Over the course of my time covering the jukebox and games business, I’ve watched the business square its shoulders and tackle more problems than I can count. Some needed strong lobbying, like quite recently when the AMOA and AAMA joined with some others to squash the Operation Choke Point abuse. Other problems seemed to just drift away all by themselves (e.g. the “dreaded” parallel video game kit disappeared from the roster of coin-op problems after operators simply lost interest in buying them).
Some problems were serious, including the decades-long war AMOA fought against the music performance societies like ASCAP to keep the jukebox royalty exemption. That battle was lost, only to become a trivial issue thanks to the advent of the digital jukebox with its “built-in” royalties. Some were really trivial right out of the gate, as when some jukebox operators once wanted the recording artists to keep their songs under two minutes in length so they could cram in more plays per-hour during busy times at the bars.
Then come really nasty problems like the twin natural disasters named Harvey and Irma that created the nightmare, which this and other industries have been facing along the Gulf Coast. We knew all along that particle board cabinets don’t do all that well when they get soaking wet, but we didn’t need this kind of a reminder. Neither does a circuit board. But we do know that the human spirit can still surprise us all by the generosity so many coin machine people, for example, have shown each other during the post-storm cleanup.
There are a ton of people out there in coin-op who should be proud of their behavior for going the extra mile in extending the helpful hand to others. Guys and gals on all levels of the trade put any thought of competition on the back burner to do what they could to pull a brother or sister out of a jam. . .and to get the industry’s “lights” back on, the “bells” ringing and the “whistles” blasting. No names. . .you know who they are in your neck of the nation.
In this age of political polarization, isn’t it grand to see what being an American really means?
We asked a bunch of route operators about partner interaction inside this edition (see Route Q). Apart from such promotions as the bar reward apps (e.g. from TouchTunes) and the never-often-enough bartender/customer pool table challenge, the rubber really meets the road when it comes to league night at the gin joint. . .the greatest “hand shake” between operator and bar owner there is. Takes work? Oh, yeah. But in the sage words of Indiana vet Doug Diltz: “If you can get a bar and its employees on board, you can take a C location to an A location in no time.”