One of the advantages of being in business for oneself is that you can make business decisions immediately with nobody (except your partner, if you have one) to tell you no. A sweeping set of decisions has resulted from Evalyn's pointing out to me that while her company just created business cards for her, in fact she could be laid off at any time and probably would not be able to find another weekend job in nursing.
Managing this risk is of paramount importance. Accordingly I have decided to do art during the day and writing at night, with the whole music issue postponed. Yet a new option has arisen in the music business which has caused me to rethink my priorities there. Let me explain ...
While at Rockley music a few days ago I stumbled across a combined hardware/software package that seemed to have something to do with computerized composition. This stunned me because I had been assuming that I would have this market space all to myself. Cutting directly to the chase, I purchased this package today after confirming with a Rockley sales person -- Chris, the audio engineer -- that the package is actually an automatic accompaniment machine that stays in the midi realm so that the musical content of a piece can be analyzed and modified. These words are true for what I wanted to do,the question being how far the PreSonus people have taken their thinking as reflected in their PreSonus AudioBox Music Creation Suite package.
PreSonus is headquartered in Germany and as far as I can tell at this point, they have really done their homework. If you view AudioBox as an accompaniment machine as I do and as Chris does, their related addon for it makes perfect sense, they have an addon for it that they also named AudioBox. How unfortunate because this box is intended to fly live guitar and vocal tracks into the accompaniment box. The canonical lounge musician act is in fact a guitarist and a singer. Give them accompaniment that makes them sound like a large band and they will be super competitive in their local market. We did exactly this as Golden MIDI 25 years ago, but it was cumbersome. The PreSonus approach makes it all convenient in terms of packaging. It's completely self contained because, as I expect to confirm, the software within the Music Creator Suite contains tone generators.
So ... Chris confirmed my thumbnail description of how these two related products AudioBox (the guitar/vocal fly-in machine) plus Music Creator Suite (the accompaniment machine) had to work, separately and together. Guess what, sports fans? By the time I get finished the market for Music Creator without AudioBx (the closet record producer market) will be much larger than the market for Music Creator with AudioBox (the lounge lizard market).
What amazes me is that the Germans who designed these cooperating products understand them but their marketing people do not. A product that should be selling like wildfire at Guitar Center stores isn't even stocked by them. That is, they're aware of the product, but they are clueless about what it does and how it works, and their shelves are bare.
So ... Music Creator may well pre-empt my involvement with the Caekwalk SONAR market. The SONAR potential market is much larger -- 1.3 million existing customers -- but the Music Creator market should be trivially easy to penetrate once the correct marketing messages are worked up. What Evalyn and I are going to be looking at is ways to add propritary content to what the Germans have built, and then to become the largest dealer of Music Creator in North America.
As an independent dealer we would answer to no one. We can add our own content and create our own packaged systems without the permission of PreSonus USA. Heck, we can probably set things up so that the Music Creator packages are drop shipped directly to the customer, meaning that we can collect from the customer via credit card orders before we have to pay PreSonus.
Therefore all of this becomes an option that must be looked at now even if we decide to delay implementation. Accordingly I have purchased Music Creator. With in-store rebate it cost us $250 whereas a year ago the package was selling for $600. Evidently PreSonus thinks they have a pricing problem. They don't -- they have an education problem.
As my first computer marketing boss put it regarding our selling the obsolscing PDP-15, on the subject of our high prices he had this to say ... "Mike, first you have to make them want the product. If they want the product, price doesn't matter. If they don't want the product, price doesn't matter." How right he was.
All of this interacts not so much with the art decision -- we are still committed to finding out ASAP whether we can create unique art that actually will sell in significant numbers -- as with the writing scenario. I'm going to produce the airraft accident book as quickly as possible, which I still estimate will be a 01jan-16 rollout. However, music will jump to the front burner on 02jan-16 while we're waiting for sales results on the first book. If those results are bad then music will remain on the front burner because it will no longer be two years till music yields revenue -- more likely it will be something like six months.
If, however sales of the first book are strong then I will write a second book ASAP. However, it will not be a history of the 727. It will be a murder mystery revolving around the looting of a fictitious railroad museum. I suspect sales of this one would be as strong or stronger than the aircraft accidents book.
What happens with art? Answer, it remains on the front burner unless we crash and burn on either technology development (there is no point in our being a me too art company) or on sales (there is not point in our trying to sell if nobody wants to buy). The thing about art is that of the three activities, it is the one whose marketing value can be established the quickest.