We’ve been celebrating for awhile now, but in case you haven’t heard the news: 2023 is Sound Productions’ 50th Anniversary! From its chance beginnings as a backline rental company to its current role as a leading supplier of AVL gear, SoundPro has consistently served their customers with stellar service and industry knowledge. Let’s look back at the events that started it all—and the legacy that continues to make SoundPro special today!
In 1973, Charles Kitch, a guitar player and entrepreneur, was working at the Arnold & Morgan Music store when he received an unexpected call that would change the course of the next four decades. Elvis Presley’s tour manager Charlie Stone called the music store looking to rent backline gear for Elvis’s show in Dallas the next day. The store owner told Stone that he could buy the gear just like everyone else.
Not one to let an opportunity pass by, Charles started pulling together the required gear including his personal Fender guitar and amp. With the assistance of a friend who had business cards and a 4-track recording studio called Sound Productions, they were able to supply the gear needed for Elvis. That one gig turned into a 30-day tour with Elvis. That tour’s promoter, Concerts West, called again a few weeks later requesting backline rental for Chicago and Three Dog Night tours. As the full-fledged business of Sound Productions took shape, Charles left his job at the music store to focus on this new venture.
Within a year, Sound Productions was providing backline and tech support for some of the biggest names in Rock ‘n Roll, including the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel, David Bowie, The Kinks, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Lynyrd Skynyrd, James Taylor, and many others. SoundPro became the backline provider for most tours that were serviced by Showco, a full-service production company out of Dallas, Texas.
In the following decades, SoundPro expanded its services to custom-designed installs, as well as fabricating custom electronic and speaker systems for touring bands. These new areas of business led the company to form partnerships with JBL, Crown, Soundcraft, UREI, and other industry vendors.
When bands and production companies wanted to buy the products they rented, Showco contracted SoundPro to sell off their older systems. Selling these systems made it natural to transition into pro audio sales and repair, and SoundPro started selling new and used gear all around the country. The growing company even became the exclusive dealer for Showco’s new speaker line, the SS Series. After running ads in Performance Magazine, Billboard, and REP magazines, Charles was selling new and used gear all around the country. In 1982, SoundPro started a new phase of growth, partnering with the Trammell Crow Company to provide custom-designed installs for hotel clubs around the United States.
In 1985, to avoid competing with SoundPro’s contractor customers, SoundPro shifted its business focus to sales and distribution. The expertise in production, design, and installation enabled the sales team to provide a higher level of service than competitors could offer.
On July 13, 2012, Sound Productions expanded into a larger office space, moving to a new location in Irving, Texas. Less than a decade later, the company had grown even further, enabling them to open a second office in Madison, Wisconsin in 2020. This second office positioned SoundPro to better serve a growing customer base in the Midwest and enabling the company to grow beyond its TOLA roots into a nationwide distributor.
HONORING THE PAST…BUILDING THE FUTURE
Today, Sound Productions is one of the industry’s leading retailers and distributors of Pro Audio, Video, and Lighting equipment. Our customers come from diverse segments such as corporate businesses, musical groups and solo artists, contractors/integrators, DJs, hospitality and special event venues, houses of worship, live productions, educational facilities, and more. SoundPro’s current success is founded on decades of growth, strong adherence to our core values, and intentionally honoring the past while investing in the future of our industry and community. With people as our top priority, SoundPro cultivates a culture of accountability, a passion for the industry, and an obsession with providing the best service to every customer.
People Are Our Core
People are at the core of SoundPro: the people that work here, the customers we serve, the industry we’re a part of, and our neighboring communities. The entire staff works as a team to support individuals as they grow in their jobs. We intentionally deepen our relationships with our fellow AVL professionals, building a network of friends as well as coworkers and partners. Impacting our surrounding communities is also a huge priority as SoundPro, with myriad initiatives to reach out and make a difference including fundraising, supporting military veterans, and getting involved with nonprofit organizations. “The essence of SoundPro is our people,” says SoundPro CEO Joshua Curlett. “We will always invest in our people, our relationships, and the tools necessary to serve and support this awesome industry.”
Accountability Is Our Culture
This isn’t just a slogan: accountability is a way of life in how SoundPro business operates every day. Pursuing transparency in all we do, we front-load expectations with our team and our customers, then take ownership of our responsibilities and follow through on our commitments. Although sometimes “accountability” has taken on a negative connotation in professional contexts, SoundPro uses it as a positive asset, using accountability is a tool to empower our team to support, drive, and encourage one another to constantly improve and grow in our individual tasks.
Our Industry Is Our Passion
We don’t just work in our industry—we live it and love it. For example, many of our Account Managers are musicians, songwriters, DJs, or other AVL enthusiasts outside of work. This personal passion makes our team a knowledgeable resource nationwide. With over 300 years of combined experience and dozens of manufacturer certifications under their belt, 100% of SoundPro’s Account Manager team is certified in QSC Q-SYS, Allen & Heath dLive, and Shure Stem Audio, ensuring you get the answers you need.
Service Is Our Obsession
Whether it’s at work or onstage, we strive to serve those around us…and have a blast doing so! SoundPro continually searches for ways to improve the experience of our customers. We are committed to providing professional gear through a buying process made fast and easy with our curated stock and fast shipping turnaround.
HERE’S TO 50 MORE YEARS!
“We are thrilled to celebrate 50 years of serving customers in an industry that we have so much passion for,” says Curlett. “With our rich company history, we will continue to honor the past while we build a better future for our team members, our vendors, and our customers. As SoundPro continues to grow, I’m truly grateful for those who have taken part in making SoundPro what it is today, and I look forward to what we can do together in the years to come.”