LA Audio Show Cancellation - Another Sign That There ARE Too Many Audio Shows

Last Wedensday the Audio world was "shocked" to find an email in their in-box announcing the cancellation of the Los Angeles Audio Show. Frankly, I was surprised that it lasted as long as it did... 

AR-audshow1a.pngAs to the specific reasons why the show has been cancelled, I've seen explanations from the producer as well as many comments from industry participants, And while we may never know all the reasons for the cancellation, but we can certainly make semi-educated guesses as to some of the why's of its demise. Simply stated, the show was not going to be successful. The reasons for its failure could be as simple as inadequate staffing or poor cash flow, or as complicated as human interactions can be under stress. But regardless of the reasons, Consumers and exhibitors have one less show option, which may not be a completely bad thing. 

The question for me and for anyone who exhibits or attends audio shows regularly is, "How many audio shows do I need to do a year?" For a journalist I think the answer is simple - two, spaced six months apart. For me and those of my ilk, if you check in on a manufacturer twice a year you will stay in touch and find out what they have that's new. I think increasing the frequency to, say, quarterly or four times a year is way more than needed. The granddaddy of all US shows, CES, was held two times a year for a good reason - it was the right number of shows per year for journalists and manufacturers back in the day, and may still be... 

AR-audshow6a.pngFor a modern-day manufacturer the problem of "How many shows is the right number?" becomes a more complicated question. It often comes down to the question of how much "presence" in the marketplace does a manufacturer need to maintain and possibly expand their sales and market share? If a show is a regional consumer show, does the manufacturer have retailers who want to support the product (and would like some support from the manufacturer to make that happen) or will it be all on the manufacturer's shoulders? 

Perhaps there is a limit, not due to consumer demand, (CANJAM has shown that smaller, one-day portable/personal/headphone show can be quite successful) but due to manufacturer (and journalist) burn-out. Perhaps the two-show-a-year spread out by six months from each other is also the best way for a manufacturer to address shows? But can we ever put the Genie back into the bottle and go back to two major International shows a year? Probably not... 

AR-audshow4a.pngSome International/Regional shows have been successful enough to have gained "critical mass" and inertia to keep them going, almost autonomously, for years to come. Hong Kong, and the Tokyo Headphone Show are two examples of regional/International shows that have momentum, as do the myriad of CANJAM shows. Munich is a juggernaught. Obviously, the LA show did not have a similar upward trajectory. 

What solutions can I, a humble scribe, suggest? None, actually. Unless some "umbrella" organization comes along and takes over ALL the audio shows and arranges them in a world-wide systematic manner (sort of like an international audio mafia), we will have to rely on the vagaries and conflicts inherent in an open market to determine which audio shows rise to the top of the show hierarchy. 

One thing IS for sure the next big audio event will not be the LA Audio Show...

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