Category Archives: Sales Topics

The Art and Culture of Selling Sacred Music

by Joel Shoemake, Pine Lake Music Co.

Years ago I partnered with a Baptist state convention to provide low-cost choral music to small choirs across the state. This included creating new music in English, as well as translating everything into Spanish. As we began the translations, we hit a roadblock. You see, Spanish isn’t as uniform a language as English is. Not only do Spaniards speak a very different dialect than Mexicans or Cubans (for example, the Spanish word for “duck” in one Latin American country is a vulgar insult in another), but some of these cultural groups actively dislike the languages of the others. In the end, we found ourselves unable to adequately serve these groups because we simply did not understand their cultures well enough to meet their needs. The wisest decision we could make was to recognize that we were not well versed enough to serve that particular customer base.

So what does this have to do with selling sacred music to English speaking churches? Well…quite a lot, actually. You see, for decades we in the music publishing industry have referred to the market as being comprised of two parts – the Mainline and the Evangelical. Essentially, “Catholics and those who are like them” fell into one camp, and “Baptists and those who are like them” fell into another. And yes, this is the most basic way to divide our customer groups, and yes, these two groups do tend to prefer different types of music. But the truth is, both of these groups are actually made up of many tribes, each with their own cultures, traditions, preferences and dialects. Such a small number of choral music descriptors are used in so many ways that the words themselves have become practically un-descriptive. What words like blended, traditional and contemporary mean is defined less by the context clues of a sentence and more by the tribe of the person speaking them. In my opinion, you can’t sell more than a cursory amount of sacred music without investing in understanding the tribes in your area. Are they mainline? Evangelical? Do they sing with piano and organ, or guitars and drums? Do their choirs pride themselves on performing difficult pieces, or is the music just an avenue for the message? The answers to these questions will change how you order music, display music, interact with customers, and (most importantly) if sacred music can be a vital part of your music store.

Care to continue the conversation? Join me at the RPMDA conference (Friday, April 28 at 4:10pm), where we will dive deeper into the art and culture of selling sacred music.

Selling as a Customer: The Birth of an Unexpected Business Plan

By Mauricio Ramirez, Partituras MX When I first started working with the Hal catalog, back in 2013, as the manager of the recently founded section for printed music at Klavier, a piano store in Guadalajara, Mexico, I asked myself the obvious question for a first order: “What would sell the most and the fastest?” In… Continue Reading

Do Re Mi Fa, and Sol On

By Patti Cooper, Vocal Music Specialist, Senseney Music, Inc., Wichita, Kansas The Kodaly concept of music education is certainly not new! Zoltan Kodaly, the mid-twentieth century Hungarian composer, laid the groundwork with his passionate philosophy of music in the Schools.  Together with Bela Bartok, Kodaly pioneered the concept of music instruction for all children, even… Continue Reading

Surviving Back to School

by Evan Jones, Bandland LLC For us, the busy season begins in mid-July and has really ramped up as I am writing this article.  If you are correctly working the educational market, you will hopefully be busy well into the next calendar year. For many school music retailers, August and September are basically controlled chaos. … Continue Reading

The Retail Price Maintenance Act – A European Peculiarity

by Petra Woodfull-Harris The Retail Price Maintenance Act is a law that on the one hand obliges publishers to determine and publish retail prices for all books and sheet music, and that on the other hand obliges retailers to sell these publications at the published prices only. In several countries in Europe the state restricts… Continue Reading

Best Ideas for Christmas

From Bookmark Music, Music Innovations, Alfred Music Co., & Pender’s Music Company Bookmark Music, Marcia Stearn, Owner Bookmark Music is located in a small town. Pacific Grove, California bills itself as “America’s Last Hometown”. Located on the Monterey Peninsula, it competes with Monterey and Carmel for business. So, community / neighborhood events abound thanks to… Continue Reading