9 commandments to hi-fi and rise in Russia

Четверг, 27 Январь 2011, 0:55
Размещено в рубрике English Special и имеет 1 комментарий.

Water spill none” (ne razley voda) – the tongue twist imposter for regular idiom “water-tight friendship” – is one sign for advent of things “holding water” to Russia. Your persona, that is. Story by Vladimir Yelbaev, Chief Editor, The Yelbaev Tribune online hi-fi market review.   

Looks like what's having but is not. Ideas?

Looks like what's having but is not. Ideas?

 H O W E V E R weird it’d seem at the instance, whatever the Perestroika-2 and Northern Eurasia coinage imply… and whatsoever with Nemtsov — you are a throw away from relocating to Moscow or Siberia. A taste of venturing these parts under “Boris The Spider” taught you, out there, more than professing correct bowing to the Panasonic Jap boss, vodka-buying opportune distribution for Philips electronics or supervising Russian writing for Dutch Vogel audio stands. Not forgetting Meg Bortlin/Derk Sauer’s captain-fingering their staff in the “Independent Indeed” media jungle. Or, for that matter, the content-ridiculous rags exploiting the Czech Trade And Leisure’s brand of Stereo & Video and The British own What Hi-Fi, to name just two. Or Peter Levine’s (of Ostankino TV Centre) path-crossing the likes of Laima Vaikule promotion entourage clan. I do could go on with the shame list.  

If you were around under Perestroika-1, you might’ve enjoyed the liberation of untaxed/uncut tap water and power supplies, the vast uncluttered (and largely virgin) space, the human material abundance. The kindness market, the profit returns and sheer opportunity scope. The works. The local made KINAP 30-cm hard paper loudspeakers that still rate, sell and sound good. You – if involved with hi-fi/music business – have definitely raised an eyebrow or two meeting with darn cheep made, breakdown prone but magic tembred Vesna cassette deck – or Valery Gaina guitar wizardry on the inapt-most produced Melodia record. Did you not?

Looking back now, there should be an evil masterplan at work “protecting” the Western market from the cream of local creativity – myself included. Contrary to common notion, I’d been meeting with no-thank-you’s, we’ll-call-you’s and straight you-aren’t-welcome-here’s most of the time I performed. So, before this analysis gets personal, the lesson for a venturing future enterpriser to learn, next time around, is: shove recruiting tests, leave off your compatriot chauvinism, embrace the local bright. In so doing, do curb those age discrimination attempts that your local aid will try sneaking. The discrimination has no place interfering with your progress.  Let your competition cultivate saplings – you’ll lean on trees. The payoff will be just as legendary as Dale Carnegie books have it.   

What to guard against, then? I did a survey that’s quite indicative of how far yet to go in Russia. A hard working family at Chulkovo suburbia have a cheap DVD player / LCD TV for their needs. A dedicated hi-fi buff in Moscow spends heavy on High End audio like Prima Luna tube amps. Whatever their next electronics (or CD, DVD, BluRay) buy, both’d be insulted if tied with routine local corporate and big-time expert reviews or ads. Those have bad reputation indeed. Absurdly, the more hostile the market, the tougher and omnipresent the pressing gets. Soviet era’s one (okay, two) pop hit artist of mediocrity was one Baltic dame Laima Vaikule. She’s been since maintaining a steady TV face and obviously monitoring media for any sign of unease. Kirkorov and Baskov (dubbed Bucks-off) are as much propped… and abhorred. Kirkorov’s double CD shelved at the low 20 R (under $1). The public have learnt to automatically ignore a corporate product of heavy promotion. Brand offerings of elegant staid advertisement are trusted. Which point gets us on with the story.

Himachal bonanza, India. This Tribune none the richer.

Himachal bonanza, India. This Tribune none the richer.

It is by the staid and sought after connoisseur review that the market sales move somehow here. Ad-boycotted and budget-low, the connoisseur is always small, shy and culty, his ideas are uncredited “borrowed” (and wrought!) by big-timers. Afisha thick mag poses as one – even though rumored (by V.Baronin, the critic) with mere 15 thousand copies’ actual monthly circulation. Online big-timer posers pay off to display high visitor attendance (which is not news at all) but the hype ain’t ‘nuf to secure paid advertisement from the jerky industry. “What the hell, quick restore this!”, raged the boss at Cifrovik, CNews’ home electronics division at the site’s “drop” to #2 position on Yandex “rating” chart. What, was the cake missing the mouth? So your lesson to learn is be spirited as indie and important as Afisha.

The big-timer mogul expats despise us, the local lone wolf writers – stringers, non-stuffers, freelancers or columnists. We belong nowhere unless we launch a registration-free no-profit mouthpiece. It’s our word against their corrupt empire then, and they lose millions, quit. We spend a nickel. Should we not work for them saving millions, instead? Lesson # 3 (if I keep correct count) – protect the pro’s without and prior to you. Impress on advertisers (your oversea head, a taxpayer, a senator) you’re bossing your stuff, and stuff bosses the trade, not vice versa. The mean trade will crawl before the bright pro’s who are well protected – if nothing else works.   

I do have a record of flamboyant fame when fanning dame expats stormed The Trib office in search of myself – and about same takes place on the web now. But there’s no lesson in the once gorgeous Moscow Trib media project by the inimitable Anthony Louis. Or in my own writing. I am available for hire, and that’s all there is to it. This account here targets a novel enterpriser for our parts. His/her lessons are best taught from others’ faults, so here you are.

