Sandy’s Travel Blog #4: Homeward Bound

Allegro Media in Portland, ORI’m sitting in the airport more than ready for the homebound trip. Portland has been as refreshingly verdant, cool and overcast as ever and has once more, however brief, provided a lovely and productive visit with some lovely folks. The sole purpose of this jog was to visit Allegro Media‘s enormous and super efficient head-offices and distribution center and to meet my main contact, Adrian Mills who is our classical representative in both digital and physical product. Adrian is a veteran in this business having worked over his impressive career, almost every aspect of the record business from retail sales to A&R to top label executive, in practically all genres! I enjoyed putting faces to the names of people with whom we’ve been dealing for four+ years now as Adrian proudly showed me the state of the art distribution operation, the size and scope of which was hard to imagine. It was particularly impressive to see where the boxes that we pack and ship up every month or so end up end up being unpacked, catalogued and stored and subsequently repackaged to travel all over the N. American continent and beyond. I also had a welcome opportunity to finally meet Rob Betscher who manages the warehouse inventory and Forrest Faubion, longtime Product Manager and a veteran of all things Allegro — as well as Chris Craft who keeps all legal aspects running seamlessly and above board. It certainly was a very busy Friday!

Adrian Mills in the Allegro Media Warehouse
Adrian Mills in the Allegro Media Warehouse

Adrian and I discussed Foghorn and the ASQ’s hopes and aspirations for the future development of our catalogue as well as Allegro’s plans to expand and adapt as we all anticipate shifts in the months and years to come. We explored some anticipated opportunities in great detail while speculating as to what the preferred medium would be to deliver our product ten years from now… We know we can count on significant changes and meanwhile, we plan to be positioned to adapt as efficiently as possible and in lockstep with our distributor. We’re exploring mastering for iTunes and other high-res digital downloading options. Assuredly, whether in SACD or otherwise, we are not going to give up on physical product and thankfully, it seems that the price-break on manufacturing is coming down commensurately with the challenges presented by the ever more popular streaming trend. Meanwhile we discussed some of the new trends in financing our ambitions and the Kickstarter model is an inviting options we might well consider soon. One of my jaw-dropping discoveries was to observe the magic CD manufacturing machine with which Allegro manufactures our BMG Arte Nova discs “on demand” according to customer demand. What an impressive solution to the import-export conundrum — simply manufacture your product on demand in the marketplace?

Vi Thai in Portland, ORWhat meeting could take place without food? Adrian took me to a local Thai-Vietnamese restaurant that was simply terrific. And note, it totally didn’t break the bank. A quick question to our Maitre D as to who was cooking today decided our menu choices mdash; Adrian a terrific Beef Pho and I had a Spicy Beef Pad Thai — both hit the spot exactly right!

And now, I’m almost ready to board. A meeting is planned for tomorrow morning with the Commissioner of the San Francisco/Kraków Sister City Committee concerning our anticipated tour in Poland next March. Thereafter however, a relaxing family weekend until the ASQ reconvenes after our “week off.” There’ll be much debriefing and discussion to crowd our daily scheduled rehearsals in the weeks ahead but assuredly, we’ll make some time for the Brahms and Mozart quartets that are on the repertoire agenda for the balance of June.

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