Robert Wilson – 44 years of service to the MIA and 50 years to the music industry


Robert Wilson, the founder of Sound Technology, the first UK director of NAMM and a member of the Board of the MIA since 1975, has officially retired from the Association, following the MIA’s AGM, on 18th September…

Rob’s retirement from the MIA follows his sale of Sound Technology ( in December 2017, and the announcement that he was planning to retire from the music industry, following a career that has spanned over 50 years.

Rob Wilson’s career in the music industry began with the distributor Rose-Morris, which he left to pursue his own vision embracing not just traditional musical instruments but also high-tech products, using his rare gift for spotting a developing technology at its earliest stage.

He was Vice-Chairman of Alesis and with his international role developed an early example of ‘disruptive technology’ through its revolutionary ADAT technology, this not only demonstrated Rob’s ability to spot a winner early on, but also his ability to understand the potential of emerging technology – in the case of Alesis; literally changing the way recording was done throughout the world.

Alesis wasn’t the only technology company he helped achieve prominence – Sound Technology became one of the only distributors in the world to cover all aspects of music technology, from professional stadium PA and lighting to acoustic instruments. But Rob played a key role in the traditional field as well, for example, representing for many years Taylor Guitars as it blazed a trail through the UK and international markets.

Rob put his business acumen to charitable and industry-wide uses, too. As the driving force behind Music For Youth and one of the team that has made Music For All such a success, he also played a key role in establishing a run of successful consumer MI industry shows.

Receiving a commemorative ‘thank you’ plaque from the MIA, Rob said:

“I have to be honest, when I received this wonderful award from the Music Industries Association, I had never considered how many years I had been involved with the UK trade association.

Through the various association name changes and mergers, the multitude of ‘trade only’ and ‘trade and public’ shows….over 15 in total I had a hand in organising, it is wonderful  to reflect how the MIA has grown and evolved to its current highly respected position as a trade association that is listened to, involved with and definitely respected throughout the world.

As a past MIA President, the first UK Director of NAMM, past President of CAFIM and even receiving an MBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I feel honoured to serve the industry I have worked in for more than 50 years.

Who would have thought when I started Sound Technology after 40 years it would still be growing and become one of the largest MI, ProAudio and lighting companies in the UK?  Not me.

Through my 44 years involvement with the MIA I have met many friends, worked with lots of interesting companies on both sides of the Atlantic and always considered myself to be an ambassador for the industry as a whole. It’s easy to always suggest you want to do the right thing. I hope in a small way through the MIA, SoundTech, Alesis, NAMM, CAFIM, Music for Youth and Music for All, that maybe I have?”

Commenting on Rob Wilson’s retirement from the Association, MIA Chief Executive, Paul McManus said:

“Rob is an extraordinary businessman as his amazing track record shows. What many people do not always see is his huge capacity and drive to generally support our music industry and music makers. His commitment to the MIA stretches back 44 years and he leaves a huge legacy of all the major initiatives he has been involved with such as UK trade shows, the Music for Youth charity, being part of the NAMM Board, to name just a (very) few.

His charitable work is admirable and he freely supports many projects and institutions. And that is the essence of Rob, he truly has a big heart and will go to extraordinary lengths to help the people and causes he believes in. All in all, a true legend in our industry, there is only one Rob Wilson!”

NAMM’s President/CEO, Joe Lamond, added:

“On behalf of the NAMM Board of Directors and our over 10,000 member companies around the world, I would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to Robert Wilson for his life-long commitment to music. Bob’s vision, passion and work ethic have launched countless programs which have created access and opportunity for young people to play music. If there is a greater contribution to a better world than this, I’m not aware of it. We are all the richer for having had Bob (and especially Mary!) in our lives.”

Giving a European perspective on Rob’s career, Thilo Kramney, CEO and owner PPVMedien GmbH Germany said:

“I first met Robert more than 30 years ago and we immediately became friends. Nobody knows the industry better than he does or is so well connected in Europe, Japan, China, Australia, South Korea and most countries that have electronic music.

Rob is accepted as a great businessman and a good friend – nobody can entertain meetings and parties better!  I have always taken inspirations from his work with the MIA and NAMM and all their inclusive activities and he was always my personal guide, how we should act in our little community of music merchants. Over the years, golf and travel have been part of his life and I have no doubt that he will find another challenge as he rarely settles down for long.  I have no doubt it will include passing his knowledge to the next generation of business people in our or a related  industry.”

Inevitably, Robert Wilson MBE will now be moving on to another challenge, that’s what he does, and we look forward to the details when they’re announced.