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Disturbing news about NY AES

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Earlier today I received a note from a friend that works for a firm that received the following alleged "memo" from Digidesign. A few hours later, another friend forwarded the 'alleged memo'. I can not say for certain that there is any validity to this, but the word has now come to me from two entirely independant sources.

Word has also come down the pipe that "Emagic, Waves, Steinberg and Mackie have pulled as well."


This week Digidesign decided as a company not to attend the 2001 AES Convention in New York City. The executive management of Digidesign felt that every employee should make their own choice about flying to New York and with so much uncertainty about what lies ahead for this country, people here have already expressed their hesitation to travel. There is no way that we can control the events that instill fear in us all, but we can control our choice to do something that will help all the people who have experienced a tremendous loss from the attacks on September 11th. Digidesign, along with Avid, will make a significant donation to the relief funds set-up for rescue and restoring efforts in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The executive director at AES asked that Digidesign refrain from making a public announcement about withdrawing from the show for thirty days. I told them that I would be contacting you immediately but please keep this news to yourself and not share the information with anyone under any circumstances. We certainly don't want our choice to influence any other manufacturer's plans for attendance if they are contemplating a decision themselves. Digidesign does not want to damage our relationship with AES by breaking their confidence in our word.

On behalf of Digidesign, I would like to apologize to those developers who counted on our booth to provide the exclusive platform to show your products. I know that AES wants to accommodate companies that need to make new arrangements at the show and I would be happy to pass on your contact information so they can follow-up with each of you.

This past week has been incredibly sad for us all but I am hopeful that we'll prevail stronger as a nation and live in peace.


It's nice that they're going to make a "significant" contribution. It will be nowhere near the contribution to the city they would have made if they had any balls and attended the show...but something is better than nothing.

One thing I hadn't thought of until I saw the "alleged actual memo" is what their actions will do to the smaller firms (like little 2-3 person shops) that design the plugins for Digi...those plugins that make Pro-sTools nearly useable. I wonder if they have any plans on making a "significant contribution" to the small companies they're hurting with their chickenshit actions.

My 8 year old daughter said she was afraid to fly anymore. I asked her why, and she said "because people steal the planes and kill the people on them". We talked for a really long time about what a rare occurance that was, and how the Federal Government is going to work their best to keep it from occuring again. We talked about how this may be the absolute safest time to fly.

We're going to take a 'flight to nowhere' (probably take the shuttle to NY, then back again) just to make sure she's cool with everything. She seems to have understood the lack of imminent danger, and she's 8 (OK, she won't be 8 for another couple of weeks, but close enough). Imagine grown adults behaving more childishly than an 8 yr. old. If DigiDesign/Avid were my company, I'd be very, very embarrassed, no, make that ashamed, right about now.

As far as their action "influencing" any other company's decision to attend, I know we're going to be there, and probably more pissed off than usual. I hope I get a chance to meet each and every participant of this and other forums. To
let a small pack of no account assholes paralyze the people of the United States with fear is unconscionable. Yes, it was a horrible tragedy that not a single one of us will ever forget.

Many of us lost loved ones, which is a terrible, terrible thing, but life goes on. I know several people in audio production, in audio equipment manufacturing, in related industries (like the corporate things that make the "music industry run") that lost people who ranged from aquaintances to blood relatives. There were music industry people lost on UA 175 (I haven't heard of any industry on AA 11, but there very well could have been). I can certainly understand their grief, and I can understand their pain. I am also very proud to call them my friends, as not a single person I've spoken to that had planned to got to this show has cancelled their plans.

The terrorists won as it concerns DigiDesign/Avid, I sincerely hope they don't win as it concerns the companies' that are actually involved in Professional Audio. Somehow, I feel that the true members of this industry have greater resolve than the corporate pussies at Digi/Avid. Pulling a few bucks out of your well stocked coffers doesn't make up for a physical show of support. For whatever it's worth, my wife and a bunch of her friends are going to New York next weekend to go see a Broadway show or two, for no other reason than to support the arts and try to assist New York get back to the business of living.



Profile picture for user atlasproaudio

atlasproaudio Sat, 09/29/2001 - 20:51

What are they afraid of? It's hard enough to even fathom September 11, but when one of the biggest corporate companies in our industry shows exactly the opposite reaction they should in this time, it seems a bit unjustifiable to me personally. They should set the example. I know for one this heavily influences my feelings about Digidesign (and any others who pull for this reason) and any future purchases from them. :(

Brad Gallagher Sat, 09/29/2001 - 23:33

Judging from the memo, it appears as though individuals within the corporate structure were concerned. If the company had laid down a blanket policy, previous to their worker’s concerns, I could understand the frustration. On the other hand, you have to figure that there are a WIDE range of reactions to recent events. If someone doesn’t want to attend a convention for fear of their life, who am I to judge? They have families and are most likely observing the wishes of their loved ones.

