Viewpoint | Danny Frank, New York City
As executive director of AMOA-New York, I read with great interest NSM Music's announcement on April 10: An invitation for operators to buy NSM jukeboxes and undertake a business relationship with the company.
Is NSM trying to embrace music operators by this news release and its appearance at this year's Amusement Expo? Is the company pretending that nothing has ever happened?
Music and games operators are known for their entrepreneurship, their survival-of-the-fittest instincts and their resilience. Since NSM has openly tried its best to dismiss, circumvent and undermine operators -- what measures can it take to earn back their respect? Why would any operator place his trust in NSM? Make an investment in NSM?
As for its decision to sell outside the industry channel, it appears that NSM is blaming the operator for not buying its boxes. Obviously, if selling direct were effective and achieving results, NSM would continue on this course. Perhaps, NSM realizes it's a dead-end road.
How can this company turn around?
For starters, NSM needs to compete by creating a jukebox and music network that are superior to the competition's.
Additionally, it needs to back down from its aggressive advertising tactics. Direct marketing programs fueled by slogans like: "Stop paying high fees and revenue share"; "Take control and keep more of the money you make now"; "...now offers bars, restaurant, and taverns the ability to purchase their own digital jukebox" do not instill trust.
But a major issue that begs for NSM's demonstration of honesty and transparency is documentation of its jukebox playlist. NSM's competitors have spent enormous sums of money in building and licensing their respective music catalogs, which in turn operators support through making regular payments. If NSM were proud of its playlist policies -- as an example of its management's ethical and legal business practices -- it would welcome public inquiry and operator inspection to attest to its soundness and legitimacy. It's widely believed by many industry members that NSM has been exploiting unfair advantage here. It is time for this jukebox company to prove these rumors wrong.
From where I sit, there are many successful operators who would welcome additional competition and sources for music content providers who are honorable and who understand the important role and value of the operator.
Industrywide, amid increasing market challenges, AMOA-New York continues to lead the fight to ensure that operators can compete on a level playing field.
DANNY FRANK, a New York-based public relations professional, is executive director of the Amusement and Music Owners Association of New York. Frank's history with the coin machine industry spans four decades. In one of his first assignments, he led the successful campaign to legalize pinball machines in New York City in 1975. As part of the strategy, he recruited pinball guru Roger Sharpe to demonstrate the game before the City Council.