Keep Your Eye on the Moguls March 2004

The waters on the both sides of the Pacific Road are filled with sharks, flim-flam artists, snake oil salesmen and the flotsam and jetsam of those who have failed. I just returned for a winter swing through Northeast Asia that wound up with a day of skiing in Manchuria. The ruts, bumps, and underbrush up there are minuscule compared to those that you are facing everyday. By now most music store owners and end-users have figured out that “factory-direct” means that the factory problems are passed directly on to you, and that inflated list prices and “generous” margins are in reality fooling no one. P.T. Barnum may have had something when he said that there is one born every minute but somehow the market eventually shakes everything loose.

Five years ago doom-sayers were predicting the end of the music retailer. Mega-stores, on-line sellers, mail order discounters were to be the waves of the future. They have enjoyed some success but so have the thousands of retail specialty shops throughout the country. Our dealer base is at its highest level and my guess is that there are more music shops operating profitably than there were five years ago… so much for doom and gloom. As you look through the pages of this issue of Retail Music News you will find hundreds of items designed to keep you sharp.

The Cremona Violin Family will give you quality instruments to compete effectively against any on-line or mail order operation. Blueridge Guitars will give you a strong weapon against former icons that demand gigantic annual purchases of merchandise that you don’t need, and then turn around and smack you in the teeth on-line or in a mega-store. Rover and Kentucky Mandolins will put you into the still-booming acoustic market with proven sales leaders. So… keep your eyes on the moguls and don’t let the flim-flam man make a monkey out of you, if you know what I mean, and I think you do!

Richard Keldsen
San Francisco
March, 2004

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