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Lessons from Acoustic Sounds

black vinyl record
Photo by Anton H on Pexels.com


I was watching a video on YouTube, and an ad began to play. I usually click the “Skip” button, but this one had my interest. The ad was about Acoustic Sounds, a business based in Salina, Kansas. Here’s the 27-minute ad for you to enjoy, and below it, some links and commentary.

Acoustic Sounds — Links


If you’re someone interested in the music industry and the audiophile industry in general, you will certainly enjoy the video. There’s not much mention of specific artists, but the main focus is on the process of making high quality vinyl records. Here are a few takeaways.

  • Advertising — The long-format documentary-style video was very well produced, with a captivating and interesting story. As an ad, it doesn’t conform to common marketing rules, but despite that is super effective. It is featured in our report about advertising best practices. [View Report]
  • Leadership — Chad Kassem is passionate about creating high quality vinyl records that meet or exceed the expectations of customers. Some of the customers are audiophiles with decades of experience as professional musicians or collectors. So it’s not an easy task, but more attainable to Kassem since he shares the same dedication to excellence as his customers.
  • Location — There is an adage in business that the three most important factors for success are “location, location, location.” [Source] One wants to have an ice cream business near the beach, and a winter clothing store in Alaska. If you sell winter coats in Alaska, you can sell a poorly made product with bad customer service but stay in business. Those who don’t have a “good location” need to resort to being passionate at what they do and offer an exceptional product with great customer service — actually not a bad gig. One doesn’t imagine Salina, Kansas to be as good a location as Nashville or Los Angeles for people in the music industry. Yet, how does a place like Nashville become known as an important place for the industry? Pioneers make it so. Musicians made Nashville, before Nashville began to make musicians.
  • Music Lesson — A great band is made up of exceptional musicians that can work well together. There is a phenomenon known as the Supergroup where the individual artists are very accomplished on their own. The Traveling Wilburys would be an example. Acoustic Sound is like a Supergroup. Applying the Supergroup principle to business turns out to be very successful, and fun for those involved.
  • Size — Chad Kassem started the business in a two-bedroom apartment, yet was able to organically scale and grow the business.
  • Team — In the video you can see the enthusiasm and commitment of each employee. They are a diverse team with different skills, all working together like an orchestra to produce great results.
  • Timing — The business was launched in 1986 at a time when vinyl records were being replaced by CDs. Most business advisors would have said that it was bad timing and a better business to get into would have been CD manufacturing or sales.

Whatever trade you are in, or if you’re a business owner, you can appreciate and be inspired by what Acoustic Sounds is accomplishing. There’s a lot to be learned from their success.

To paraphrase a line from Live Free or Die Hard, they are “committed like you read about.” There’s a universal respect and admiration for people who are committed to their vocation. People with training, tools, and experience, combined with patience, dedication, and perseverance, mixed with creative solutions and teamwork attitudes — those people have always been a bit magical. They do what people say can’t be done.

As a business, Acoustic Sounds seemed to be in the “wrong location” at the “wrong time” with the “wrong product” and yet none of that seemed to matter. The business is flourishing. Apparently something else matters. Something deeper. Find what that is, and you’ll be successful also.

When we see the seemingly impossible accomplished, it inspires us to wonder what else could be done that we’ve previously thought was impossible.

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com