Top navigation

Pop music is king right now and MI retailers need to exploit that

Laura  Barnes
Pop music is king right now and MI retailers need to exploit that

MI Pro editor Laura Barnes looks at what genres are the most popular right now and how current MI marketing may not be representing today’s young musicians…

The world of music is constantly evolving; it follows the latest trends, fashion and crazes. While some genres die out quicker than you can say Cha Cha Slide, rock and pop engage in the age-old battle for domination.

Rock music has gone through its own evolution and reinventions over the past 70-odd years and its family tree will never stop growing. But one thing seems to have remained a staple in recent years, and that's the look of musical instrument marketing.

Former MI Pro editor Daniel Gumble highlighted this issue perfectly in December 2015, where he spoke about guitar marketing being stuck in the dark ages.
Article continues below


“Generally speaking, it appears many believe their entire customer base to exist within two oppressively narrow parameters. You’ve got your Woodstock types and your Spinal Tap types. Apparently, this is what passes for current in the eyes of so many guitar marketeers,” wrote Gumble.

Almost a year on, and it seems it’s not just appealing to different types of rock sub-genres that’s needed, it’s looking at how relevant ‘rock’ really is to young musicians these days.

Now, I’m not saying ‘rock is dead’, far from it. There are more guitar bands out there than you could shake a stick at, but there’s also a host of other genres out there, and the musician’s making those tunes need instruments too.

According to Statista, pop music was the most commonly purchased genre in the UK in 2015, accounting for nearly 36% of singles sold in the UK. Rock music represented 23% – not that far behind pop, but closely followed by dance music.

If you look at 2014, BPI reported that pop has 34.5% of the marking, saying the last time pop enjoyed such a success was in 1999.

In 2014, dance music also made a huge comeback, claiming its biggest share in the singles market since 2006.

While we don’t have figures for 2016 yet, if you look at Spotify's top 40 UK chart, all you'll see is pop, dance and offshoots of those genres.

Feeding into the dance revival, at the beginning of 2016, turntables made a surprise comeback, with John Lewis reporting a 240% increase in turntable sales in 2015 and Amazon stating turntables were its top selling audio product at Christmas.

Even more recently we’ve seen new genres like Grime explode. In fact, Spotify’s new senior editor of programming dubbed Grime “the most potent genre since Britpop”.

The people making this music typically won’t be buying a James Hetfield signature series ESP, but they’re still likely to need to visit a music shop to try out and get advice about drum machines, microphones, music software, etc.

Last month, we reported on Future Market Insights’ forecast for the musical instrument market over the next ten years. It believes that keyboards and, oddly, reality shows, are going to help the global market rapidly grow in that time.

The firm said that the increasing number of music reality shows will pose a positive impact on the increase in demand for modern, high-tech instruments.

While there will always be young musicians looking to buy their first Flying V, this suggests that what appeals to a huge percentage of MI retailers’ potential customers is modern tech for creating pop music.

I'm not suggesting that retailers disregard rock, but there's no harm in appealing to everyone who makes music. There are already a number of retailers embracing this, but more stores and manufacturers need to realise the potential in the rest of the market.

As Future Market Insights puts it: “The demand for specific musical instruments is driven by the choice of a majority of population in specific regions.”

So, if pop music is king right now in the UK, musical instrument retailers would be wise to exploit that as much as possible.

Tags: Retail , marketing , mi industry , mi retail , rock , pop , Opinion , MI marketing , musical instrument marketing

Follow us on