Donald Satz wrote:
>So many times I have tried to impress on the store managers that my
>once yearly spending of many thousands of dollars per year is now down
>to about two-hundred bucks per annum. I always get the same answer -
>"Those decisions are made at higher levels, but I will pass on your
>concerns". As far as I can tell, everyone for Borders is taking a pass
>on my concerns.
>It all seems to be a catch-22 situation. Stores aren't pleased with
>classical sales, so they downgrade the inventory. That leads to customers
>going elsewhere which leads to more reductions in sales which leads to
>more customers finding other sources. At this rate, the only thing left
>will be "The Browns", whoever they might be.
I am reminded of the backwards logic that invites symphony attendees
to let the orchestra know what pieces they would like to hear performed.
The real question is, what pieces would get the classical music lover
who does attend to buy a ticket.
Borders and just about every other vendor have the Wal Mart, or grocery
store mentality. If it isn't off the shelf in a week, you shouldn't
I cannot help but wonder if there is not room for a "classical store."
However, I would guess it would need to charge a premium price for
product. On the other hand...a 24 bit 96,000 samples per second CD would
take a fair amount of time to download considering the bandwidth available
to most of us these days.
From my perspective, it is another case of the bean counters counting
the wrong beans.
While I don't know if this is still true, years ago if you were a
multi outlet chain, you could get a break on the wholesale price. It
was a system that favored the large outlets and strangled the mom and
pop shops. I used to manage a locally owned classical record store and
it made it impossible for us to compete with the local discount chains.
We offered a wide range of selections and, I would like to think, informed
customer assistance. We relied on our regulars. I am know that sort
of thinking is not encouraged by most chains.
We maintained a list of our regulars, knew what interested them and
acquired product we thought would they would like. To do that one had
to know classical music.
The lack of appreciation for classical music, from my perspective, has
a snowball effect. If you have marketing people who know marketing but
don't know their product or their audience, you aren't likely to address
your potential audience.
I am reminded of some years ago when I interviewed for a job with the
Dallas Symphony. They wanted a head of marketing and education. (Amazing
to think that one person would have both responsibilities) They hired
someone who had done marketing for a shopping center...and knew nothing
about classical music. At least their artistic administrator is very
well informed about classical music...and a good friend.
I have been reading the book, "America on Record" by Andre Millard. It
is interesting how, even in the early days of the phonograph, classical
music was marketed for its "snob appeal," instead of its own value. I
believe, from a marketing standpoint, classical music has been suffering
Writing this I just came up with an idea for an assignment for my Freshman
Seminar...an essay on "Why don't you and/or most people listen to and/or
like classical music?" It will be due next Friday.