In the Wall Street Journal, no less . . .

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Deeve, May 15, 2019.

  1. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,865
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ballard
    Finding new ways to get starters to stick.

    (then introduce 'em to TDPRI)
    ;)

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-down-to-earth-dreams-of-todays-guitar-buyer-11557799500?
    . . .
    Mr. Mooney says Fender is “generating industry and share growth” with help from marketing, social media and a subscription-based, online learning product it calls Fender Play. The online lessons platform, he says, which launched in 2017, already has 100,000 users and is central to the company’s goal of getting people to become lifelong guitar players and customers. He says there are signs that Fender Play, by keeping people engaged with the guitar though digital lessons, has helped get customers to the crucial one-year mark—after which they are less likely to quit.
     
    DougM likes this.
  2. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    17,629
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    Maybe the new Gibson people can read this article?
     
    DougM likes this.
  3. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,479
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    Fender's really on a roll these days, with awesome products at all prices, and smart marketing like this. And they have a lot of tutorials on their website aimed at beginners even if they don't subscribe to Fender Play. It's all good for the overall guitar community, not just neophytes.
     
    farmcaster likes this.
  4. Recce

    Recce Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,778
    Joined:
    May 3, 2016
    Location:
    Northern Alabama
    It won’t let me read the article without subscribing.
     
    telemnemonics likes this.
  5. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,865
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Ballard
    What???
    Not EVERYBODY subscribes to WSJ???

    well, here's a back-up copy I made, just in case your system's acting up. . .
    The Down-to-Earth Dreams of Today’s Guitar Buyer
    Forget about being a rock star—Fender’s CEO says the new consumer is happy just playing at home
    Fender CEO Andy Mooney says the industry should sell the idea of the guitar as a lifetime pursuit. SHAYAN ASGHARNIA for The Wall Street Journal


    By
    Chris Kornelis
    May 13, 2019 10:05 p.m. ET
    The electric guitar doesn’t have the place in American culture that it once had. There isn’t a 20-something Eric Clapton at the top of the charts, or anyone close to a Jimi Hendrix commanding the nation’s attention.

    The electric guitar isn’t selling like it used to, either.

    Though total annual revenue from U.S. guitar sales last year was higher than before the 2008-09 recession, fewer new guitars were sold overall, according to Music Trades, a magazine that tracks industry sales. For electric and acoustic guitars together, U.S. sales in 2018 stood at 2.58 million units, compared with 2.8 million in 2008, the magazine reports. But while unit sales of acoustic guitar have recovered—exceeding prerecession levels last year—electric guitars haven't fared as well. Only 1.09 million new electric guitars (including bass guitars) were sold in the U.S. last year, down from 1.45 million in 2008.


    Andy Mooney, chief executive of privately owned Fender Musical Instruments—which says it relies on electric-guitar sales for 62% of its revenue—believes he has the answer to what ails his industry. Indeed, while Mr. Mooney declines to disclose his company’s sales in the U.S., he says that globally Fender sold “more than a million” guitars last year, including brands like Fender, Jackson and Gretsch, and saw overall revenue grow 10% from a year earlier, when sales of guitars, amps and other products are included. Fender had about $636 million in global revenue in 2018, an 8.7% increase from the previous year, according to Music Trades. A Fender representative declines to confirm whether that figure is correct.

    The way back for the guitar industry, Mr. Mooney says, isn’t finding more people who want to be the next Eddie Van Halen. It is selling the idea that playing the guitar is something you can enjoy, and get better at, your whole life, whether you become a rock star or not.

    [​IMG]
    A Stratocaster body is sanded in Fender’s Corona, Calif., factory. Photo: John Francis Peters
    Mr. Mooney says Fender is “generating industry and share growth” with help from marketing, social media and a subscription-based, online learning product it calls Fender Play. The online lessons platform, he says, which launched in 2017, already has 100,000 users and is central to the company’s goal of getting people to become lifelong guitar players and customers. He says there are signs that Fender Play, by keeping people engaged with the guitar though digital lessons, has helped get customers to the crucial one-year mark—after which they are less likely to quit.

    In an interview that extended over several conversations and emails, Mr. Mooney spoke with The Wall Street Journal about Fender’s efforts to reach a new kind of customer. Edited excerpts follow:

    WSJ: Is it Fender’s role to sell the idea of playing the electric guitar?

    MR. MOONEY: Absolutely. The way that people play guitar, what they do with guitars, has been evolving since the birth of punk. I think it’s become a much more accessible, broad-based instrument that people take up for multiple reasons. A lot of people in the industry, myself included, used to think people picked up a guitar to be a rock ’n’ roll god. The percentage of people who pick up guitars to do that now is in the single-digit range.


