Keeping Time in a Changing Market: Dealers Share Thoughts About the B&O Percussion Sales

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Survey
• Created: November 9, 2017

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Results from this month’s retailer survey were something of a mixed bag, though there were some takeaways.

While complaints regarding online competition are pretty standard, regardless of the topic being discussed, for whatever reason the realm of band & orchestral percussion instrument sales seems to be particularly hard-hit. Even participants in this poll who shared generally upbeat views on this market segment often cited difficulties related to keeping up with internet retailers.

While it’ll come as a surprise to virtually nobody that school music directors, districts, and student musicians were most frequently noted as “typical” B&O percussion instruments, it may be of interest that a good portion cited young to young-ish (20s-40s) adults looking to “jam” as go-to customers for this type of gear.

Another “what to make of this?” result of this survey: for every retailer who described typical B&O percussion end-users as being lower-middle or, even, low income, there were those who remarked that a trend in the past year has been one of customers more willing to spend more (even a lot more) to get a quality instrument that will last for years to come.

On average, how would you describe – age, income level, ability, intended usage of instruments/ gear – your typical B&O percussion customer?


“Elementary to middle school, middle class. All are brand-new students. Many return the rentals at the end of the year and don’t continue the next year.”

Jennifer Harrigfeld

Woodstock Music Shop

Woodstock, New York


“Beginning fifth and sixth graders.”

Ej Dombrowski

Jim’s Music

Green Bay, Wisconsin


“There is no one or average band instrument customer. They come from all income levels, and the ages are usually between 35-40.”

Mark Magellan

Bill’s Music Sales, Inc.

Stockton, California


“Lower income, beginner to intermediate, for school usage.”

Paul Durand

Family Piano Company

Waukegan, Illinois


“Intermediate drummers and mature drummers, students.”

Jimmy Marks

GLYNS Guitars

Fostoria, Ohio


“16-35 years old, upper-middle Income, [purchasing for] “jam” usage (djembe, hand percussion).”

Allegro Music Center

Miami, Florida


“Middle-aged parents buying for their kids.”

Dean Tower

Dean’s Strings and Music Suppliers

Whitehorse, Yukon



“Middle school, beginner, beginner band, sticks and mallets and rentals for snare/bell kits.”

Justin Sims

Sims Music

Columbia, South Carolina


“Young beginning students from families with low to moderate income, primarily. Starting band and continuing band levels 1 & 2.”

Ted Engstrom

Sunday Guitars

Bend, Oregon


“In their early 20s… just getting a band together to jam.”’

Shelly Morris

Morris Music Store & Studio

Sheridan, Wyoming


“Schools and institutions, eighth grade through college.”

Randy Pratt


Fort Wayne, Indiana


Have you been noticing any significant trends with respect to B&O percussion instruments – either on the supplier or the consumer side?


“It’s hard to compete with catalogs, internet, and MAP policy in the entire music industry!”

Bruce Marion

Marion Music

Melbourne, Florida


“Suppliers are not stocking as heavily and consumers are buying good quality instead of economy brands.”

Wesley Edwards

Draisen Edwards Music

Anderson, South Carolina/Atlanta, Georgia


“On the consumer end, I’m definitely seeing that parents are still very money and space-conscious with their purchases. Parents of beginners are wary about drum purchases and prefer practice pads.”

Karen Janiszewski

Music Room

Cheektowaga, New York


“Everyone wants price to be lower for everything. They take pictures of store merchandise and then look it up on the web and tell us, “Well, I can get it for $____ on Amazon or Musician’s Friend or Sweetwater” et cetera. We need to stop the big stores from taking our clients somehow!”

Sue Sexton

Greenfield Music and Amps, LLC

Greenfield, Ohio


“Better availability this year. More schools are doing ‘total percussion,’ rather than just a snare drum.”

Kevin Walters

Central Penn Music

Palmyra, Pennsylvania


“More and more ISOs (instrument shaped objects) flooding the market with cheaply made, poor quality product shows up every year. As for school purchases, they’re finding budgetary constraints preclude the purchase of new equipment and we’re refurbishing more and more of the old stuff for them.”

Bob Josjor

Lou Kraus Music, Inc.

Ogallala, Nebraska

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