The pandemic is driving the profits for online music retailers.
Fender, the instrument company founded by Leo Fender in 1938 as “Fender Radio Service,” have announced that 2020 will be the biggest year of sales volume in Fender history. Sales are also through the roof at Bizarre Guitar and Drum shop in Phoenix, Arizona. Apple acknowledges the company is seeing record levels of interest in Garageband and record setting downloads of library files. Online music reatiler Sweetwater is shipping 15,000 to 20,000 orders every day. The CEO of Martin Guitars is quoted as calling the current sales environment as a “guitar boom.” Roland reports that it’s ZenBeats is being downloaded at five times the normal rate. Social media platforms are being flooded with music content as beginners and professional musicians alike create and post their clips.
The shape, or demongraphics, of new music equipment purchasers is also changing. Fender reports about 20 percent of new users of their guitar instructional program ”Fender Play” are under 24, and 70 percent were under 45. Female users grew from 30 percent of users before the pandemic, and have grown represent 45 percent of the new group.
Caption/Credit. Learn to Play Billie Eilish on Uke and Guitar, from Fender Play. Just in time to promote the launch of the Billie Eilish Signature Ukele complete with Telecaster headstock, Fishman Kula electronics, and her trademark ‘blohsh’ symbol.
Brendan Murphy, a senior salesman at Sweetwater Music, has been in the music retail industry for over tenty five years, and he emailed the New York Times to say: “it feels like every day is Black Friday.”
As the national and global economy takes a punch to the gut, the Music Instrument Industry, just like mask and hand-sanitizer and liquor industries, is coasting to record sales and profits.
Byline: Conrad Warre from London, England, writes for music publications and plays lead guitar in the Boston-based acid-blues band Bees Deluxe.