by a larger company. That larger company changed the rental policy from monthly to 9 months at a time, in advance, and if the kid quits lessons there is no refund. Customers left in droves, and that location closed. 8 year old kids rarely have the attention span for violin lessons! But that's who they make their money. 9 months rental in advance, the kid quits after a month or two, and they rent that same violin out again while still collecting the balance from the original customer.

What is at the root of that level of store (and they are in more residential type areas) is simple. Every one of these "Why, when I was young..." posts contains some reference to "The old guy who worked at that place..." Well, that old guy continued to age at the same rate as we all did, and when the old guys die off they are replaced by someone young who learned music to mean "Buy parts on the internet, plug them into the DAW, and hit play."

I just did a show where the headliner was an ELO tribute band. Remember how ELO looked on stage with all those string players? This band had a girl playing violin, and she wasn't even in the PA. She was there for optics so the crowd saw a violin player when the string section tracks played from the laptop. Their show was 70% recorded. I do, always have, and always will, despise recorded tracks. I consider it glorified karaoke. The state of the business now is why I have 3 gigs left until I quit playing live music forever. I play tonight, Friday and once in November and then I am done with it. The level of hypocrisy I have seen in the last few years makes me both angry and sick to my stomach. The same people who 5 years ago complained because there were so many musicians sitting at home then put together "track bands" and became what they complained about. Trios with tracks. If you need keyboards and horns, hire keyboard and horn players. I miss BANDS. We are 10 pieces and all of our music is live. And when we opened for that ELO band, strangers found our Facebook page to tell us how we blew the ELO band away. And most of that sound comes from me. In the course of the night, from behind my keyboards, I play horns, organ, piano, strings, flute, rhythm guitar and backing "ooh" parts, often while playing tambourine with my other hand. But NEVER tracks.
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#671678 - 09/05/21 12:58 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 10/03/17
Posts: 526
Loc: Ohio
DSM Offline
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So that is what happened to the candy! I bought a Guild Starfire V last March and no candy.

Of course, my weight watcher's coach was happy.

...Deb

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#671715 - 09/05/21 09:07 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 6081
Loc: Akron, Oh
eddie1261 Offline
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Deb, I was OUTRAGED!!! Outraged I say!!!
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#671735 - 09/06/21 07:06 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: MusicStudent]
Registered: 07/06/00
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Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
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I've always had good service from Sweetwater, and the same 'sales engineer' for many years. If I can't find it locally, they are my first on-line choice.

And Eddie, yes, I do tracks for my duo. I agree, it's economics, and a compromise. I make my tracks myself, which is time-consuming, but at least the tracks are in the key we want, and the arrangement we want. Plus, I get to leave out the most fun parts of the song for Mrs. Notes and I to play live.

Would I rather play in a 7-piece band? Yes. Only if all the players are as reliable and have the same work ethics as Mrs. Notes and I do.

Can I afford to live on what they pay each member of a 7-piece band? No.

Can I get work without tracks when all the other small acts around here use tracks? No.

So survival goes to the entity that is most adaptable to the current environment. We are survivors.

Sweetwater has survived because they do a better job than their competition. They are a little like our old but now deceased mom-and-pop music store, but they are on the other end of the computer screen.

We talk to the same sales people who know us personally, what our needs are, and seem to be more interested in selling us what we need instead of what gives them the biggest commission.

I do hope that doesn't change when the bean counters take over the business.

WWBW used to be a lot like Sweetwater but for wind instrument players. They were quite successful at that. They sold a large selection of wind instruments, mouthpieces, and accessories that GC, Sweetwater, and other on-line retailers ignored.

Then the corporate takeover happened.

A private company only needs to make enough money to pay for the employees and the owners, and keep up with inflation.

A corporation needs perpetual growth. It usually has about 49% of the people owning the company who are not working there (stockholders). And they don't need a 'salary' that merely keeps up with inflation. Their investment has to grow and grow and grow, so the corporation needs to be more and more and more profitable every quarter. If the profits don't exceed inflation, the stockholders will jump ship.

That means perpetual growth. You are only as good as your last quarter's figures.

