Paul Francis left Zildjian?

Gunnellett

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I was excited about the potential collaboration of Paul Francis and Stanton Moore developing a line of cymbals.

Probably didn't happen.
 

Slingwig26

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I grew up loyal to Zildjian and having fond feelings toward the company. Over the last couple years of reading and seeing some of the Zildjian videos, I started to suspect that I have naively swallowed hogwash.

That 400 years of cymbal making? Not really. The Avedis in the US who started the company in the US wasn't even making cymbals when he opened the company. He was a businessman in another business altogether until the opportunity to capitalize on his family name was presented to him. The 400 years of cymbal making is marketing hype, not history.

Then there was the opening of the Canadian factory. Zildjian only opened it as a threat to its workers if they unionized. If the vote for a union had succeeded, Zildjian was prepared to fire them all and move to Canada. No wonder the union vote failed.

And the founding of Sabian after a legal battle inside the family tells us that these people were cutthroat when it came to business. Forget family loyalities, we're going to court!

Stunning was then a video with Paul Francis in which the interviewer several times mentioned Sabian. Paul never once said the name. In fact, he awkwardly phrased his comments in order to avoid saying it. This told me that Zildjian's company culture is very strict. Paul seemed afraid to even say the name Sabian.

For all I know, this is what it takes to run a successful company, but I realized that my fond feelings toward Zildjian were mistaken. It's a company like many others. If you like the products it makes, buy them, but don't for a minute think you're buying from nice guys or some historic Turkish cymbal makers. It's just another ruthless company with a marketing department looking out for its bottom line.

I have no idea what the situation was with Paul, but I'm pretty sure that he was working for a tougher boss than the marketing materials imply.
Give Paiste a try. You’ll love ’em!
 

bbunks

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Second paragraph is Zildjian CEO Joh Stephans LinkedIn Bio. Pay particular attention to the very first line stating he has 'deep experience accelerating short term bottom line performance'. As a retired VP in retail, I can tell you that this means he utilizes flat out 'haircuts of expenses' in the face of poor sales. And the Immediate Expense cut is always people. People that are high paid, people that are challenged in the business climate, people that are too smart, people that are head-strong with their own ideas, people that won't kiss the CEO's rear. I've seen this tactic, under the term 'Right Sizing The Company' used more and more. With fewer positions and lots of unemployed, Expensing Your Way to Profit has become the Go-To Button for driving Short Term P&L Bottom Line and 'smoke & mirror' your way into seeming dominant as your sales continue to dwindle.

Accomplished CEO with deep experience accelerating short term and long term top and bottom line performance and developing brand equity for B2C and B2B businesses with both Domestic & Global footprints. Links vision with execution excellence throughout all parts of the P&L and balance sheet to drive increased enterprise value. Attracts and develops high performance talent & teams to create positive culture momentum. Responds to rapidly changing priorities in fast-paced environments, leveraging problem-solving and decision-making abilities to effectively navigate the complexities of a company’s competitive landscape.

Specialties: P&L/Balance Sheet Optimization & Delivery, Talent Acquisition/Talent Development, Brand Positioning, Portfolio Strategy, Innovation Pipeline, Customer Segmentation, Process Optimization
Any idea how the business is doing? I heard 2020 was a great year for gear sales as folks stayed home and bought gear they lusted after.

But stuff like this makes me think it’s being positioned for sale.
 

Kendrum

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Any chance you can share the Instagram post here, or tell us who it was?
Well not really knowing him personally or how he would feel about being named here I'll just post a section of his comments which I thought pertained to this situation.
"....
Years ago I left a long-standing relationship with a major cymbal company because I was lost in a five year A&R shuffle. I signed with another company after discussions with a rep who became my friend, who felt like a little sister and who, teamed with a brilliant cymbal craftsman, offered the sounds and personal connection I needed for a “deal” to make sense.
.
When that company fired this rep and that craftsman I used the Covid downtime to reflect and wait to see what developed, until I realized that I just wasn’t happy with the situation or company environment. I realized that I didn’t even have a clue who to contact there to discuss this, as I no longer knew...literally...anyone at the company. My personal connection wasn’t of value to anyone there, and that is something I need - so I started listening to plates."
 

