What’s New In Print Music

by Pete GamberPeteGamber - Head Shot

What’s new in Print Music? You know! It’s those new titles, new song books, and new method books; all the stuff that comes out every month.

I’ll bet as a music store or print manager you know about the new issues, but what about the teachers in your music store? Do they know?  Probably not!

So, here’s where I’m coming from.

For 35 years I ran retail music stores with vibrant music lesson programs. I discovered that print music and lessons needed to be partners in my stores. So, we developed systems to increase our print music sales via our music lessons. This concept made our print sales healthy and our music lessons exciting!

My wife Genett and I now teach 150 private students a week as independent music teachers and we are always selling print music to our students. Nobody at the store knows what new print music is available. When I say nobody, I mean staff and teachers! All anyone knows is what random new print music that wanders in via the “Print Music Fairy”.

To make it worse, most of the new print product that comes in isn’t what the teachers are looking for to use in their lessons. So, guess what? Teachers have given up on the store for print music supplies. Sadly, I believe this situation exists at many retail music stores in our industry!

My wife and I , because of our previous retail experience and RPMDA contacts, are still in the loop, so we know what’s new. Because of this our students have new music books and the store reaps sales.

I found a great book for my students at NAMM that had a collection of songs that would really excite them. In order to stock it at our store, I had to dig up all the information. I had to convince them that this book really exists (it’s printed by a major publisher) and that I really, really, really will use it in my lessons. This was way more work than any of your private music teachers will do to obtain a book.

Here’s the typical scenario:

Your store gets print music new issue information from publishers. You either receive new items via a new issue program and/or purchase print you think will sell.

It’s impossible (physically or financially) for most retailers to stock every new item printed. Your teachers only know what new print products they see in your store. The flip side is that most retailers assume teachers know what they can order for their music lesson students. Teachers don’t know!

You get monthly updates from the publishers in the form of newsletters, email blasts and new issue subscriptions. Who at your store gets them? Who reads them and makes purchase decisions from these?

Even more to the point, do you get any input from your music lesson teachers on what new print they would like to use in their lessons?

Here’s a solution:

Get your teachers input on what’s new!

Most of you get notifications of new print product in a digital format. Email these to your music lesson teachers for feedback.

In other words, keep them in the “What’s New Loop”! Let them know you’ll stock new print materials their interested in!  Ask them to email you what they think they can use or talk to them when they’re in to teach. Make them part of your print music decision team.

You will be amazed that your guitar teachers don’t know that there is now a book 2 of the method they use; your drum teachers don’t know that there is a play-a-long for an iconic drummer they could use, and so on!

You will even hear – “I didn’t know we could get that stuff”

Show the new print you got in for one teacher to other teachers at your store and tell them, “Joey had us order this in – do you want to take a look at it?” Would you like to try some with your students?”

The result:

You will get way more print sales by adopting this approach.

New music in your music lessons will create excited students, which creates lesson retention, which once again creates more print music sales!

Your teachers become revived and excited because they are teaching “something new”. They will look forward to seeing what’s new and implementing this print music into their music lessons.

They also will tell other teachers they hang with about this, resulting in even more print sales!

If you have any questions email me at: petegambermusic@gmail.com

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