Henry Stone On Record Conventions: “The Music Business Is All Done By People”

“I used to go to a lot of conventions. A lot of  the early conventions were not even put on by the labels. We used to have to go to juke box conventions, cause we didn’t even have record conventions yet.

So I used to meet a lot of these people there, yknow, you make a lot of contacts when you go to conventions. Remember, this music business is all done by people. It’s all done by people. Meeting the right people at the right time. That’s why I used to go and meet all these people in the record industry. As a distributor that’s how I got involved with most of the labels right when they started. Like Atlantic Records yknow.

I was actually involved with putting together the first record convention for record people so that we didn’t have to go meet at the jukebox conventions.

I remember like it was yesterday. I was up at another jukebox convention in Chicago with other record people from New York, from California, and elsewhere. So one night I’m sittin’ around a poker table playing cards with Ewart Abner from VeeJay Records, Leonard Chess from Chess Records, Don Robey the gangster from Peacock Records, Hy Weiss from Old Town Records, George Goldner from Tico Records, and maybe a couple other guys, and I said, “Why dont we start our own organization, a record organization.”

We were growing from year to year and so it made sense, and we came up with the name ARMADA. We put that together and we started our own convention. Boy, they were wild, broads, and booze, and lots of it. But we got a lot of great business done at these conventions cause that’s where everybody met. They changed the name, but our convention is still around. First they changed the name to call it NARM. And now it’s the Music Business Association.

Like I say, everything is done by people, man. And it all happens in the streets. You gotta get out there in the streets to make it happen.”

-From a 2013 interview with Henry Stone

©Jacob Katel and ©Henry Stone Music USA Inc. All Rights Reserved

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