Speakers

Creating a Digital Music Showroom

Lenbrook's Digital Music Experience Center, a $28,000 pre-packaged 450-square-foot demo area, helps specialty retailer The Little Guys boost sales of digital music systems.


Lenbrook's Digital Music Experience Center is a $28,000, pre-packaged demo area that helps specialty retailers boost sales of digital music systems.

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The trend is clear: Physical media for audio is dying a slow death as more consumers embrace digital music, from downloads to storage to Cloud-based solutions.

For Mokena, Ill.-based The Little Guys, a CE Pro 100 company, that trend has become a reality. That’s why David Wexler has become the first to install a new pre-packaged education and demo area from The Lenbrook Group.

It’s called the Digital Music Experience Center (DMEC), and Wexler carved out a 475-square-foot area in his specialty retail showroom for the DMEC to educate and demo real-world applications on how to obtain, store and transport personal music collections. Lenbrook’s copyrighted plan combines high-performance audio components with computer technology and other features that allow consumers to experience music in the showroom just as they would in their everyday lives.

“The fundamental objectives of our plan,” says Dean Miller, president and CEO of Lenbrook America, “are to introduce and educate specialty dealers to a holistic approach to marketing computer audio; to drive traffic into specialty retailers, and more specifically, to become more attractive to a new buying group (demographic) of younger people that are well aware of digital music but not necessarily aware of high-resolution audio and the performance enhancements it offers.”

Miller first got the idea in 2011 as he was moving from AudioQuest to Lenbrook, which distributes the NAD and PSB brands. He pulled together a consortium of people and companies to create the DMEC, including AudioQuest and Panamax/Furman, along with industry notables Chris Connaker (president & founder of ComputerAudiophile.com) and Gordon Rankin (father of the asynchronous USB DAC), Spencer Kalker of ImageCrafters and several integrators.

“We wanted to make it fun, exciting and cool,” notes Miller. “We want it to look like an Apple Store without copying them.”

Zone 6 of the DMEC. (Click image to enlarge)

In terms of marketing it, The Little Guys held an open house preview for the area in March. Wexler also has a high school student working Wednesday evenings who posts items on Facebook and Twitter. He targets fellow students to come over and hang out in the store to “experience cool stuff” and get exposed to high-performance music systems. Wexler is working on an extensive marketing campaign.

“It’s probably not a fit for appointment-only showrooms,” admits Miller, noting that the DMEC is really aimed at specialty retail. His plans are to get 50 to 60 stores installed. Right now, the cost is $28,000 but Miller says he is hopeful to get it down to $24,000 or $25,000.

Once the dealer buys the DMEC, all the equipment is shipped to him on two skids. A local contractor is used to do the installation under direct supervision from Lenbrook. It takes about 2.5 days to install, after the proper networking backbone has been put in place.

Lenbrook recommends retailers use Pakedge to install a dedicated, high-speed wireless/hardwired network for the area. Additionally, Lutron is offering to install motorized shades for ts dealers who adopt the DMEC showroom. Lenbrook recommends retailers configure their entire showroom to demonstrate control using Control4.

Currently, two more are in beta test, including Gramophone in Baltimore and Listen Up in Denver. Miller says another 12 showrooms “want it.”



  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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