According to Fender CEO Andy Mooney, 90% of new guitar players will give up playing the instrument within a year. As reported by Guitar World, sales have been on the rise in the electric guitar industry over the past several years, with 45% of guitars sold going to new players annually.
“As an industry, we don’t have a problem attracting new entrants,” Mooney told MusicRadar. “We have a member retention issue.”
Mooney made the observation in a recent interview that focused on the newly offered subscription-based educational services, Fender Play and Fender Songs. These services are designed to guide how players begin learning on the instrument and also to help them become more engaged with the instrument, promoting customer retention.
From a business standpoint, Fender Play and Fender Songs not only provide clear benefits to players but will also benefit the industry as a whole if those players become lifelong guitarists. As Mooney noted,
We felt if we could reduce the abandonment rate by just 10 percent we could double the size of the industry. We did the math. The 10 percent of the salmon that make it through the dam have a lifetime value of $10,000 [each]. They buy five to seven guitars, they buy multiple amps, they drive the hardware side of the business.
As for those who decide to learn the guitar, Fender’s research also discovered that they’re not all looking to be professional musicians.“[We] found 72 percent of people will pick up the instrument for no other reason other than to learn a new life skill,” Mooney said. He continued,
So, not everybody wants to be standing with one foot on the monitor with the wind blowing through their hair. Most people would want to play quietly and solo in their own home, singing along with their favorite songs. And I think we have to embrace them alongside the really gifted virtuoso players that still exist out there.
The CEO also discussed Fender’s increased interest in inclusivity and the fact that the company is set to introduce more signature guitars for female artists next year than in its entire 70-year history.
For more of Mooney’s thoughts on the future of the guitar industry and Fender’s role in it, head over to MusicRadar.
[H/T Guitar World]