Top navigation

OPINION: 'Supporting industry initiatives and events are essential to business growth'

Laura  Barnes
OPINION: 'Supporting industry initiatives and events are essential to business growth'

Kevin Harding, director of the Academy of Music & Sound has expanded on his comments from this month’s Advisory Board theme to explain why he believes retailers, distributors and manufacturers needs to do more to support industry initiatives and events.

In answering the question ‘What do we all want from the MI Industry?' in this month’s Advisory Board, I would like to see an effort by all to support those who endeavour to provide services to the MI industry but are sadly let down by apathy.

I think it was the protest songwriter Ewan MacColl who said: “The day you stop protesting is the day you die” and as I'm feeling pretty alive, here follows a bit of a rant, extending on my comments in the recent Advisory Board article.

In attending various MI events over the past few years, I've seen efforts made by industry people (without any bias to one store or another) who genuinely work their nuts off to help and support MI stores by organising trade events that everyone benefits from and should go to no matter how big or small their store is.  
Article continues below


I can't deny the location for the MI Expo this year, whilst spectacular (Arsenal FC Emirates stadium), was a pain in the preverbal to get to, but unless these events are supported by MI stores, manufacturers, distributers and service providers, then the event organisers will just not bother anymore.

The result will be everyone missing out on opportunities to learn from guest speakers, find new suppliers/customers, network with industry professionals and benefit from ‘on the day’ deals.

I'm a firm believer that you only get out what you put in and supporting industry initiatives are essential and equally linked to business growth.

I'll give you a prime example.

Each year I travel an arduous journey (5-6 hours by car/train if I'm lucky) to the Creative & Cultural Skills annual conference in Thurrock. At the 2012 event, the chairman encouraged me to bid for a pot of money the Government was giving away to develop industry skills training. Had I not attended, I would not have known about this and certainly not been personally approached about bidding.

£1.3 million later, I considered this a very worthwhile day out of the office resulting in many MI stores taking on apprentices through our Music Instrument Training & Apprenticeship Scheme (MIRTAS).

Now, I'm not suggesting attending the MI Expo or any other event is going to be as lucrative, but unless you put yourself out there by networking with industry colleagues (even competitors) and learning from industry professionals, then who knows what your business is missing out on.

I do appreciate taking time out of a business to attend a trade event can be difficult with staffing and prospective loss of sales, but these events only happen a couple times a year and even if you attend just one, I'm sure you'll more than make up for whatever you lose – even if its only to protest about the state of the country, your competitors, products or whatever your angst of the day is to fellow industry attendees!

Please support those people and events that are trying their very best to support you and your business next year.

Rant over, so a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year to you all.

Kevin Harding is the director of the Academy of Music & Sound. For more information visit

Tags: Events , Academy of Music and Sound , kevin harding , Opinion , MI Expo

Follow us on