Case in point is the task writing for training personnel at M-Video, Russia’s large network retailer and distributor of special brands. They wanted tech audio terms like load resistance rendered friendly to the ignorant salesman fresher. The slacked standards aside, the mission turned impossible indeed. The assigner manager demanded my every wording down the line were explained away too. Lost in the middle of “colouration” and “sound” I found myself stuck dead on the terms “man” and “woman”. Just to be offshot by “what the heck is that to do with load resistance, get started anew!” I gave in. I understand, the smart manager did collect my matter and finally presented the training book – saving the company the payoff. Your own lesson here: if, all the lecturing aside, your performance is bad, still do not reveal it by cheating on non-trade-unionists while you’re keeping a security force and a face.

Making war locally will cost you, but if you have to, chose your sides correctly. Minor trophies to scoop or deal around are paid adverts, free gifts, journalist trips and product presentations. “We don’t have provision from headoffice for private reviewer, we act via promotion agencies like Imageland”, argued the marketing rep at Moscow’s Toshiba. Big fish Samsung, BMG Music (dangerously reshuffled of late!) and all the way thru the list down to the small specialized British Audio Note high-end small fry — all confess to the same: however image-impotent, asset-drainy and sale-floppy, brand’s (and Russian rep’s) cumbersome policy stays. Even though the major trophy is left alone: huge market demand to be won.

Yes, on the whole, this way or another, the faulty sales machinery creaks on, but it ain’t no match for avalanche of healthy conscious and inspired purchases – with 10-fold reduced advert spendings’ expectations. So investing locally, check your infrastructure against your common sense. This is lesson # 5 to mind when your own entrepreneur’s chance comes along.

Infrastructure is keyword in Russia especially so. Of the above, an ugly corporate mug of local ways is perhaps assumed (hopefully it is not!). Lesson 6 is skirt it the way Peter Levine and one Ch.B. overlooked.

Setting infrastructure of your own is tricky in Russia – at this point in time, but “Times They’re A-Changin’”, so catch on with ‘em. The one example of how uninhibited a closed structure, however ailing, may behave — is served by Salon Audio & Video’s recent test upon a German new brand’s amp of Diatonik distribution. Commenting on sterile lab’s load measurements, the writer ruled the sample adhoc as bassy yet under-graduate in bass region (neither here nor there, that is), and with “presence” due to, oops!, abundant hi-frequencies. This could pass but not in a nuance sensitive market, overfed with erzats information. Not when full good reviews are held back.

The poor guy writer either didn’t bother or plain sucked on vocabulary. Either way, a letdown.  Presence is with midband while detailing and airiness of the highs is different story altogether. However, I’m used to reading idiosyncrasy that gross across the local expert media spectrum. It’s by mere telling mundane, let alone ingenious, that I stay trusted. Your next good idea’d be breeding the local consumer audio report for 6moons – the Korean expert site of recent fame that is closely heeded by a conscious Russian consumer.    

Back to the SAV case. Diatonik rushed the advertisement deal with the mag impressed, perhaps, with Inforcom’s structure – the SAV publisher and otherwise safe rooted (gaming or something) company. Only such enterprise survive – unable to tap the hi-fi market of definite demand proper. Purple Legion chain store leans on Vandersteen speakers that can’t be possibly compromised and on its newly commissioned second hand CD corner. Alef (Danes audio) name was canvassing for fur coats. Burmester’s former agent, having no side business, folded. A mass trend among Western brands is to seek distribution under A&T Trade hi-fi department – on the strength of rock musicians’ patronage and an ex-Dialog veteran rock band enterpriser immigrant in the USA. Provided one stays away from the company’s English site, A&T Trade is model enterprise – give or take. Its in-the-lead stance had feuding marketing manager at Tria Int’l brush  off my review services and lose NAD and Meridian brands to Trade.

Cater to both good literary conservative English and Russian – one has to heed this lesson (#8?), no simple task at all. My stint with The Moscow Trib proved there’s never adequately dug Russian meaning to go with native phrased English, since the two mentalities’ meeting point has to be adhered to. It’s there what makes virtually every Russian (consumer, political, you name it) site plain unreadable in English version. Unreadable means self destructive. Period.            

However it again comes down to personnel manning priorities. It will work wonders to adopt progressive and civilized, open minded and growth motivated attitude of sensibility. True, the pick is extremely scarce presently – and that’s the clue. You may dig and recover the graduated English talking folks. Well-seated TV journalist Gurnov’s brainchild, Russia Today channel is fair project idea and cute design’s case by RTR – alas, set off by drawl, drenched, over-phrased and odd-intoned “talking heads” and “studio guests”, himself no exception. Stas Namin, the celebrity guest, was a total disaster – what, a mediocre Foreign Language College mate of mine. A rare US native hired on the channel, akin to CNN’s Richard Quest, the only balance.

Launch or sponsor media projects where there’s yet void. Lesson #9. There was no proper English or Russian media on either music or culture/ideology/consumer hi-fi, ever finished to consistent pro criteria, intrigue dismissed – in these parts of ours. Let this statement hang (for lack of this space) while you better take note. Second hand projects in audio and CDs, LPs or cassettes, video parlours – these are waiting to be fulfilled. A morale prevails – repeat after exactly the profitable model and the field, do not trailblaze. Opposing that, doing your own thing, breaking ground, empowering the able and ousting the intrigue spinners, one will succeed.  

Editor’s note: All data is strictly from experience and free of commitments, no offence intended, all comment or correction is welcome by mail correspondence or below  



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1 комментарий к “9 commandments to hi-fi and rise in Russia”

  1. Javier пишет: Суббота, 6 Июль 2013, 11:34

    Thanks guys, I just about lost it lokoing for this.

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