MaskingApathy

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Well not really knowing him personally or how he would feel about being named here I'll just post a section of his comments which I thought pertained to this situation.
"....
Years ago I left a long-standing relationship with a major cymbal company because I was lost in a five year A&R shuffle. I signed with another company after discussions with a rep who became my friend, who felt like a little sister and who, teamed with a brilliant cymbal craftsman, offered the sounds and personal connection I needed for a “deal” to make sense.
.
When that company fired this rep and that craftsman I used the Covid downtime to reflect and wait to see what developed, until I realized that I just wasn’t happy with the situation or company environment. I realized that I didn’t even have a clue who to contact there to discuss this, as I no longer knew...literally...anyone at the company. My personal connection wasn’t of value to anyone there, and that is something I need - so I started listening to plates."
Ok thanks. Who's the first company he refers to before Zildjian?
 

paulwells73

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Any idea how the business is doing? I heard 2020 was a great year for gear sales as folks stayed home and bought gear they lusted after.

But stuff like this makes me think it’s being positioned for sale.
Guitar and keyboard manufacturers have been doing great. Drum companies, not as much because disturbing housemates or neighbors is a greater possibility, since so many people are working from home. Drumstick and cymbal manufacturers have had it the worst, because they rely on sales to touring/working musicians who normally need a steady resupply of replacements.
 

MaskingApathy

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While I love Zildjian, outside of the Sweet stuff they haven't really been that innovative (for me anyway).
I agree, and the K sweets seem like they're copying Sabian (to me) because of the raw bells.
 

MaskingApathy

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Yeah. I started getting into Sabian lately due to Zildjian not having a China I liked. So I got the Paragon China 19, and started discovering the AAX and HHX stuff. I hate to say it cause I had Zildjian since I was 15 but Sabian is a way better cymbal company right now compared to Zildjian. Just my opinion.
100% agree. I grew up playing Zildjian then around 10-11 years ago I started getting interested in Sabian due to some of their artists that I liked. After playing some of their models I couldn't justify continuing to play Zildjian; the A's and A Customs just didn't sound as exciting as AAX. Zildjian discontinued some models that I used to like (and won't do special orders) and every year at NAMM they just keep coming out with more dark/dry stuff. They haven't done anything major with A's and A Customs since the A redesign in 2013 while Sabian always has something new for everyone, not just one specific line.
 

bassanddrum84

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I agree, and the K sweets seem like they're copying Sabian (to me) because of the raw bells.
They all copy each other. When one company does something the others eventually catch up. Just wait zildjian and Sabian and paiste will have a “clap stack” just like the instanbul agop
 

mtarrani

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100% agree. I grew up playing Zildjian then around 10-11 years ago I started getting interested in Sabian due to some of their artists that I liked. After playing some of their models I couldn't justify continuing to play Zildjian; the A's and A Customs just didn't sound as exciting as AAX. Zildjian discontinued some models that I used to like (and won't do special orders) and every year at NAMM they just keep coming out with more dark/dry stuff. They haven't done anything major with A's and A Customs since the A redesign in 2013 while Sabian always has something new for everyone, not just one specific line.
Could that be the reason why PF is no longer with them? He was a major driver; sounds like he was not promoting innovation. It's a guess and not an aspersion against him. But, one has to wonder if a majot competitor who also has Zildjian bloodlines was innovating and Zildjian (perhaps because of PF) was going variations on the same, tired products became less competitive in the market. Remember, that market now has a lot of players in both the East and West. I was a Zildjian fanatic since 1964 and was lured away by Dream. I recently discovered the beauty of Sabian HH and HHX and, while Dream is my go to brand, I am using Sabian for some gigs. And, to add insult to injury, I am also loving what I hear coming out of some Paiste lines. Zildjian only elicits a "meh" from me. If PF was the driving force, perhaps he is part of the problem (from my perspective.) Still, one has to respect his contributions to the art and science of cymbal making, and be inspired by his passion and commitment. My foregoing diatribe is not to disrespect his incredible contributions, but to call into question possible marketing decisions and directions he may have espoused. Personally, I think he was too in tuned to some forums what were dominated by jazz folks (myself included) and lost sight of the tiny - minuscule - influence jazz has on the market in general. That's my $0.02.
 

David M Scott

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I just listened to the Drum History pod cast Paul Francis was on. It was great. He really did a good job of explaining the history of Zildjian and seemed so passionate over what he does. His story of how he started at Zildjian is pretty cool also.
I'm a daily listener of Drum History and have heard Paul re: Zildjian and your so right he had a passion for the company and it's history. I sincerely hope he stays in the industry as he is a master cymbal maker and deserves to land some place where he is appreciated.
 


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