Looking Out for the Shifts in Business Currents June 2009

It wasn’t long ago that sages were predicting the demise of the traditional retail music dealer. The first dot-com-phenom was just a bubble, but more savvy internet mavens then jumped into the fray and the music store owner was being squeezed by the buying power of the big-box cartels on one side, and low overhead computer wizards one the other. It was just a matter of time until the entire industry would be turned upside down, was the conventional wisdom. But guess what—it has not happened! Apparently there are just too many of you out there who love to play “Fool the Prophet”! Customers really do care about selecting instruments from stock and appreciate the advice of a caring professional, not to mention the service of a first-rate custom set-up.

A few low-overhead “guys” are still out there but their ranks have been decimated by the tenacity of music store owners and their staff members. The same group that is thriving has discovered how to deal with the Big Box. More often than not the solution has been to walk into one of the chain stores, check out the brands that they have and then banish those brands from the their stores. That is a Draconian solution—difficult, but in most cases, necessary to make. You cannot compete directly when your competitor is buying at 20%-30% lower than you. His discounted prices are still yielding great margin percentage—when you match price it comes right out of your hide!

So — “you hit him where he ain’t!” Like you we look out for the shifts in the business current. In difficult times customers at every level are more careful with their choices and are looking for new, refreshing product ideas. You will find those choices here, in the pages of “The Retail Music News.” Then, customers will discover you—just as you have discovered Saga Musical Instruments.

Richard Keldsen
San Francisco
June 2009