    People pick up a guitar today to learn a life skill, to play solo in the comfort of their own bedroom. It’s to play at campfire settings with friends. Again, there is a percentage of people who want to write and compose and perform, but that’s a relatively small percentage of the total.

    WSJ: How have guitar players’ habits changed over the last generation?

    MR. MOONEY: There is definitely a shift toward buying online as opposed to buying in store. We estimate about 50% of all Fender products that people buy have been bought online, and that could be from a pure-play online retailer like Sweetwater or Musician’s Friend or a multichannel retailer like Guitar Center.

    Women in particular perhaps in some ways are also a key driver of growth for the industry. About 50% of new guitar buyers are women. When I started in 2015, I commissioned research that found this, and we recently did another study, in 2018, that brought the same insight, which leads me to believe it has always been this way and we just didn’t know.

    Women are the least comfortable shopping in a brick and mortar store. They’d rather learn about the brand and the products online or through the social network and just buy online.

    WSJ: Are you trying to dispel notions that the guitar is difficult to play, or just trying to get the word out about new products?

    MR. MOONEY: Fender Play is a big initiative to reduce the abandonment rate of first-time players. Some 45% of the guitars that we sell every year go to first-time players, 90% of whom abandon the instrument in the first year.

    We don’t have a problem attracting new interest. We have a retention problem. Because the 10% who commit to the instrument have a lifetime value to the industry of about $10,000. They buy, on average, five to seven guitars, a lot of them Fenders. They buy multiple amps, they buy multiple accessories, they drive the hardware sales of the business.

    If we were to reduce the abandonment rate of first-time players by just 10%, we have the potential to double the size of the entire industry.

    WSJ: How is Fender reaching out to women?


    MR. MOONEY: We’re working with female artists in a variety of capacities, from creating custom guitars for special performances, such as the custom acrylic Stratocaster H.E.R. played at the 2019 Grammys. We’ve also highlighted amazing up-and-coming artists, such as Melanie Faye and Snail Mail in our most recent Player Series marketing campaign of electric guitars and basses, giving these talented women a platform to talk about their relationship with guitar.

    And we have women in our artists and repertoire department for the first time. We’ve got female employees talking to female artists, if that’s important to the artist.

    WSJ: Is Fender aligning more closely to country artists than it has in the past?

    MR. MOONEY: Yes. We have a whole team down in Nashville that is kind of the center for our family of country and worship artists, which is also a very important sector of the market now.

    WSJ: What else is Fender doing to reach the worship market?

    MR. MOONEY: We recognize that there’s just as many guitars played on Sunday morning as there are on Friday night. In addition to having dedicated personnel in Nashville, we’re supporting contemporary Christian music and worship artists through product support and content creation.

    We have a dedicated team to help ensure that artists are getting the right gear to fit their sound or to help find their sounds. We offer varying levels of support on a per artist basis whether it be gratis product for artists included in campaigns or artist pricing to help offset the high costs of touring.

    We’re working with artists like Hillsong United, Chris Tomlin, Lincoln Brewster. We also have working relationships with music directors and worship leaders and are helping them grow their programs by offering the best level of support possible.

    WSJ: How is technology changing the electric guitar?

    MR. MOONEY: It’s not.

    [​IMG]
    At this year’s Grammys H.E.R. performed with a custom acrylic Stratocaster from Fender. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

    WSJ: How is that possible? It’s changing everything else.

    MR. MOONEY: Anything tech-y with regard to the guitar, effects pedals and the amp hasn’t been embraced much by musicians because it’s not bringing anything to the table. The vast majority of players are employing technology in the recording process and the development of music.

    WSJ: Do customers still care where the guitars are made?

    MR. MOONEY: No. There are some aficionados who really look at the country of origin and really like to dissect every aspect of it. We like those customers and appeal to them, but nobody is agonizing over the fact that an iPhone came from China. So, I think country of origin is much less important now.

    Mr. Kornelis is a writer in Seattle. He can be reached at reports@wsj.com.
     
    telemnemonics, Route67 and Steve 78 like this.
  6. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    14,005
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Up North
    Naw, they will just buy Fenders.
     
  7. optofonik

    optofonik Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    136
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2015
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    It's a paywall article so thanks for posting the text, although I'm a bit conflicted even about that; complicated times we live in.


    I think these two things are very telling.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,973
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    WSJ paywall. Maybe Fender wants to post on their blog so their fans can read it?...