The market for goods is finite, and eventually gets saturated. So how do you keep selling more and more and more (it's logarithmic)? First, you cut costs. And that is what happened to WWBW. The experts are gone, the salespeople are replaceable employees who have a McJob, not a career, the employees are directed to sell you whatever has the biggest price mark-up, so profit items are no longer carried, and the downward spiral begins.

Now I'm not saying that is what is going to happen with Sweetwater, and I hope it doesn't. It's just a possibility.

Insights and incites by Notes
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#671739 - 09/06/21 07:31 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: Notes Norton]
Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 6081
Loc: Akron, Oh
eddie1261 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Notes Norton
A private company only needs to make enough money to pay for the employees and the owners, and keep up with inflation.


You missed "and make a profit." No business sets out to make customers their favorite charity. Just like nobody strives to be mediocre. Like most overachievers, I expect perfection and it takes an emotional toll on me when I can't achieve it. We made a glaring mistake on a song ending last night and I wanted to turn my keyboard stand over because of it. Mistakes like that come from not enough rehearsal time but I play with a bunch of lazy mofos who think there is such a thing as "good enough." It's NEVER good enough until it's perfect. (See why nobody wants to play with me when I try to recruit?) And in a business model, I expect more profit every quarter than the quarter before it. If that means cutting off mom and pop's kneecaps, so be it. I have to win. Isn't that kind of what business is for? To make a profit?


Edited by eddie1261 (09/06/21 07:36 AM)
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#671758 - 09/06/21 09:13 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: eddie1261]
Registered: 05/30/00
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rharv Offline
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Quote:
If that means cutting off mom and pop's kneecaps, so be it.


Slow down there, right there ..
I'm not sure your plan will result in the desired outcome
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#671796 - 09/06/21 01:30 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: eddie1261]
Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 3168
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Originally Posted By: eddie1261
The level of hypocrisy I have seen in the last few years makes me both angry and sick to my stomach. The same people who 5 years ago complained because there were so many musicians sitting at home then put together "track bands" and became what they complained about. Trios with tracks. If you need keyboards and horns, hire keyboard and horn players. I miss BANDS.

I recall at least one conversation here in which some folks were criticizing musicians who play for cheap/free and even those who participate in open mike night. But those same folks were fine with replacing drummers and bass players and whatever with BIAB tracks. Yeah, that is some blatant hypocrisy!

I can honestly say I would not knowingly go to a "live" performance where backing tracks were used. If it is just background bar music that's OK but if I buy a ticket to hear live music I wanna hear live music. I remember seeing American English and was both delighted and disturbed! Delighted to imagine I was at a Beatles concert as they did some really good covers. Disturbed when I realized there was way more sound coming out than those 4 actors were playing. Glad I saw them once; won't see them again.

But the times have changed. If the available jobs don't pay enough for a full band and you still want to work then using backing tracks is prolly your only option.

Quote:
Remember how ELO looked on stage with all those string players?

I also remember how they got caught mixing in prerecorded tracks to improve the sound at their "live" performances!

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#671894 - 09/07/21 05:44 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Changes in Sweetwater Management. [Re: eddie1261]
Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 5417
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Notes Norton Offline
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Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 5417
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Originally Posted By: eddie1261
Originally Posted By: Notes Norton
A private company only needs to make enough money to pay for the employees and the owners, and keep up with inflation.


You missed "and make a profit." <...snip...>


The profit comes in the "Pay for the owners" part.

I know of quite a few mom-and-pop businesses that do fine without ever-increasing perpetual gains.

My mechanic of about 30 years runs a 6 bay shop, makes enough to pay his employees and operating costs, and makes enough profit to pay his mortgage, put his kid through school, and take is boat out fishing.

Being that he isn't a corporation, he doesn't need to make more and more and more and more profit every quarter to feed the non-participating stockholders with endless profits.

Same for the guy who runs his pizza restaurant (he does good work).

And the gal who owns her core-fitness business.

And the gal who runs the yoga studio Mrs. Notes has been going to for decades.

They get along just fine without perpetual growth. More profits are always welcome, but as long as the employees and owners get paid a living wage/profit, there is no need to make more this quarter than the last, and the next quarter after this, and the next quarter after that, ad infinitum.

