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Wizard of Woz

Apple co-founder speaks at the NAMM Show

By Anthony Garcia
Published on LatinoLA: February 10, 2015


Wizard of Woz


You shouldn't be reading this story. In fact, you shouldn't even be online. That was the advice of Steve "Woz" Wozniak, cofounder of Apple Inc. and the creator of the personal computer at the National Association of Music Merchants conference also known as the NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA. His anecdotal interview was filled with wonderful stories of the early days of Apple, his relationship with Steve Jobs and some great advice.

The one-on-one interview was part of the NAMM Show Breakfast of Champions speaker series and was conducted by Joe Lamond, president and CEO of the music trade organization to a capacity crowd at the Anaheim Hilton hotel.

So, what possible advice can the tech pioneer have for musicians and music merchants? Technology has permeated the music industry so it makes perfect sense to invite the co-founder of Apple to NAMM.

Apple has had such a profound influence on the way we consume music today. Though Apple did not invent the digital music player, they perfected it. The iPod became a household name and is now used generically to describe any MP3 player.

In addition, Apple created alliances with the major music labels and created iTunes. With millions of downloads the format has virtually eliminated music in physical form. Think about it, when was the last time you purchased an actual CD?

So why should you not be reading this story? Woz emphasised that he created technology to make life simple and that computers and other devices are now taking control. What he stressed is the caveat that with technology there is only a one-way door. "You can never go back. Once you go through that door you can never go back."

His example was a 2013 fictional film titled "Her" where a man develops a relationship with Samantha, an intelligent computer operating system. With artificial intelligence "we're going to become like the family pet." What he alluded to is that perhaps we are relying too much on technology and we need to get back in touch with one another.

But, it's not as dismal as it seems. Woz does like technology and is glad that it has opened up a new world for music. Lamond also reminisced with Woz about the US Music Festival and his love for guitars. Woz concluded his breakfast chat with Joe Lamond stating, "Music is like a magic dust bringing love to people."

The industry returns home from a busy NAMM Show with a sprinkling of magic dust, and a renewed love for the business of music and hopefully with a more personal connection with one another.

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