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Hats Off To Our Music Majors
Coin-op vets know that prior to the mid-1970s, the AMOA was the MOA—the Music Operators of America. The association's roots run deep in music. During the video game boom years, this fact may have gotten a bit fuzzy in the minds and pocketbooks of some, but certainly, during the past few years, many operators have experienced a renaissance in music. The jukebox of the digital age has regained its rightful position as the crown jewel of the industry.
Recently, there have been "issues" on the provider side of the boxes: The business model of NSM perceived by many to pose a threat to operators (though recent reports in the trade press suggest a change in the company's approach) and the sudden, unexpected exit of Ecast.
Yes, concern lingers among some within the industry that the NSM/Ecast scenarios — selling direct or exiting the business — could happen with our now two remaining, primary sources of music machines and content.
AMI and TouchTunes, please pardon the paranoia, but for most operators, having "corporate partners" sharing revenues in the supply chain is still a relatively new phenomenon, so the NSM/Ecast issues inevitably fuel the conspiracy theories.
Reality is, both AMI and TouchTunes have done much to demonstrate their commitment to the industry and deserve to be recognized for it. Both are rolling out truly exciting, cutting-edge equipment and creative programs.
TouchTunes had a powerful presence at the show. AMI quickly and deftly supported Ecast orphans. Both have been actively involved with industry national and state organizations, participated in the St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser, AMOA State Council meetings, Expo educational sessions and other coin-op programs and activities. TouchTunes pulled off the Beatles coup. AMI is pulling out of Mexico and expanding its operations in Texas.
Sure, some ops would sleep better if there were a handful of jukebox providers out there, but in many ways, the industry is fortunate to have two damn good ones who are helping operators and their customers make money on the crown jewel category of their business: Music.
Tomorrow is another day and, from experience, we know how quickly things can change, but as the first week of May 2012 winds down, let's give credit where credit is due this day and tip our caps to our "music majors."