“Every employee should make their own choice about flying to New York,” seems like a sensible statement to me, considering the circumstances. It would have been nice if they would have urged employees to do something positive for the economy (hell… even drive if you’re that worried about terrorists)

But that’s the nice thing about the internet. Hopefully someone will read this thread and change the message of this and other similar messages before they are widely disseminated. This is one of those special times in history where everyone must be at their best. The simple decisions we make on a daily basis will affect the lives of our children in the years to come. I would rather never step foot on an airplane again, than to live in fear of a terrorist regime.

Thanks for posting that, Fletcher. I hope it will illustrate the importance of our daily decisions, on an international scale. I hope that their ACTIONS show more fortitude. WORDS are thrown on a large scale by the media, politicians, and various other corporate entities. In reality it is the ACTIONS of the “average guy” that will empower us to move forward. Support your family, support your neighbor (even though his dog crapped on your lawn… ;) , and support your country.

It is inevitable that we will look outside after this tragedy to seek revenge. While our government seeks justice, I firmly believe the best thing we can do is fortify our country from the inside. Buildings may fall, but a strong will can never be broken.

MicrophoneMan Sun, 09/30/2001 - 12:15

I would have to agree that now is probbably the safest time to fly. I'm scheduled to hit LA next week to visit another one of the major audio companies.

It's understandable that there are things more important in life than gear - and it's actually refreshing to see some companies take that stance.

The fishy thing to me though, is that as Digidesign starts to really lag behind this year, along with not having any new hardware planned for this AES, is that this is year that they were not too pumped for anyways.

To anyone else flying - don't be afraid, time is too short to live in fear.

MadMoose Sun, 09/30/2001 - 15:09

I've also heard from a few people that Shure has pulled out of the AES show too. I guess this will help separate the men from the boys. Personally I'm not surprised that a big corporate company like Mackie or Digi pulled the plug. Fuck 'em. I'm sure someone else will be more then happy to take over their booth space.

Besides, most of the AES previews have already hit the magazines so I'm figuring that they don't want to spend the money to send employees and gear to the show. This makes a good excuse to back out. Maybe I'm off base...

muddy Sun, 09/30/2001 - 23:56

mate, you are just too bloody cool! the fact that you have absolutely no qualms in standing up and speaking your mind within your own community, irregardless of any repercussion, when something needs to be said, is one of the things i will always respect in you the most. good onya! to suppose that their reasoning for cancelling is due to the fact that they have nothing to show, is possible, and perhaps irrelevant to speculate on; but imagining the possibility that any company might cancel due to any tarnishing or distracting of their debutting products, or, worse yet, any imposition placed on the logistics of contributing to this year's aes, due to the attack recently suffered upon this city, just makes my blood boil! especially in light of all the wonderful souls, the average joe, and moms & pops, who've made it a point to come and spend some cash shopping, eating & theatre-going, just because giuliani asked. why is it always the little guy? the world trade center, after all, was the business mecca of the world; i think we should at least expect our businesses & corporations to lead by example. action speaks much louder than words. always did, always will.


gilbus Mon, 10/01/2001 - 08:47

I don't see why certain West Coast companies can't "turn lemons into
lemonade" by getting creative - how about renting a rock 'n roll tour bus
and taking a road trip? Maybe make a few stops at some key dealers along
the way - and make it a fun, safe, effective response to employee's very
real (if a little reactionary) fears about flying. Put up a flag on the
side of the bus and do it for Old Glory, the Audio Industry, and all the
customers who are going to brave uncertainty (and their own fears) to attend
the show in defiance of the terrorist agenda.

Hell, I'd even be willing to pledge X cents per mile to be donated to the
Red Cross for the trip, and I bet others would as well.

Just an idea.



osmuir Mon, 10/01/2001 - 09:12

ok, semi stupid question, but [as i plan to take my ass to NY for AES, and move there soon too...screw being scared]...

what kind of tikets does one need to get in?

can you just show up day of? price?


thanks, and now more than ever: rock on.

gilbus Mon, 10/01/2001 - 10:22

Okay, here's the bigger question now...

With some of the key players bowing out, DID THEY GET THEIR MONEY BACK FROM AES??

Since the show didn't take place when it was supposed to, does that negate the "no refunds after X days" policy?

