I'm writing this on the sixth anniversary of the tragedy we now refer to as 9/11, with its repercussions that changed the nation and the world. Recalling the horrors of that day is tough, but life goes on. Even that tiny microcosm known as professional audio had to adapt, change and move forward, with the 2001 AES convention (originally scheduled just weeks after the World Trade Center disaster) postponed to late-November.
AES was right in not canceling the show. But even with fewer exhibitors, many who attended that AES felt that it was perhaps the best show in years. Why? Well, the secret to a great tradeshow often has little to do with the exposition.
A hall crammed with gleaming new products and technologies is traditionally the “hook” of any tradeshow, and with hundreds of exhibitors hawking their latest whizbangs and hoo-hahs, this year's AES will certainly deliver in that regard. There will also be a great selection of papers and events to keep you way busy, along with two workshops and a master class on game audio production — AES gets hip! However, the magic of AES actually comes from the attendees themselves.
This gathering of the tribes doesn't necessarily take place on the show floor, but in the corridors, the Javits lobby, the shuttle buses, the interminably long elevator lines (an AES tradition), the parties or in the bars of the Marriott Marquis or any of the dozen other official show hotels. Often these nontraditional locales are where the real action is. In a flash, e-mail addresses are exchanged, leading to someone's next gig; two developers debate approaches to filter design; or ideas are sketched on menus, placemats or cocktail napkins, leading to some new product design you'll see on the floor of AES 2008.
If you're looking for industry action, New York AES is the place to be for audio pros — and it's all about people first and products second. The sage who once said, “Nobody ever walks down the street humming a reverb preset” was right: Technology is just a tool. Music comes from emotion, from people's heart and soul. With that in mind, when we began planning Mix's 30th-anniversary issue, we wanted to reflect on some of the individuals who have made their mark on the industry and society as a whole in the past 30 years. To be sure, the world of 2007 bears little semblance to 1977 when that first issue of Mix hit the streets. But analog or digital, virtual or actual, the words of that Duke Ellington hit “it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing” still ring true. Our romp through the past three tumultous decades begins on page 33.
Speaking of changes, our own Joanne Zola steps up to the group publisher position for Mix, Electronic Musician and Remix magazines. She's been here since 1991, and as associate publisher of Remix built the successful Remix Hotel franchise and, more recently, was our director of interactive and live media.
See you at AES!