Who Owns Whom? The Industry's Acquisition Binge
This has been the year that the music products industry around the world plays musical chairs. After six years of recession in which sales of drum sets (and some other instrument categories) plummeted, the industry has undergone a wave of consolidations, company sales, and new partnerships.
DW Goes On A Last Minute Binge
In the fall, Sabian started snacking on smaller companies, buying accessory makers and then taking overCrescent Cymbals early in the new year. But the biggest news in January was DW's purchase of LP Music, Kat, Toca, Gibraltar, and other brands from Fender Music's KMC subsidiary. They also got the distribution rights to Gretsch drums in that deal. Most drummers and industry-watchers were blindsided by this deal, since there had been zero rumors about it beforehand. But Fender has been unloading assets (Takamine, Guild) since last year in an attempt to slim down and remake itself. This was just weeks before Fender spun off the rest of KMC's distribution business to Jam Industries, a large Canadian distributor.
Subsequently to the DW deal, the internet went wild with speculation. Would DW be good for Gretsch? Or was this the end of an historic brand? What happened to dealers? Artist endorsers? The mix of product lines? A pair of hilarious Hitler parody videos hit the web (with an unforgettable Fuhrer wondering what brand he can play jazz on if Gretsch were to ever disappear.)
As things have quieted down and more news has trickled out, those who predicted a percussion apocalypse were a little hasty in reacting. The deal had been in the works for a year, but at some point DW backed out, and then late last year, the deal was on again. Don Lombardi, DW founder, and President Chris Lombardi both intend to keep Gretsch production in South Carolina. They anticipate no changes to Gretsch's product line for now, instead focusing on marketing, sales, and distribution strategies. Needless to say, they've got a lot on their plate but in talking with the company they are confidently moving ahead.
And Then There Was Sonor
The news from DW was so big that it swamped the announcement that KHS America, the distributor of Mapex and Majestic, took over Hohner America, which puts the Sonor drum brand under their control in the US. Sonor has been almost invisible in the US in recent years, so that might explain why that news didn't exercise fans to the degree that Gretsch's did.
The word on that deal is that Sonor has been a bit of an invalid, and KHS has high hopes for the brand. The drums they build in Germany are still great and there are a lot of Sonor fans worldwide. According to Marketing VP Mike Robinson, the company is taking its time integrating Hohner's many brands and product lines into the KHS operation. But once they do, he expects Sonor to have a much higher profile than it has had. KHS, founded in Taiwan in 1930, is a big player in the global music industry. They have a large stable of brands they distribute worldwide such as Altus flutes, Jupiter band instruments, Majestic concert percussion, and Walden guitars. They should have the know-how to pull this off and do a great job with Sonor.
This Is The End?
Just in case that was not enough excitement for the young year, in early February, the industry had a new topic on its mind: whether or not Guitar Center was headed for bankruptcy. Analyst Eric Garland, in a post ominously titled, "The End Of Guitar Center" laid out the case that Guitar Center will never be able to fully service the debt it was saddled with by previous owners Bain & Company (yes, that Bain). And, because of that, new owners Ares & Co. will sooner or later need an orderly bankruptcy process to shed debts and slim down the firm. Fuel was added to these fiery thoughts when GC laid off more than 100 managers at the end of January. [Several longtime friends of DRUM! departed the company at that time—we're glad that many of them have already landed in new positions.] A visit to Guitar Center in February yielded a little insight. The company is working hard on its current plans, and several new executives have been brought in to turbocharge areas such as e-commerce. They have lots of new products and even store openings in the pipeline. And, they have a deep reservoir of talent on their staff. Despite the difficulties the company may have experienced, Garland has made similar predictions in recent years. He hasn't been right yet.
What will the future hold? Our crystal ball is no better than yours. For now, we're just enjoying the show.
DRUM! Announces Led Zeppelin Quiz & Giveaway
Test Your Bonham Knowledge To Celebrate The Re-Release Of Physical Graffiti
Led Zeppelin recorded eight albums, and Jimmy Page has been meticulously re-releasing them one by one over the last 18 months. This week the ambitious double album Physical Graffiti was re-released forty years to the day after it came out. The album didn't feature much in the way of hits but it had plenty of songs that left an indelible mark in rock history, including important Bonham tunes such as "In My Time Of Dying" "Night Flight", to name but two. National Public Radio in the US interviewed Jimmy Page about it earlier this week.
