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While some of our MI retailer surveys can provide a somewhat mixed-bag in terms of results, this month’s poll points to a generally clear direction for the Artist Series drumstick market segment: Down.

Some of the participants in this survey – sent out to over 300 dealers – observe that Signature Series sticks were a bigger deal in years past, while many also note that mainly only younger players are impacted by a stick’s association with a specific, “big name” player. There do seem to be certain artist sticks that do make an impact, either due to the extremely high status of the drummer in question, the unique features of the drumstick design, or both – but this would appear to be well in the minority, overall.

Many more – easily the vast majority – point to the fact that the volume of different artist sticks out there is so massive that it’s difficult to navigate, market, and sell the product. “Suppliers are providing many, many choices. It is confusing as a non-drummer storeowner. I generally ignore them,” says Dean Tower of Dean’s Strings and Music Supplies (Whitehouse, Yukon, Canada). Richard “Gus” Guastamachio (Dynamic Percussion, East Hartford, Connecticut) agrees: “[There are] too many artists sticks, across the board. [The] majority of customers just want the basic stick models.”

Or, as Anthony Mantova of Eureka, California’s Mantova’s Two Street Music puts it, “Seems like every drummer and their donkey has their name on some company’s sticks!”

It seems likely that in the quest to attach their brands to well-known artists, stick suppliers have over-saturated the market – maybe not from a general PR standpoint, but certainly in terms of units moved.

 

“It really depends on the customer. Some will lean towards the signature stick of their favorite artist, but a lot of people just like certain features of particular artist sticks.”

Adam York

The Music Store

Tulsa, Oklahoma

 

“Mostly, marching stick sales are impacted more than typical drumsticks.”

Dave St. John

Gard’s Music

Glendora, California

 

“More than the signature of an artist, the uniqueness that is used in some Signature sticks make them attractive. i.e.: Zildjian’s Josh Dun [model] with the bright red finish and Trilok Gurtu model with the unique grip.”

Dave Heath

Ted Brown Music Co.

Tacoma, Washington

 

“I think 10-30 years ago a Signature stick had significant impact, as many drummers were looking to emulate [a given player’s] sound and feel. Today, it matters less whose name is on it. If it feels right and does the job, it doesn’t matter if it’s Signature or not.”

Greg Allen

Long Island Drum Center of Nyack

Nyack, New York

 

Have you been noticing any significant trends when it comes to artist series drumsticks, either on the supplier or consumer side of the equation?

 

“The Billy Cobham sticks are hot this year with the schools.”

Paul Lewis

Lewis Music Store

Kissimmee, Florida

 

“No, it is basically teacher driven.”

Colin Campbell

Riverton Music

Sandy, Utah

 

“Artist sticks carry less and less weight.”

Bob Goodden

Bell Music

Vernon, Wisconsin

 

“Our business is mainly oriented to the school band and orchestra markets. The marching artist sticks have some impact, but otherwise this doesn’t affect us much.”

Jeff Young

Marshall Music Company

Lansing, Michigan

 

“Our customers will occasionally try a different pair because of the artist endorsement, but they generally tend to ‘stick’ with the ones they’re used to.”

C.E. Surine

The Drum Shop Tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma

 

“Less interest, both sides of the fence.”

D. Brooke

Nilam Music

Hereford, Herefordshire

England

 

“Most long-term drummers realize that ‘signature’ sticks are simply variations on basic models, that they can get cheaper without the endorsement price!”

Frank Karnes

Lynchburg Music Center

Lynchburg, Virginia

 

“Colored sticks are moving well.”

Terry Nirva

Leithold Music

La Crosse, Wisconsin

 

“Not just in sticks, but in strings and other products as well: putting the name of a mostly obscure player on a package doesn’t make them more desirable to the average

MI shopper. Major names (Neal Peart or Steve Gadd, for example) might very well prompt sales out of curiosity.”

Allen McBroom

Backstage Music

Starksville, Mississippi

 

“Most customers have a model they normally play. Younger players do gravitate toward the sticks of their favorite drummer.”

Glenn Weber

Glenn Weber Drum Shop

West Orange, New Jersey

 

“You need to sell a ton of stock really quickly to make anything, and as you can’t mark things up at all at this point, good luck with that. Should they sit too long, they may turn into twisted junk and end up in the blowout bin and then you make nothing. It may be just a trend in music retail. Move it fast, get in, and get out.”

Rusty Olson

Rockhaus

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

“Yeah the new Diamond back sticks are carved for better grip. And Promark’s Fire Sticks are nearly unbreakable and they look cool, too.”

Jeremy Barnett

The Vox Box

Marshall, Missouri

 

“Artist products are very streaky. A particular artist may be a customer’s favorite artist this month, but not the next.”

Dan Patterson

Roger’s Music

Fort Payne, Alabama

 

“Drummers buy sticks mostly by the way a stick feels, and how it works for them. If it happens to be an artist series stick then the buyer has more reinforcement in their decision. That being the case, the artists name brings an initial curiosity and some clout, but if the stick does not feel good to the user it doesn’t matter. The upside to an artist stick is that they usually have a unique trait about them, and that can be a good conversation-starter and sales tool.”

Menzie Pittman

Contemporary Music Center

Haymarket, Virginia

 

“Suppliers are providing many, many choices. It is confusing as a non-drummer storeowner. I generally ignore them.”

Dean Tower

Dean’s Strings and Music Supplies

Whitehouse, Yukon

Canada

 

“Not really. Drummers, like other musicians, will experiment ,but seem to come back to their favorites.”

Cary Nasatir

Nasatir School of Percussion

Castro Valley, California

 

“[There are] too many artists sticks, across the board. [The] majority of customers just want the basic stick models. Teenagers seem to be the only ones who ‘follow and crave’ artist-endorsed, or signature sticks.”

Richard “Gus” Guastamachio

Dynamic Percussion

 

“I think 10-30 years ago a Signature stick had significant impact, as many drummers were looking to emulate [a given player’s] sound and feel. Today, it matters less whose name is on it. If it feels right and does the job, it doesn’t matter if it’s Signature or not.”

Greg Allen

Long Island Drum Center of Nyack

Nyack, New York



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