SPARS Annual Report from President Eric Johnson

Greetings SPARS Members and other recording professionals,

I am taking a moment to write this letter to bring you up to date on SPARS activities this past year and to make you aware of some of our plans for the immediate future.

First, I want to thank Leslie Ann Jones of Skywalker Sound for serving as SPARS President for two consecutive terms and for her continued guidance and support not only for me as incoming President, but to SPARS, and to the recording industry as a whole.

I am excited to share some of this year’s highlights with you…

SPARS has had a dramatic increase in membership with over thirty new members since the first of this year. Last Fall, the Board of Directors voted to reduce the annual dues making it easier to be a member at every level. They also endorsed an aggressive program to recruit engineers and producers who own smaller facilities or free lance their services. If you are not a member of SPARS, you should consider joining and taking another look at what we are doing.

Our “SPARS [email protected] HotZone” event at the NAMM show in January was a solid hit. With sponsorship from The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences, CD Baby, Disc Makers, The Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G), PMC, Prism Sound, Shure, Studio Suite 9, Waves, and Dave and Lisa Hampton, we were able to conduct six workshops including “Modern Branding Strategies”, “The Art and Business of Music for Games”, “Record at Home and on the Road like a Pro”, “Building Buzz and Selling Your Music Online”, “Collaborative Workflows for Music Production”, and “How to Leverage Video to Promote and Sell your Music”. We had over 350 attendees and the PR benefit was immeasurable.

SPARS recently launched the first of several new Blogs, “SPARS Beat,” written by SPARS Board member, Kirk Imamura, President of Avatar Studios, NY. The blog will become part of SPARS new Web 2.0 on-line initiative (more details below).

SPARS “Sound Bytes” newsletter has continued to highlight news and events from our members and industry sources, but we need to do more to provide a sense of community and a source for knowledge. To that end, SPARS is in the process of a major re-do of our Web Site to support interactive media and social networking.

At the heart of this development is an expanded section of our “Sound Bytes” newsletter, which will allow us to solicit third party content from SPARS members and industry leaders. This Fall you will begin to see a number of blogs and “how to” articles appear in the newsletter and on the SPARS site with practical application to the recording process and our industry. Readers will be able to respond and add to the articles. As time passes, this content will become a valuable source of information and knowledge. You will see more news regarding the new site in the days ahead.

SPARS recently organized a one-of-a-kind demonstration linking Pro Tools systems in New York at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Full Sail University in Orlando with Source-Connect, a product by Source Elements. More New York events are in the works for later this Fall thanks to Kirk Imamura of Avatar Studios.

SPARS is a proud sponsor of the upcoming Mix Nashville event rescheduled for September 13 and 14 due to the horrific flooding in Nashville. We encourage as many of you as possible to attend. We’ll have a presence there so please be sure to look us up.

Look for more local events in the coming months and please let us know if you would be willing to offer your facility for future SPARS Sessions or if you have ideas for topics. We hope in the near future to be able to offer video from our events on the SPARS website so that members can “attend’ the event regardless of where they live.

In the next few weeks the board will be meeting to discuss our presence at the upcoming AES Convention in San Francisco among other things. SPARS is only as good as it’s members allow it to be, so please share any ideas you have with us. Our industry, technology, and the world in general are currently experiencing a great deal of change but rest assured that your Executive Director Paul Christensen and the entire Board of Directors are working to keep SPARS relevant in this remarkable time in which we live.

Best Wishes

Eric W. Johnson
SPARS President
Executive Producer
Blazing Music + Sound

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