    "45% of the guitars that we sell every year go to first-time players, 90% of whom abandon the instrument in the first year" stick with the guitar and lifetime spend is $10,000.

    That matches with what I've seen. However, are they working on leveling frets on the starter guitars yet? That is a big part of it. The Fender play stuff is set up as a subscription model. Supermarkets run loss-leader sales to get people in the store knowing they buy more stuff when they show up. Easy to play is a big issue -- competing with video games that start easy and get hard at the upper levels while guitars start hard and get easier at the higher price levels.

    .
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
    Route67 likes this.
  9. aerhed

    aerhed Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    2,106
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2016
    Location:
    Boulder, WY
    Just what I need. More home players leaning against the wall with their arms crossed and giving me the scowl.
     
    Steve 78 and W.L.Weller like this.
  10. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    367
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2017
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I'll bet H.E.R.'s strat was made from top-grade tone methyl methacrylate.
     
  11. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ

    You are a brave soul republishing a subscription service commercial product... :)
     
    snorville and MilwMark like this.
  12. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,014
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Augusta, Maine
    Hm. "The electric guitar doesn’t have the place in American culture that it once had."

    Maybe because these days almost everyone has one?

    =O.

    And: "Though total annual revenue from U.S. guitar sales last year was higher than before the 2008-09 recession, fewer new guitars were sold overall . . . ."

    Uh - maybe also because at this point almost everyone has one?
     
    Deeve likes this.
  13. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    253
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    More people playing for the love of music rather than preposterous dreams of “rock n roll” excess? Sounds wonderful to me. Count me in on this particular brave new world.
     
  14. Frontman

    Frontman Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    835
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Crystal meth?
     
  15. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,329
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Location:
    meridianam altum centralis
    Ukelele strumming offers the same appeal. And uke's are much cheaper to build. Fender needs to check into those. <g>

    Everybody that ever wanted one has one. And now, as if by manipulation, many of us have five. I think Fender is targeting us to own ten each by the end of the decade, to make their revenue projections. <bg>
     
    Charlie Bernstein likes this.
  16. DNestler

    DNestler Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    206
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    Hauts de France
    Lots of wailing and moaning about the death of the electric guitar god and/or the electric guitar. The New York Times ran an article about this (IIRC) and Le Monde (Paris) has picked it up too. Le Monde have ascribed part of the drop in sales to "toxic masculinity" as well. That almost had my morning coffee coming out my nose.

    Lots of doom and gloom for predictable changes in the market. Headlines like this might as well read, "Baby boomers aren't the centre of the universe anymore!"

    I think Fender are right on the button. Marketing to women is long overdue. The lessons and community stuff is really just updated versions of The Music Man. In the early 20th century Gibson and other musical instrument manufacturers employed sales rep/teachers to start community based musical groups. Loads of mandolin orchestras 100 years ago were equipped, taught, and lead by people who got a commission from Gibson. I'm sure the same is true for brass instruments. The new communities are online rather than in town, and the lessons are on-demand rather than weekly scheduled. Other than that...?

    I bet Gibson won't be far behind now that they're under new management.

    Me? I'm coming back to electrics after being away for a while. Bucking the trend. Again. Might as well go get myself a 100w Marshall head with a couple of 4x12 cabs! LOL!

    Daniel
     
  17. Route67

    Route67 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    442
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Location:
    Canada
    Yes, it’s a built in problem when a starter guitar like a Affinity Telecaster requires a do-it-your-self repair right from the beginning to remove sharp fret ends then within a month another to fix failed wiring.

    The old business model of tiers of quality going up the food chain is a major obstacle working against welcoming new electric guitar players into the fold.

    Compare that to acoustic guitar entry level Yamaha FG fret work: friendly to the beginner.
     
  18. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,665
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Location:
    WV
    I went well past the 1 year mark on a beat up old cheap yamaha hand-me-down with so much relief in the neck that barre chords were almost impossible. I didn't know what action was, or that you can adjust it, until a couple of years of playing. Apart from one 'beginner' class my freshman year of college, I was entirely self-taught for several years. As soon as I could play three chords in a key, I started writing songs and playing along to my favorites. That's what got me to stay with it.

    Just saying. Everyone is different. The bug bit me in a way that I needed to stay with it at the time (for my life and sanity. But that's for another thread). I'm not saying that Fender doesn't have an excellent marketing strategy (they do). But as with most things IME, I tend not to fit well in typical target markets. I'm not the only one (I hope).

    EDIT: I should probably clarify that this was an acoustic, which is probably relevant to the news article. I didn't take up electric seriously for a few years, until I could get enough cash to buy my friend's kramer.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.