Forbes - - Entrepreneurs -

Is the gui­tar in­dus­try go­ing the way of Hen­drix and Cobain? Not nec­es­sar­ily: Last year re­tail­ers sold $1.9 bil­lion of new fret

ted in­stru­ments and re­lated gear, up 9% from 2016. Andy Mooney, CEO of Fen­der, based in Scotts­dale, Ari­zona, says his famed ($500 mil­lion rev­enues) com­pany in­creas­ingly caters to first

time shred­ders.

Why are you op­ti­mistic about the gui­tar’s fu­ture?

Con­sump­tion of live and

recorded mu­sic is at an all-time high. There are [nearly 200 mil­lion] peo­ple pay­ing for dig­i­tal stream­ing services, and Livena­tion re­ports 82 mil­lion peo­ple went to con­certs last year—up 21%.

In Fen­der’s case, we’re doing a good job of be­ing a provider and mar­keter through dig­i­tal chan­nels. We’ve re­ally stepped up

our game on­line.

Will sales in­creas­ingly

move to the Web?

It’s in­evitable that it’ll be a higher per­cent­age, but less than in other in­dus­tries, be­cause gui­tar play­ers want to phys­i­cally hold the gui­tar, hear how it sounds,

plug into an amp.

What’s the busi­ness case for go­ing af­ter begin­ners?

About two years ago we did a lot of re­search into new gui­tar buy­ers. We found that 45% of the gui­tars we sell go to first-time play­ers—much higher than we imag­ined. Ninety per­cent of first-time play­ers aban­don the in­stru­ment in the first 12 months, if not the first 90 days, but the 10% who don’t com­mit to

the in­stru­ment for life.

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