So just because there are plenty of guys out there who know who Buckethead is and who define street cred as the ability to master sweep arpeggios, is that enough to keep a business like Guitar Center strumming along in cash?
No. But that shouldn’t stop them.
For musicians, a brick and mortar music store is a veritable candy shop. The colors, cuts, amps, hollow bodies, MIDIs and snare drums… it’s all an overwhelming onslaught of “I want that.” But today, music is digital. It’s as much about turntables as it is Stratocasters. Daft Punk cleaned up at the last Grammys and those guys don’t put their fingers on much Brazilian rosewood fretboards or Marshall amplifiers. And yes, you can buy the first production electric guitar, the Les Paul, on Amazon. Easy-peasy.
But Guitar Center has a secret weapon that a million and one Amazons will never have. Something beyond materials and commodities. Something beyond even an upgraded omni-channel shopping experience. What Guitar Center can do, and in many ways ONLY Guitar Center can do, is market the potential of making music, whether through analog or digital means, in the same way that Apple seized control of the pure joy of listening to music.
From sports to the arts, from psychologists to sociologists, there remains a universal understanding that doing is better than watching. That participating is more gratifying than cheering from the sidelines. That a beat you lay down yourself can affect the masses. And that an iPod is but a toy compared to the bounty found at a Guitar Center.
Ultimately, the world is drawn to authentic brands. Brands that leverage a sense of originality, purity, tradition or genuineness. And Guitar Center has those in spades.
Whether through mobile, online or at their more than 250 locations, consumers need Guitar Center in their lives, perhaps a bit more than they know today. But as more people make music, and more shareholders see their ROI, everyone will be singing a happy tune.