September 2013 Archives

Gibson Acquires Cakewalk

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Roland Corporation announced on September 24 that the company and Gibson Brands, Inc. reached an agreement to transfer Roland's all shares of Cakewalk to Gibson.

Though Roland has distributed Cakewalk music software since 1995, it has come to a conclusion that Cakewalk can further expand business under different ownership given the present market conditions. It's part of the ongoing restructuring plans of Roland.

Gibson, which has been exploring new businesses in recent years, surfaced as a new parent company of Cakewalk. In May, Gibson acquired TEAC, one of the leading audio products manufacturers. After the transition, Cakewalk products will be sold under TASCAM brand name.

Roland will continue distribution of Cakewalk products and provide customers with services after business transaction completes until Gibson builds up its own distribution system. 

Launched in 1989 in Boston, MA, Cakewalk has Sonar and Music Creator computer software for recording and music making.

Nakata was named president of Yamaha Corp. at the annual stockholders' meeting in June. Joined the company in 1981, he has experienced various key positions at Digital Music Products and Pro Audio Divisions. From 2010 to March 2013, he served as president of Yamaha Corporation of America. Having started Yamaha Management Plan 2016 last April, Yamaha has announced 3 strategic corporate plans; 1, Maintaining growth, 2, Enhanced profitability, and 3, Keep holding technological edge. Japan Music Trades asked him future business prospects of the company.

Integrated full-line manufacturer

-- What do you expect for the recently introduced restructuring and organizational plans?
Nakata: Yamaha is recognized as a full-line manufacturer. My intention is to make musical instruments and sound products divisions, which are core businesses of Yamaha, more integrated and consolidate our expertise. Under the new organizational scheme, they now operate as a huge one single unit. 

We have a fine asset of established technologies and know-how accumulated over a century history. By combining these, we can develop something original and innovative with revised value. With the traditional organizational structure where individual divisions are consisted of planning, manufacturing and distribution departments, the result is just we have some extra businesses. On the contrary, broader organizational structure is expected to generate magnified effects. That's what I really want to see in Yamaha. We sow as greater varieties of seeds as possible in the soil, because we know that only very few of them would grow. We need versatile seeds to make our growth continue in the future.
I had long felt that being a full-line manufacturer is our strength, but it can turn into weakness. If integrated wisdom doesn't work, we may loose edgy point to specialist manufacturers. I believe consolidated power can generate much greater result in our business.

Global marketing

-- How do you see present music market?
Nakata: We see limited growth in developed countries such as U.S., Europe and Japan, but I think we can regain the sales we lost after the recent economic downturn with new value-added products. While, music market is growing in the developing countries. Today, markets in developed countries share a little over 60% of our business, and China and other emerging markets, 30 plus percent. The balance can change quickly in the coming years.

Yamaha launched distributors in Russia, India and very recently in Vietnam, and a retail outlet in Turkey, and a liaison office in South Africa. China comes first in terms of total value, but we see fast and significant growth in Indonesian and Indian markets. Adding Africa and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) markets, we expect additional 30 billion yen sales in 3 years. While supplying attractive products at reasonable price, we promote music education in these new markets based on our proven music teaching operation. Market development in association with music lesson programs worked effective in Asian markets. The same can happen in Near, Middle and East Asia, and Africa.

As to the slow domestic market, we need to promote benefits of learning music at Yamaha Music Schools to students and parents. We don't just teach how to play musical instruments, but basic understanding of music, which will provide young generations with lifetime enjoyment of music playing. Electone best serves the purpose as children can easily understand melody, harmony and rhythm, the basics of music. I learned myself to play electronic organ when a child. Later, I turned to guitar, but what I learned with organ helps me even today as an asset to play and enjoy music. I feel we can appeal children and parents again real benefits of taking music lesson through revised promotional activities.

What makes ahead of Yamaha?

