June 03, 2020 I Coronavirus

RPMDA Holds Virtual Annual Meeting

RPMDA members meet via Zoom teleconference for their annual business meeting.

The Retail Print Music Dealers Association could not hold its annual convention last April due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the organization did conduct its annual meeting via teleconference on May 22.

David Jahnke, RPMDA president and senior vice president of Hal Leonard, began the meeting lamenting that the 45th annual convention could not take place in New Orleans as scheduled.

“We were so excited to be going to New Orleans,” Jahnke said. “But then everything changed. Whether it was safer-at-home initiatives, shutter-in-place or international travel bans, it was decided that we were all better off to basically take a pause from social interaction.

“A lot of businesses were forced to close. Others scrambled to meet essential status. Work-from-home became a new norm. Families had to juggle work, education, unemployment. Yet, out of all of this chaos and uncertainty, something beautiful happened. Music happened.”

Jahnke said there has probably been more music being made at home during the pandemic than any other time in history.

“I’m hearing things like portable keyboard sales are at record numbers,” he said “And so are ukuleles. Basically anything that has the USB plug has been going crazy. So, I’ve also heard that there hasn’t been a drop in music lessons. Music will find a way.”

Jahnke noted that this is good news for RPMDA members because print music provides the roadmap to “help people get the most out of their music journey. Print is an essential product, and you know what, we have government approvals to prove it.”

Ron Manus, RPMDA secretary/treasurer and chief business development officer at Alfred Music, said the organization is in good financial shape, especially given the circumstances of not having a convention this year.

Manus said the organization has a fiscal year-end balance in its foundation of $50,229 for 2019, up from $45,223 in 2018.

The convention itself maintained a balance of $33,018 for the fiscal year ending April 30. The balance was $40,932 the previous year.

“We had the six weeks, which is a least some time, before our convention started, when [the coronavirus] hit,” Manus said. “We were very patient, and we worked really close to with all our partners, and we got all our refunds back. It is really actually pretty impressive how we were able to work closely with all of our partners and have almost zero impact from the cancelling of events.”

Manus said the organization does have expenses going forward for line items such as organization management and the RPMDA website, but expects to have a balance of $30,000 going into next year.

“We’re doing great with all things considered, and we should be fine to get us through this,” he said.

The membership voted to keep the current board intact, even though there would have been a change in any other year. Jahnke remains as president; Mike Watson, Remenyi House of Music in Montreal, vice president; Manus secretary/treasurer; Tracy Leenman, Musical Innovations in South Carolina, member-at-large; and Carl Kjos, Kjos Music in San Diego, member-at-large.

The organization is keeping its options open for next year’s convention. It is currently scheduled to take place in Montreal, but the board is looking at other options, including New Orleans.

RPMDA currently has 74 members—36 commercial and 38 retail.


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