All For One and One For All

These are perilous times for the independent audio dealer. With customers being siphoned off by large megastores and, eventually, the Internet, success will favor the dealer with a few clever tricks up his or her sleeve. One of those tricks for dealers in Dallas, Texas is a new group formed by Stephen Slaughter of The Audio Consortium.

Slaughter describes the Lone Star group, called the Dallas Audio Association, as "a new concept in cooperation within the high-end audio industry. We will be providing public education on various audio topics, including how to listen, how to set up systems, basic audio concepts, and various scientific concepts. By promoting the audio industry in this way, we plan to increase exposure of various ideas pervasive in the audio industry.

"Our organization also ushers in a new era of cooperation between previously competing high-end audio dealers," continues Slaughter. "Strategic alliances have been formed to assure maximum exposure and ultimately offer greater access to the consumer. Planned offerings include new standards of how to do business locally and over the Internet, referral services, common lines, and more. We feel this is the future of the audio industry."

According to Slaughter, the Dallas Audio Association is developing a business model that can and will be expanded nationwide. Currently, the DAA comprises three Dallas high-end audio dealers and a six-member information technology group. "This represents over 30 years' combined experience in the audio busines and over 75 years' combined experience in the computer and technologies industry," states Slaughter. "Talks are ongoing with several manufacturers for strategic partnerships. We feel these relationships are key to moving the audio industry into the 21st century."

The group says it is currently in negotiations with several manufacturers to set up "buyers' club" volume purchasing. This, they expect, will allow several consumers to coordinate a volume purchase at prices lower than full retail. "By so doing, we are offering a transition for manufacturers to Internet sales, which will have minimal impact on their local dealers since single units can still sell for retail," says Slaughter. "This plan can provide buyers with what they want while maintaining the integrity of the industry."

Folks interested in more information about The Audio Consortium and the Associations they are forming can contact Slaughter at their website. "We feel that typical resale models are changing rapidly. Our plan provides a path for keeping the audio industry healthy and growing in this environment."