-- Which business lines do you most expect in the years to come?
Nakata: Sound products and electronic keyboards. In China, sales of acoustic pianos is a little slowing down, while, demands are increasing for digital pianos. Digital pianos skipping acoustic counterparts can also happen in other young markets. We can better meet the demands with the instruments specially designed for these markets.

Another segment is networking technology. Latest sound products can be complete with rooter and other device in a network system. I believe Yamaha's established sound, networking technologies and related know-how are great asset, which will bring us new multi-faceted business opportunities. Digital sound technologies are almost the same as those built into Ethernet system. That means PA business today can't exist without networking technology, and more and more IT specialists are involved in this business. We can present new innovative ideas to the market taking advantage of our IT products and our proven technologies.
To accelerate new businesses, we set up New Business Development Division that will report me directly. It will help us more responsive and evaluate new business ideas, and quick to make necessary decisions.

We are very excited with the new organizational structure, which will enhance our overall performance, and contribute to the future course of Yamaha.



School Music Revival Live 2013

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School Music Revival Fund, a project launched to support school music damaged by the 3.11 North-eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, staged the 2nd School Music Revival Live on August 4 at Natori Culture Center Large Hall, Miyagi Pref. Twelve bands from 10 senior-high schools in North-eastern Japan and a local senior high school guest band performed to the audience almost packed to capacity. 
Japan Musical Instruments Assn. with Takuya Nakata as president has played a key role since the launch of SMR providing checking and repair services of damaged musical instruments used at the schools, and organizing concerts.

As of August 9, the Fund raised a total of 136.81 million yen, checked 3,304 musical instruments and gave 1,987 of them necessary repair services during the 1st stage of the activities.

The 2nd stage explored to give the children musical experience with concerts for 160 kindergartens and elementary schools in the area with help of 43 music teachers and orchestra members. The activities culminated in the first SMR Live August 2012.

Ryuichi Sakamoto, a delegate of the project, served general producer of the live, again. He commented after the concert that the students were more enthusiastic playing music and looked increasingly positive toward the future than last year. (Photo right: Ryuichi Sakamoto, right, and Mari Watanabe, MC)

SMR Fund completes its activities next year with the 3rd concert planned on August 3 at Tokyo Electron Hall Miyagi in Sendai. It asks industry members and music societies continuous support for the final year.  (



How to Make Your Music Teaching Studio More Attractive

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Almost everyone feels that we can no longer live in society without Internet. It provides us with vast information and people source. We can't do business unless connected with Internet. It goes the same with music teaching studio operation. Music stores having a well designed website, using blog, twitter and Facebook operate successful music teaching studio crowded with students. Internet is a helpful tool, however, when badly applied, it doesn't work. How can you increase traffic to your studio effectively using Internet? Here are some tips.

1. Design inviting website: Don't make it a one-way information center. It should be an inviting site for viewers. People judge your studio with store traffic. More visitors at the studio, the better result you will get. 

2. Photos of students, instructors and parents at studios uploaded on website give viewers a safe and pleasant image. The best idea is to show 20 to 30 people throughout the website. Smiling face give viewers a sense of comfort, and cast a positive influence on the website. Smile generates a warm atmosphere. A past case shows 5 new students enrolled in 2 months simply by replacing plain studio image data with smiling faces in classroom.
In many cases, new students are most interested in instructors. It's recommended to upload photos of all instructors taken by one photographer at same time, same day. It will give a unified image of studios. Instructors should be notified uploading purpose and on which section of the website they are listed. It's important to keep good communication with instructors and express appreciation of their support.

3. Another point is to include comments from students on the website. They will often better illustrate instructors. Visitors will get positive image from favorable commentaries.

4. Just a single photo of music lesson efficiently tells good relationship of instructor and students in class, and it sends viewers an inviting message.

All in all, it's more a positive atmosphere of studio than excellent page design. Friendly smile of students tell everything. Please include their happy photos in your website. 
   (Takuhiro Toh, president of Lila Musica piano teaching studio consulting service company)