Breakfast of Champions (The 2017 NAMM Show): Louis Hernandez, Avid
During “Breakfast of Champions” at The 2017 NAMM Show, Louis Hernandez, CEO and chairman of Avid Technology, revealed how his company has continued to innovate in a disruptive marketplace. He weighed in on pivotal decisions he’s made since taking the helm at Avid in an up-close interview with NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond.
Hernandez explained how artists have often gotten lost in the digital world, an issue he’s aimed to help alleviate.
“When the entire relationship can be digitized, I find that disruption happens faster and economically in a more dramatic way,” he said.
“Everybody’s recovered except for one person. Average artist revenue is down 40 percent. So if you start 15 years ago, with the decline in ’99—that’s when music started declining—it’s finally caught up. And when we clear the debris away, what’s happened? The business side is OK, the consumers are OK, but the artist is lost. The artist is the big loser in this transition. We need to do something about it, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
His solution has come in the form of Avid Everywhere, a strategic vision for helping users connect with consumers more collaboratively and profitably. It also includes letting users download a basic version of Pro Tools for free.
“We have to change and adapt like everybody else,” Hernandez said. “And just like any artist has to adapt in order to help their situation, we had to, too. And I felt like we had the best tools in the market, but we had to make them more open to the world. We had to make them more flexible. We had to make them available to more people.
“We have hundreds of thousands of people now using our free version. We have contests all over the place letting people tell their story. And I know that if they really love it, they’ll graduate into our professional version. They’ll use our cloud services. They’ll buy storage from us. I find communities reward you when you help them out.
“Luckily, it’s worked out extremely well. The conversion rate is very high. A lot of those people, once they use it a little while, they want the professional features. But cloud collaboration has really helped. Because even if you’re on the free version, if you want to work with somebody in China or Mexico, you open up a session, allow some tracks. You can real-time sync with them.”