DRUM! has partnered with the record company to give away dozens of pieces of Led Zeppelin triviana and collectibles, including turntable slipmats, pins, badges, coasters, reissued CDs, T-shirts, children's mobiles, postcards, plastic bags, and more.
Take The Quiz
Think you know your John Bonham trivia? To enter, just answer the 3-question quiz put together by our crack team of "Stairway To Heaven" fanatics and you could be one of ten lucky winners.
Billy Cobham Webcast Live From Ronnie Scott's
Ronnie Scott's, the legendary London jazz club, is bringing live HD video of Billy Cobham to the world this Thursday. They have announced the live streaming of global drum legend Billy Cobham's full performance on Friday 27th February 23.15 PM. This is a chance to experience one of the jazz in one of the world’s most iconic venues, all in stunning HD.
The live web stream of Cobham follows Ronnie Scott’s highly successful debut live stream of jazz legend WyntonMarsalis in 2013, when a worldwide audience of over 25,000 tuned in and follows on from last year’s highly successful streams of sold-out shows from Cécile McLorin Salvant, rising-soul star Jarrod Lawson and the Gala 55th Ronnie Scott’s Anniversary with Dianne Reeves concert in October.
With his matchless, dazzling, ambidextrous skills, Billy Cobham has applied the same insistent passion to his monumental achievements including his classic album Spectrum and his stint in the original Mahavishnu Orchestra. Access to the broadcast is free. Viewers will simply need to log onto the club’s website http://www.ronniescotts.co.uk at 11pm British Standard Time on Friday February 27th.
Physcial Graffiti Deluxe Edition Arrives 40 Years After Debut
DRUM! To Give Away Scads Of Zeppelin Collectibles Later This Month
It was forty years ago that Led Zeppelin unleashed Physical Graffiti on the world, and now it will be re-released as part of band's ongoing reissue campaign. The deluxe edition of the group's double-album opus will arrive 40 years to the day after the original debuted on February 24, 1975. The previous reissues were huge commercial successes, and this one will likely follow in their footsteps. And, as a bonus for Bonham fans, with this release DRUM!--with the help of Atlantic Records--will be announcing online contests to give away Zeppelin collectibles. Look for an announcement February 24, 2015.
As with the previous deluxe editions, Physical Graffiti has been newly remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page and is accompanied by a disc of companion audio comprising previously unreleased music related to the original release.
Physical Graffiti will be available February 24th from Atlantic/Swan Song in the following formats:
- Double CD – Remastered album packaged in a replica of the original LP jacket.
- Deluxe Edition (3CD) – Remastered album on two discs, plus a third disc of unreleased companion audio.
- Double LP – Remastered album on 180-gram vinyl, packaged in a sleeve that replicates the LP’s first pressing in exacting detail.
- Deluxe Edition Vinyl (3LP) – Remastered album and unreleased companion audio on 180-gram vinyl.
- Digital Download – Remastered album and companion audio will both be available in standard and high-definition formats.
- Super Deluxe Boxed Set – This collection includes:
- Remastered double album on CD in vinyl replica sleeve.
- Companion audio on CD in card wallet featuring new alternate cover art.
- Remastered double album on 180-gram vinyl in a sleeve replicating first pressing.
- Companion audio on 180-gram vinyl in a sleeve with new alternate cover art.
- High-definition audio download card of all content at 96kHz/24 bit.
- Hard bound, 96 page book filled with rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia.
- High-quality print of the original album cover, the first 30,000 of which will be individually numbered.
Drum Teacher Keith Copeland Passes
Drummer Keith Copeland who was renowned for his role as a teacher to many famous drummers has passed away at the age of 68.
Keith was the son of well-known trumpeter Ray Copeland, and turned to drums after hearing Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers as a kid. Copeland went on to play with dozens of bands and put his mark on more than 100 recordings. He logged time with starts such as the Heath Brothers, George Russell, Frank Foster, Slide Hampton, Milt Jackson, Jo Anne Brackeen, John Dankworth, Rory Stuart, Stanley Cowell, Paul Bley, Howard Alden, Chris Connor, Stan Getz, Ray Anderson, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Tom Harrell, Phil Woods, Roger Kellaway, Stephane Grappelli, Teddy Edwards, Sir Roland Hanna, and Sonny Fortune.
During his teaching career Keith worked at Berklee, Rutgers, Long Island University, New School, Queens College, and Hochschule Für Musik Mannheim-Heidelberg in Germany, gaining reputation through his tutelage of students such as Terry Lyne Carrington and others. He was the author of the book Creative Coordination For The Performing Drummer.