Jukeboxes were big news at the recent Amusement Expo in Las Vegas. Further evidence that music continues to be a strong draw and a consistent money maker for operators in traditional tavern locations, while other route staples seem to be struggling to maintain profitability and presence.
Touchtunes’ new Virtuo wall box is the most striking step forward in design since the dawn of the digital jukebox era. Touchtunes has bet big on this product, bringing in high-powered technology design firm frog design to help
rethink the jukebox. frog has worked with many top firms around the world, and they seem to have been particularly inspired by their own work on the HP Touchsmart touch-screen personal computer. The widescreen, landscape screen layout makes ergonomic sense and their advanced catalog-search capabilities are more intuitive for users. Enco’s old friend Mike Jablonski told me that they pretty much sold out their first production run at the show. Their partnership with Verizon for apps is also intriguing.
Rowe and ami entertainment also unveiled a new digital platform. Rowe’s director of engineering Jeff Kalis expressed much pride in their new NGX next generation of jukeboxes. Searches will now return matches for artists, album titles, track titles and even song lyrics that contain the search terms. This type of expanded search functionality is now standard on most
manufacturers’ jukeboxes — good news for users like me with bad memories. Rowe continues to be committed to full albums in their music offering — more good news to fans of album tracks and deep cuts. The NGX line also offers customizable “skins” to give jukeboxes a distinctive look matched to location decor.
Not to be forgotten, eCast was showing their latest EQ jukebox. John Akin, an eCast sales manager, touted the popularity of their social networking bundle. The picture-sharing feature of their platform has proven to be a favorite among patrons at eCast locations.
Finally, Glenn Streeter and Ross Blomgren were exhibiting Rock-Ola’s classic-design, CD-based jukes. The banner in their booth declared, “No third party in cash box. Good resale value. Classic jukes make good money.” Amen and God bless you boys!