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Re: music just for musicians?

At 8:50 PM 1/31/97, neato@pipeline.com wrote:
>ghogan@lexicon.com wrote:
>>We have sold around 8000 JAMMEN as opposed to maybe 5000 each of the M300
>>and M480L. Low end products require a lower margin(earned dollars) then
>>higher end products thus a higher volume is required for a product to be
>>deemed successful.
>neato says:
>there is however a big difference...reverb processing machines are a known
>entity...the jamman was basically a new concept all together...it takes
>time to promote an entirely new idea...the problem is the original jamman
>is/was already obsolete...perhaps lexicon is just not the company to break
>them (as their strength was never really catering to a low end market)...a
>bigger better (ie more expensive) jamman perhaps...but a low(er) cost
>looper might have to fall into the hands of alesis,peavey or digitech..or
>maybe even as a piece of computer software

I think neato has made some good observations here. Looping needed time to
catch on, and Lexicon didn't have the patience to wait for it. It is a new
concept for most people, and they needed to hear others using it before
they "got" it. That is only just beginning to happen. Now you see Guitar
Player mentioning looping in nearly every issue, and loop based music of
various sorts is beginning to dominate most forms of popular music. I think
that has everything to do with demand going up for such devices. In fact,
this always happens with new musical instrument products, and maybe Lexicon
was a bit naive or too inexperienced with the MI market to realize that.
It's NOT the same as pro-audio, that's for sure.

But I have another observation. How is it that Lexicon could consider 8000
units sold over a three year period a failure? That's not a small number
for a music industry product. Is the problem maybe one of internal
organization and manufacturing practices? Several times I've heard Jon
refer to "warehouses full of Jammen/vortex" which were soaking up lots of
cash in inventory. Sounds like poor sales forcasting, for one thing. But
more importantly, why did you make them all at once? Just about the whole
manufacturing world uses just-in-time manufacturing processes. It worked
for Toyota and the rest of Japan, it worked for GM, it works for the whole
computer industry, it even works for lowly little Oberheim. Did you guys
miss that seminar series or what?

Oberheim has been selling the low cost Matrix-1000 synthesizer for
something like 10 years. They sell 50-100 a month. Sometimes less,
sometimes more. The manufacturing is contracted out to a manufacturing
house with a great deal of expertise in jit manufacturing. The parts come
through distributors set up for delivering to jit processes. This all
allows for volume pricing distributed over time. Oberheim has matrix-1000's
made according to how many orders there are at a given time. They pay for
that many and make a profit on each one. The overhead for Oberheim is very
low. They can probably continue making this synth for years with little
change in the profit picture. No warehouses. No big cash outlays. How come
Lexicon doesn't do that?

Remember, electric guitars didn't see these kinds of numbers in their early
years of production, as I've mentioned before. Neither did synthesizers or
any other new type of instrument I can think of. I don't think 8000 Les
Pauls were sold in the first 3 years of production. I don't know the
numbers for Fender and Rickenbacher, but I doubt they were seeing real big
numbers with their early electric guitars either. I don't think any of
those companies are sorry they kept at it. I'm sure not, otherwise I'd be
playing clarinet.


Kim Flint                   | Looper's Delight
kflint@annihilist.com       | http://www.annihilist.com/loop/loop.html
http://www.annihilist.com/  | Loopers-Delight-request@annihilist.com