Another Year in the Books

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • December 2018
  • Editorial
• Created: December 3, 2018

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For 11 months out of the year, opening an issue of MMR begins with me spouting off on some topic or another. Certain editorials are met with agreement and thanks from readers; others yield indignant, angry emails (For what it’s worth, I welcome feedback of all types, so keep those messages coming!). Each December, though, I yield this space for some observations on the state of our industry from individuals who actually know what they’re talking about in meaningful ways that my own armchair theorizing cannot match.

Below are some thoughts on the past year and the future from a few of the principal figures at some of the MI retail operations mentioned in our Annual “America’s Top Music Chains” report (page 50):

“2017 was a good year for us. 2018 is better yet, and we’re already looking forward to taking it up another notch in 2019.The battles don’t change that much from year to year; it’s just who happens to be nipping at our heels.”

Nick Rail, Nick Rail Music


“2018 was down in overall merchandise sales, but up in services: Lessons, repairs, rentals, installations. What concerns me is how people won’t even drive 15 minutes to come into our store. ‘Ship it to me. It’s free, right?’”

Whitney Grisaffi, Ted Brown Music Company


“We have had a good year so far. All indicators point in the right direction. I think the import tariffs will play a part in changing our industry pricing.”

Tim Jones, N Tune Music & Sound


“It’s not so much a concern, but the huge tariffs on Chinese made goods and the impact that will have on overall pricing of products [is an issue]. Unfortunately, the ‘race to zero’ will be on again as we look for cheap products instead of affordable, quality products from China.”

Tim Kletti, Music Go Round


“2017 was a record year for us and 2018 is shaping up to surpass that! A concern for me is the market becoming flooded with ultra-low quality product and first-time buyers/parents not being able to distinguish the difference as they are purchasing from non-traditional music outlets that they otherwise would ‘trust.’”

Dave Kessler, Kessler & Sons Music, Inc.


“In the retail stores, we kept our sales staff focused on margins and put an intentional focus on being aware of high-margin versus low-margin items within the same product categories.”

Amanda Rueter, Springfield Music


“The U.S. economy, our school systems, and our customers, in general, are very positive and optimistic about the economy and their economic well-being. The very positive impact of the new tax code, for our business and our customers, is supporting revenue and net income after-tax growth.”

Jeffrey Eckroth, Eckroth Music Co.

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