MUM 2702

Professor Calle





Music merchandising brings in over $5 billion annually in retail sales through stores.


There exist more than 60 million amateur and professional musicians who need equipment, supplies, etc.


Music products industry = all hard goods and printed music.


Acoustic & electric instruments

Home and church organs

Wind, brass and percussion instruments, strings, amps and recording gear

Sheet music

Repairs & lessons


The 4 arms of merchandising:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Wholesalers
  3. Distribution
  4. Retailers


As a salesperson, you need to know what you are selling and to whom you are selling the product or service (demographic).  Note that the market is always in flux due to changes in technology.


Top sales (see Baskerville book p. 242)


Growth areas:

Fretted instruments


Home recording

MIDI gear



Retailers: Mars Music, Sam Ash, Guitar Center

They offer knowledge and service.


Band & Orchestra sales:

Smallest part = professional musicians

Next largest group = amateur musicians

Schools and churches = 85% of sales.

1 in 10 kids play in band or orchestra.

Band instruments also include string instruments.


Student instruments are built to withstand the rough handling of students.

Rent-to-own is an affordable and profitable way to “move product.”  Must keep a close eye on billing to maintain a constant cash flow. If the stores don’t collect the rental money, they lose the confidence of the lenders and banks.


Kids generally rent-to-own popular instruments such as the:

flute, clarinet, alto & tenor sax, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola.


Schools are forced to buy the rarer and more expensive instruments such as the:

Piccolo, tuba, string bass, cello, baritone sax, French horn, euphonium (baritone), oboe, English horn, bassoon, lower-voiced clarinets and the entire array of percussion instruments.


Store reps make frequent visits and pick up and drop off repairs and always have accessories to sell such as:

Reeds, mouthpieces, ligatures, cork grease, valve oil, etc.


Stores offer lessons for profit and to maintain customer interest in the product.


Audio equipment

Merchandise sold at department stores tends to be low end, not state-of-the-art.


3 levels of audio equipment

  1. Professional
  2. Semi-professional
  3. Consumer grade or home use

Large dealers will often sell at low profit margins in order to wipe out the competition.



Most music retailers sell print music.


Institutional print – music sold to schools & churches for band, orchestra and choir.


Institutional print dealers:

Wingert-Jones (Kansas City, MO)

J.W. Pepper (Valley Forge, PA) with many satellite stores through US

Warner Bros. (Miami, FL)


85-90% of these companies sales are via phone, mail or computer.


The print music business is like Wal-Mart. Due to low profit margins, you must sell in bulk.



  1. Reading sessions at retailers
  2. direct mail accompanied by recordings of the charts
  3. descriptions in catalogs
  4. word of mouth


Print dealers always rush music out and give customer 60 to 90 days to pay the bill.


Retailers often sell music at a break-even basis in order to entice customers into visiting the store.


Cooperative advertising – manufacturer and merchant split the cost of the advertisement.

Manufacturers always provide point of sale items for display. These include banners, signs, cards, racks, window dressing and often instruments.


Loaner programs for Universities are when a manufacturer will let the school use a piano/instrument for a period of time and then sell them as used equipment. Great form of advertising letting students play on quality instruments and helps the community.



NAMM – National Association of Music Merchants

Now known as the International Music Products Association. Made up of 6000+ retailers, reps, wholesalers and distributors. NAMM provides training programs, supports public and private music education and generally promotes the benefits of playing music.


NABIM – National Association of Band Instrument Merchandisers

This group encourages college students to think of music merchandising as a career choice.


GAMA – Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association


AMC – American Music Conference

Non-profit music education association.




Financial management and accounting knowledge and application are a must.


P/L (profit & loss) statement.

This sheet shows the financial condition of the store or company at any time. This is usually studied at the end of the month and year respectively.


Assets – money/capital and inventory.

Liabilities – accounts payable, loans, any form of debt.

Owner’s equity = propietorship = (Assest – liabilities)


Inventory turnover rule. The faster the turnaround the better the business is doing.