My sisters run their own accounting businesses. Pay for the office rent, pay the employees, and make enough profit to make a decent living. No need for perpetual growth, just enough profit to live a comfortable life. Any more is extra, but not life-or-death.

I have two small businesses myself. My duo and my BiaB aftermarket business. I make enough to pay operating costs, I don't have employees but I make enough to pay my subcontractors for the work they do, and Mrs. Notes and I paid off our mortgage, have zero debt, and aren't rich but live modestly.

We've been in this duo since 1985, we've had good years and bad years, if we needed to feed stockholders who do not material participate in the workings of the business and expect to see an increase in profits every quarter, we'd probably have to work 3 gigs a day, 365 days a year by now to keep them from jumping ship.

The problem with a corporation is that perpetual growth is needed, and perpetual growth in a closed system is impossible. Almost half the people owning stock do nothing to participate in that corporation. They want their stock to be worth more each quarter than the last, each year than the one before, each decade than the previous one, and so on.

How many more widgets can a company keep making? OK we sold a million this year, next year we need to sell 2 million, the year after that 3 million, the year after that 4 million, 5M for the next, etc. Where are we going to find the new customers? We've saturated the market? Ok now we have to figure out new ways, cut operating costs, make the products' life span shorter, and so on.

I'm not anti-capitalistic, but I am thoughtful enough to know both the blessings and curses of a corporate economy. Personally, I think communism has different but worse problems. If I were smart enough I'd figure out a system that is somewhere between the two extremes, and I've given it a lot of thought, but haven't come up with the answer, and probably never will (it's not my area of expertise).

I do hope Sweetwater doesn't fall into that mode.

Insights and incites by Notes
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Note: This only applies to this Band-in-a-Box product, and does not apply to other products that you might have in your order, including the physical backup copy if selected.

Band-in-a-Box® File Associations

You may have noticed when you were installing Band-in-a-Box® for Windows that you were asked if you would like to Associate Band-in-a-Box songs and styles with Band-in-a-Box? But, what does that mean?

It's actually pretty simple - basically, if you select this option while you're installing the program, files with the extensions .SGU, .MGU, and other Band-in-a-Box files will open directly in the program if you select them from outside the program.

Missed this option during your setup, but you'd like to apply it now? Go to File | File Utilities | Associate File types with Explorer within the program.

New Update for RealBand 2021 Available!

Do you use RealBand (included in all Band-in-a-Box® for Windows purchases)? Download the latest free update, which resolves a small viewing issue for Windows 11 users.

When you download the latest update for RealBand 2021, it will add all the updates we've made this year. See the full list here.

Ear Training Games in Band-in-a-Box® for Windows

October 1, 2021 is National Kids Music Day!

Head to the Practice Window in Band-in-a-Box® for Windows, and you'll see fun games that are fun ear training options for kids: Music Replay & Pitch Invasion.

Of course, you don't have to be a kid to like these games, I think there a fun way to learn at any age!

Music Replay is just what it sounds like - the program plays a 1-bar melody, and the user plays it back. Get it right, and you'll keep building that melody (and skill) within the game - get it wrong, and you'll be met with a warning tone and have to try again... it's quite addictive, and a lot of fun!

If you like a classic arcade game, then you'll love Pitch Invasion! We've managed to incorporate aliens with pitch-recognition skills in this exciting game, where you'll match the pitch of the alien ship descending towards your planet trying to destroy your collection of instruments - match the pitch and you've saved your instruments, make a mistake and the ship keeps coming... you'll have a few tries to get it right, if you're quick, but if all your instruments are destroyed - it's game over! The game speeds up as your skills improve, and you'll earn points along the way, with bonus points available throughout the game.

Open up your Band-in-a-Box® for Windows today to give it a try!

These ear training games are also included in Musical Arcade for Windows.

How to Make Backing Tracks with Band-in-a-Box®, by Nick Kellie

Band-in-a-Box® endorsing artist Nick Kellie recently got his hands on the newest Band-in-a-Box® 2021 for Mac, and put together this video showing off just how easy it is to make backing tracks in Band-in-a-Box®!

Band-in-a-Box Demo - How to make backing tracks

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