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With the British Music Fair upon us the musical equipment manufacturers are proving there's nothing like the hi-tech end of the music market for innovation - and no-one like MT to pass Comment on it.

SOMETHING IN THE air - or more accurately, something on my feet - suggests it's showtime again. First, the APRS recording show, held at the end of June. This is a mild-mannered event, but as usual, the calm atmosphere of this year's show disguised the fact that there were a lot of innovations being displayed, and a lot of business deals being struck.

There would have been a full report on the proceedings in the issue you're holding now - had it not been for events 4000 miles away in Chicago just a day later. For this year, as in 1986, the American music industry gathered in the Windy City for its annual summer expo, a huge and moderately tasteless affair that is quite unlike any music trade show anywhere in the world.

Undeniably, the influence of summer NAMM is declining relative to that of its winter counterpart, usually held in Los Angeles around the end of January. Yet despite this, the Chicago event still seems capable of throwing up more surprises in the way of new musical innovations.

Hence, beginning on page 63, you'll find the biggest show report we've ever compiled. Over 8500 words from four on-the-spot contributors, together with our usual selection of colour snaps from around the exhibition halls, just to give you an idea of why we found ourselves able to write so much.

You'll get your own opportunity to see much of the new gear "in the metal" if you venture down to Olympia between July 31 and August 2. You've read the previews, you've seen the horrendous press ads, and now the only thing to do is hop on a train and make sure you don't miss out on this year's British Music Fair.

For while summer NAMM dwindles in importance and the rest of Europe's summer shows do little but bide time, the BMF goes from strength to strength. More exhibitors than ever this year, twice as much space to roam around in, and a predicted record-breaking attendance level.

What makes the BMF so attractive? Partly the fact that the London event makes such a clear distinction between the days when the public is not admitted (this year, July 28-30) and the days when they are. The trade can do their business unhindered for three days midweek, while exhibitors can get vital feedback from punters over the weekend, without having to worry about business.

Another reason could simply be that - as we've mentioned before - London is a major capital of modern music. Which is more than you can say for Paris, Milan, or even Chicago. The record industry may be turning out its biggest heap of trash for 25 years, but there's more of that trash coming out of London than almost anywhere else on Earth.

Finally, I believe the timing of the BMF actually suits manufacturers and dealers better than NAMM's regular June slot. Barely four months of precious R&D time have passed since Frankfurt when the time comes to book the plane tickets to the Great Lakes, which is why there are always so many thrown-together prototypes on display in Chicago. At Olympia, the machines tend to be better finished, and as a result, trade visitors seem to be more willing to get out their cheque-books.

As for bad points, the only negative thing I can think of about the BMF is the catering. Perhaps we'll see more musicians bringing cucumber sandwiches this year.

Meanwhile, back across the fen in Cambridge, things are again proceeding apace in the Music Maker Publications empire. Result? A couple more slots to be filled on the staff of Music Technology, as the rest of us file on up the ladder of bureaucracy to reach our own levels of incompetence.

The gaps we have to fill are for an all-round production person to assist in sub-editing, proofreading, and generally kicking the rest of the editorial team where it hurts; and for a young staff writer to research and write up features on the full range of topics covered by the magazine. Salary for both jobs is negotiable (read low), and we need to know you're interested by the second week of August.

The last time we needed staff, we received an Everest of applications, but don't let that put you off. If you think you can outshine the competition, pop a CV in the post to us.

Better still, hand it in to us in person at the BMF; we're on stand N4, right next to the National Hall entrance. Who knows? You may just take our minds off the catering.

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Music Technology - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.


Music Technology - Aug 1987

Editorial by Dan Goldstein

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