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Bang the Drum… Quietly

Christian Wissmuller • February 2021Roundtable • February 3, 2021

Electronic Drum Kits Offer Options and Versatility

The continued challenges brought about by the current global pandemic have forced many musicians to get creative when it comes to practicing, performing, and sharing their art. Happily, today’s electronic drums benefit from features and a degree of sophistication that can satisfy even the most demanding players, while also allowing music to be created at a small fraction of the volume compared to a traditional acoustic kit (read: housemates and neighbors are far less likely to lose their minds as drummers hone their craft).

With recent lockdowns, certain instrument categories have seen an uptick in sales. Due to the quieter nature of electronic kits, as compared to acoustic, have you also seen increased consumer interest?

Matthew Rudin, Marketing Manager, Drums, Yamaha

Matthew Rudin: With many people still homebound, we have seen an increase in new musicians, specifically acoustic drummers looking for quiet sets to practice or even record with at home. The electronic kits are fantastic for new students, allowing them to play with confidence without disturbing those around them, while our more advanced electronic kits are being purchased by the more experienced drummers looking to practice, or record performances to share on social. Not only have our electronic drum sales increased, but there has also been a surge in acoustic drummers using the EAD10 to record drums at home or in the studio, share videos online, and give virtual lessons.

John Emrich, Director of Product Development for Alesis

John Emrich: Alesis has been looking at steady growth in electronic drums for the last four to five years. Electronic drums have been outselling acoustic drums broadly for the last few years. They’re another tool that is needed to be a gainfully employed drummer. In fact, a lot of players have made careers out of performing and teaching at home. Electronic drums make that a lot easier!

Gary Ingraffia, ddrum Brand Director

Gary Ingraffia: The interest in electronic drums is at an all-time high. E-drums provide a quiet creative outlet for drummers and other musicians to continue to stay engaged without driving the household crazy. And with the quality of E-drums getting better and better in entry level price-points, it has reignited interest in young drummers and drumming in general.

Pat Kennedy, Product Manager, Drums & Percussion, Roland Americas

Pat Kennedy: Absolutely. Drummers of all levels have found the use of Roland V-Drums to be extremely valuable and beneficial during these challenging times. The range of applications that are possible and achievable by using electronic drums are virtually endless: professionals are using V-Drums to continue creating music to sustain their livelihoods and provide much needed live-stream entertainment; educators and students are utilizing V-Drums to provide high-quality lessons online to continue their growth as a musician; hobbyists are discovering or returning to the joy of playing music at home thanks to V-Drums; families are investing in their physical, mental, and social health by setting up V-Drums at home as a welcome activity, unleashing much needed fun and enjoyment – proudly referred to at Roland as “Waku-Waku!.” Music has the power to help heal and we are thankful that Roland V-Drums can impact all people in a positive way.

For your brand, what’s currently the top-selling electronic drum set?

JE: Alesis Drums has offerings at every price point. The number-one in total number of sales last year was the Nitro Mesh Kit. If you’re a young drummer, the Nitro Mesh Kit gives you the most for your money. We just introduced the E-Drum Total which has lowered the entry-point of all-mesh drum kits without sacrificing any of that same quality. We are also extremely proud of how our Strike MultiPad has been welcomed into the market by electronic and acoustic drummers alike.

PK: Roland V-Drums provides a wide range of products to fulfil any and all needs. Currently, one of our best-selling kits is the TD-17KVX – a very powerful drum kit with many features such as Bluetooth connectivity, coaching functions, and USB connectivity for high-quality home recording. We also recently launched the TD-07KV – a new entry-level kit conveniently compact and ideal for drumming at home, while delivering the superior expression and playability of high-end V-Drums in an affordable package. The award-winning V-Drums Acoustic Design series kits are also providing drummers with the look and feel of acoustic drums, while delivering superior audio control and sonic creativity, ideal for live-stream events and unrivaled studio recording performances.

GI: In 2020 the DD Beta XP 2 kit was our top selling E-kit. 2020 has been a transitional year for ddrum as we have phased out of all of our E-kit SKUs and will be releasing a new lineup in Q2 of 2021. With interest in drumming increasing across the board, our hybrid drums have also seen record sales for us after being in our product mix for 10 years.

MR: Up until recently the DTX402 Series was hands down our top selling electronic drum set, this includes the DTX402K, DTX432K and DTX452K. However, with the new DTX6 Series launch in November, we’ve seen the DTX6K-X take over the top-selling spot. The New DTX6K3-X is also doing very well, selling on par with both the DTX432K and DTX452K kits.

Any advice on strategies to market and sell this type of gear during these challenging times?

PK: At Roland we work happily alongside our dealer partners to help reach consumers directly and highlight all of the benefits of V-Drums mentioned here. From providing live-streamed events online to hosting customized training sessions, we work to educate consumers and customer service representatives so that they are equipped to make the best decisions for their drumming and business needs. Likewise, Roland offers an extensive array of video streaming products such as the VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer or GO:MIXER PRO Audio Mixer for Smartphones that, when coupled with our V-Drums kits, provide a complete solution to successfully connect and share music during these socially-distant times.

GI: I truly think that a strong focus on market demand is key. Currently every imaginable pricing slot starting from $299 is filled with quality products. The key is breaking out of the pricing game by incorporating unique feature sets that will help steer consumers away from focusing on just the price. Even more important than the implementation of these feature sets is demonstrating these through comprehensive video tutorials and demonstrations.

MR: Stay flexible and be creative. These are interesting and challenging times, to say the least, but they are not without opportunity. With the increase in online engagement, our tactics to connect through social media, virtual events, blogs and newsletters have been successful. Staying agile and using the tools and channels available to share stories that resonate with our audience has helped us build awareness for our new products and keeps customers engaged with Yamaha. No matter what we create, we strive to ensure what we are putting out is original, insightful and reflects our passion for making music and creating products that inspire others to make music.

JE: If you’re a retailer today then you must have an online presence with a backend that can support it. You can no longer rely solely on people walking into a store off the street.

Have you been noticing any other trends with respect to electronic drum kits? What are your expectations for this market segment in the coming months?

JE: Electronic drums are where the action is! They’re constantly evolving. Technological advances are coming faster than ever and it’s very exciting to build new products right now. We look forward to the next few months. It’s also encouraging that traditional musical instrument shops are becoming more receptive to placing electronic drums on the same sales floors once reserved just for acoustic sets. People are starting to realize that electronic drums aren’t just toys. With COVID-19, teaching has become very difficult, and electronic drums make learning so much more accessible.

MR: All signs seem to indicate that the electronic drum market will continue to grow. We will continue to focus on customers looking for a high-quality electronic drumming experience by delivering versatile and durable products with high-definition sound and that are, most importantly, fun to play.

GI: I have seen the same trend that continues to exist in the acoustic drum world – a race to the lowest possible price-point. The positive side of this trend is that the instrument is now being exposed in a much better way than the past to the consumer goods world. This will expose the world of drumming to more children who will hopefully stay with the instrument, or music in general. I feel this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. I do not see the end of the COVID-19 situation changing the current trends. It will only help other categories that have struggled.

PK: Musicians, and drummers in particular, are innate problem-solvers. Their creative minds allow them to pivot quickly, adapt to ever-changing circumstances, and successfully discover innovative solutions to thrive in any environment. As society continues to overcome the challenges of the future, we look forward to the continued growth and acceptance of Roland V-Drums as a necessary tool to ensure the success of the music and drumming community across the globe.

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