Music Inc Magazine May 2024


MusicMax brings its 360-degree view back around to its MI roots. — By David Ball

ing alert to potential new opportunities. He credits a fateful meeting with a now-familiar name at NAMM shows as exemplifying for him, firsthand, the importance of building relationships with like-minded individuals. “I met [now-former NAMM CEO] Joe Lamond when he was working as the guitar tech and stage manager for Todd Rundgren,” Joseph said. “We became fast friends, so when they announced the next Todd Rundgren tour the following year, I called him up, and he told me he wouldn’t be taking the gig. So, that’s when I asked, ‘How about me?’” 360-DEGREE APPROACH TO RETAIL Offering a wide array of brands that span across the range music-related product cat- egories, from pro-audio to musical instru- ments and accessories to DJ and lighting, Joseph’s “jack-of-all-trades” mindset has not only helped MusicMax survive when market fluctuations forced him to turn toward new product categories, but once market conditions stabilized, helped MusicMax began to thrive. “As the industry changed, there came a time in the 2000s when certain dealers were eating up so much of a dealer’s bandwidth that we had to find something else to offer,” Joseph said. “At that point, I fully pivoted into pro-audio and lighting. Of course, I’m glad I did, because now lighting is one of our top performing categories, with Chauvet DJ being one of our top brands across all categories. And, man, do I get to have a lot of fun designing lighting.” Following 25 years of steady growth, Mu- sicMax continues to cultivate collaborative partnerships, leveraging data-driven analysis bolstered by decades of industry expertise to provide a 360-degree offering of brands aligned with MusicMax’s core values, foster- ing mutually beneficial partnerships along a righteous path, promising a better way of doing business. MI

Rob Joseph

O ver the past 25 years, MusicMax Inc. has grown from a manufacturers’ representa- tive firm to a leading nationwide distributor of professional audio equipment, musical instruments, and lighting and accessories, fostering collaborative partnerships and con- necting its diverse portfolio of manufacturing partners to a growing network of dealers. Now, with brands like Maybach Guitars, Ashdown Engineering and Faith Guitars recently added to its roster, MusicMax is showing just how a passionate, “antennas up” approach to identifying opportunities on the horizon ahead — alongside an open- ness to pivot whenever necessary — has brought MusicMax back to its MI roots. The result? A full, 360-degree perspective on the industry. BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP-BASED BUSINESS As a musician himself, MusicMax CEO Rob Joseph discovered just how much more of an asset he could be to other musicians and

music lovers, alike, by developing a broad set of skills within the realm of things that moved him most. “Because of my background as a musician, I realized early on that I could walk into a concert venue and — short of doing the rigging or playing in a horn section— there was not a job I could not do, from mixing to light-direction to [working as the] gui- tar technician,” Joseph said. “Plus, I could also play drums and keys, as well as guitar and sing.” Having worn numerous hats in the de- cades since Joseph first cut his teeth on the retail side of MI back in 1985, the MusicMax founder has been immersed in all aspects of the music products industry, garnering skillsets suited to a range of essential roles — from retail, to touring, production, re- cording and performing live. Throughout his decades in the industry, Joseph continually maintained what he calls an “antennas up” mentality, always stay-

14 I MUSIC INC. I MAY 2024

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