April 14, 2020 I MI Publisher I by Frank Alkyer
April 2, 2020—The staff of Music Inc. has been sheltering, distancing, working from home for two weeks now. We Zoom video conference with the team every morning to set our priorities for the day. We break off into other smaller meetings throughout the day to ensure the work is getting done, and done properly.
This edition is much different than any issue of Music Inc. you’ve seen before.
First off, it’s smaller. It has to be. Our industry, along with the world, is hurting. We’ve been hearing about manufacturing and retail shutdowns along with furloughs of 80-90% for some companies, entire layoffs for others. In all the interviews and conversations we’ve had, there is a true pain in the voices of executives. The hardship hit not only companies but also employees and families.
Second, our cover is a pandemic, not a retailer. Coronavirus, that’s the story, front, center and omnipresent.
But how do we write about a moving target in a monthly magazine, especially when the news changes by the day and by the hour?
We chose to write about a time frame—March 10 through March 20—some of the early days of truly dealing with coronavirus. It represents how leaders were reacting—in real-time—and documents how our industry responded to a constantly changing stream of news and challenges.
We continue to document what’s happening day-by-day on our website musicincmag.com. At the same time, leadership is showing in the industry with resources flowing to help entrepreneurs deal with the pandemic.
NAMM has been stellar with a series of timely webinars. For example, on March 25, they posted one on how to teach private and group lessons online. On March 30-31, there was a two-part series on the key provisions of the Cares Act and what that means for small businesses. On April 1, Alan Friedman and Daniel Jobe from the accounting firm of Friedman, Kannenberg & Co. delivered a session on financial and tax response to Covid-19.
NAMM has also created a special page, namm.org/covid-19, where all of these resources and many more can be found and reviewed.
More days, more news and, as of this writing, we are still deep in the thick of this crisis. That said, the buds of innovation, ingenuity and opportunity are just beginning to sprout. Take, for example, a letter on page 10 from Mark Hiskey, president of Ilio, saying his company is seeing a steady flow of sales through its digital distribution portal.
John D’Addario III, president and CEO of J. D’Addario & Co., lamented that his company had to furlough some 90% of its employees, but noted that the company’s sales in China for the first quarter were up 23%. Remember, China at that time was at the height of its coronavirus crisis, but because so much retail is done online there, sales continued.
No question, this pandemic is going to change our industry forever. Take a deep breath. Let’s get through this. And let’s look ahead and embrace the change.
In the meantime, we wish you, your employees, your companies and your families health and safety. MI