If so, should the rest of us PAY THE SAME RATE per square foot we did when we expected all the key exhibitors to show?

If, due to major West Coast players not exhibiting, we see a major attendance deficit, shouldn't we be paying less money to exhibit to less people?

Should the rest of us who are committed to being at AES foot the bill for those who choose to bail?

Fletcher I would love to hear your opinion.


Profile picture for user Tom Cram

Tom Cram Mon, 10/01/2001 - 11:15

We at dbx have cancelled as well. We found out that 80% of our dealers weren't going to go, that pretty much negates our raison d'etre. Also the postponement created some pretty serious logistical problems. I was assured that the reason had nothing to do with flying insecurities.
Personally I was looking forward to going.

gilbus Mon, 10/01/2001 - 11:22

Tom -

I would have thought that dbx's "raison d'etre" was the audio engineers who are attending, as the AES is not a dealer show

NAMM, which is a dealer show, is right around the corner in January.


Profile picture for user Tom Cram

Tom Cram Mon, 10/01/2001 - 11:30

The fact that the NAMM show is right around the corner, and we know all our dealers will be at that show was another factor in the decision.

I think it sucks, I wanted to go, but I'm not in charge.

Profile picture for user anonymous

anonymous Mon, 10/01/2001 - 11:51

Owen, I'll make sure you have tickets to get in, just give us a call around the beginning of November, and I'll send you what ever we have.

Cram- It's funny how only the "MI" oriented companies are "pulling" from the show. Frankly, the AES has been a nuisance to them for years. The only reason they did the show was to maintain the facade of actually being a "pro audio" company rather than a "music store" company.

By abandoning NYC in her time of need, they are using this tragedy to bolster their bottom line. Let's face it, it's been a 'soft' 3rd quarter, if they don't have to expend a few hundred grand to do the show, it'll make the quarterly numbers look better.

This has nothing to do with fear, this is purely economic. They can "spin" it anyway they like, but the fact of the matter is, they're saving beau coup bucks by bailing out.

Profile picture for user Tom Cram

Tom Cram Mon, 10/01/2001 - 12:38

I never said it had anything to do with fear. I know it is purely economic (so does everybody else). AES is normally dbx's biggest show, so it's never been a nuisance to us, NAMM's are our nuisance shows, ya got it backwards. Also, you are mistaken that it is only MI companies who are cancelling.

I'm not spinning anything champ.

osmuir Mon, 10/01/2001 - 14:53

thanks fletcher. and i'm still lookin' to help the economy with that spider any day now...

now if only i could justify a trakker too...

i hope all the lil guys who make decent product are still wearing their balls proudly at AES.

just please, no more mutli-celebrity tribute recordings. let the record companies just donate the "profits" straight to the people who need it, and not put us through all that sillyness.


Profile picture for user anonymous

anonymous Mon, 10/01/2001 - 19:29

Originally posted by Cram:
I never said it had anything to do with fear.

Good on ya...however, the "PR" statements to this point have specifically pointed to "employee fear"

I know it is purely economic (so does everybody else). AES is normally dbx's biggest show, so it's never been a nuisance to us, NAMM's are our nuisance shows, ya got it backwards.

Not from the "sales perspective". NAMM is where y'all sell to the pimps that sell to the congregation. AES is where the congregation is supposed to gain interest. The people who are buying DBX crap now don't go to AES, and while some dealers do, most of them make a point of NAMM. The whole 'Harman family' gets to sing a song of reprive as they don't have to pretend to be "audio companies" this year, though one or two [like Studer and Amek] may have to continue the charade.

Also, you are mistaken that it is only MI companies who are cancelling.

To clarify, I meant "audio" companies that are marketed via "MI", oh...DBX for example.

I'm not spinning anything champ.

No, but the 'marketing department' is doing their level best to put a positive spin on "quarterly profits over helping NYC/the nation heal"..."it doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" [R. Zimmerman]

Ang1970 Tue, 10/02/2001 - 16:12

I wanted to echo my reply to the [[url=http://[/URL]="…"]DUC thread[/]="…"]DUC thread[/] here, just to be sure it stays alive in case it gets deleted off the DUC...

I stand behind Curve's post wholeheartedly (if the allegations of Digi pulling out of the AES are true). This (alleged) lack of support will create major consequences with a large portion of the recording industry. This does indeed impact Digi's products, in that it delivers to third party plug-in developers a rude slap in the face.

Wake up call. Where does Digi's alliance lay? Dedication to it's products, developers, and most importantly it's customers? Or riding the gravy train for as long as we will tolerate it?