Clair Acquires 8th Day Sound
We talk to 8th Day Sound Australia Director, Damo Pryor, regarding the Australian implications of the buyout.
Two US-based touring and sound reinforcement giants have joined forces — Clair Global has acquired Eighth Day Sound.
The first thing the Australian market wants to know is: what does this news mean for the Australian operations of Eighth Day Sound and JPJ (which is majority owned by Clair)? Director of the Eighth Day Sound Australian operations, Damo Pryor is quick to reassure the market: “This is obviously big news for the Australian audio production community, especially given how prominent Eighth Day Sound and JPJ are in the Australian market.
“I want to reassure our customers that from their perspective, the sale to Clair Global won’t change how they deal with Eighth Day Sound in Australia. The existing warehouse spaces in Melbourne and Sydney will remain open, the flight cases will still be stencilled with Eighth Day Sound and you’ll be dealing with the same account managers.”
According to Damo Pryor the negotiations between Troy Clair and Eighth Day Sound boss, Tom Arko, started up well before COVID struck, and we shouldn’t be too quick to join any COVID-induced dots:
“For those who are concerned about what all this means for touring and rental sound and how it’s been impacted by COVID-19, it’s definitely worth noting that plans for this acquisition started prior to COVID. It’s not an aggressive takeover by Troy Clair and it’s not a desperate fire sale by Tom Arko. Tom had options but I believe a sale to Clair Global, itself another family-owned operation, is the best case scenario for Eighth Day Sound and the market in this region.”
In fact, the acquisition was scheduled to close early April, before COVID got in the way, nearly derailing the whole deal. But both companies persisted:
“It was a good idea then, and an even better idea now,” commented Tom Arko. “By using this available time, we’ll emerge prepared with all the needed resources to serve a global customer base effectively. We see it as one world, one focus, and one company, and perhaps more importantly, the union ‘keeps it in the family,’ with both companies entirely family-owned and operated. Because of our mutual values, I have no doubt the passion for the audio industry will continue in this new venture and become a better solution to meet the needs of the industry ahead.”
“No one can predict the future, but we believe in the future of live events,” said Clair Global owner, Troy Clair. “Once it is safe, we fully expect there to be an even greater demand for live entertainment, and we will be prepared to serve that demand. We are excited to strengthen our team and grow our family.”
In addition to leading technical expertise from the audio trade’s top tier professionals a`nd renowned crews, the alliance will offer a broad range of full line premier speaker brands, increased availability from the more extensive audio equipment base, and flexibility from the boosted global presence. The two companies will continue their long-term relationships with manufacturers that they have had for many years.
That sounds great, but with two big players in the Australian market ‘joining forces’, surely that’s bad for competition? Especially when live events money is scarce coming out of a pandemic? Again, Damo Pryor wants to be quite clear to his customers: “Eighth Day Sound and JPJ will remain independent operations and be competitive with our pricing. Will there be some efficiencies in Australia because of the sale? Yes, but really only in the inventory when one or the other rental company needs stock.”
From a international perspective, this statement remains true. Tom Arko will stay on as boss of Eighth Day sound, and the company will become a stand-alone brand under the Clair Global umbrella, joining Britannia Row Productions in the UK, JPJ in Australia, and AudioRent Clair AG in Switzerland.
With a big industry announcement such as this, there’s always going to be a focus on the upside — the positives — but both Troy Clair and Tom Arko are acutely aware that the international live events family is in a world of pain at the moment:
“First and foremost, our hearts and thoughts are with our colleagues and families affected by this sudden work stoppage worldwide,” said Troy Clair and Tom Arko in a joint statement. “While the impact is huge, we encourage all to stay healthy and focus on the future. We’ll get through this and return to work when we can safely gather again for production events.”