Economic reality: fewer drum stores


Gold Member
I have been reading more and more comments about drummers who have no "real" music stores near them, particularly any with a decent percussion line. I fear that this situation will get worse, and here are my predictions and thoughts for the future:

Complaint 1- " Music stores, and even some drum stores no longer have many quality products on hand for the serious drummer to test before buying."

Reason: This is getting truer by the day, and the reasons are purely economical. Here's why: Music stores are businesses. since the recession, bans have made it much harder for lending to local businesses. It is harder nor for businesses to get cash to order in stocks of instruments. since individual spending wold wide is down, it is much harder for a sore owner to pull the trigger an order in top of the line instruments, just to have them sit in a store in hopes that someone will walk in and buy them, someday. Stores need turn around to stay alive.

Complaint 2: Variety and stock is way down.

Reason: There are more products than ever before, which means more items to stock. The best many owners can do is track what moves fastest, and only order those items. This is not a help for those who will by several heads to experiment (or sticks, etc.) Even is and owner orders in a good variety of drum sets, there is often not enough floor space to set them all up for you ad I to play. Floor space is money, and expensive at that. For that reason, you might see "stacks" of drums to look at, but no way to play them. Some have a shelving system where they have sets set up, but you cannot play them. If your local store is in a rural area, most drummers are younger with less cash to spend, so they will stock only low end items that may move.

Complaint 3: Local drum stores are high priced.

Reason: This is true of not only music stores, but all smaller business. It is not a matter of greed, but purely financial. Local taxes, utilities, wages, all contribute to how much an owner has to make to pay employees and make a reasonable profit to stay in business. Local sotres have to compete with online warehouse sellers like Amazon, Musicians Friend, Steve Weiss, and a host of others; many of whom offer free shipping! Then there is EBay. . .

My predictions:

There will be fewer and fewer drum stores around in the physical sense. Those who stay in business will have to rely more and more on internet sales, and be willing to ship long distances. If they are able to order in good supplies of drums, cymbals, etc., they will find that more and more will drive longer distances to them in order to use them as "sample shops."

If stores do not make the sale then, many buyers will sample instruments to see what they like, then go home to order online at the cheapest price. To offset this, store owners will have to constantly be ordering smaller orders from suppliers, and rely more on a blend of drop shipping and selling out of local stock. Larger stores will have to be willing to sell on a national or global level for volumes sake, which brings me to the nest point. . .

Drum forums and Youtube will naturally become part of the drum store front. You can already see this happening. Many will flock to forums to get the best advice they can before purchasing, because they cannot get out to play an instrument, there is no local store, or there is no stock locally. This puts all those on forums in the position of being "salesmen" for the industry! IF you do not know what you are talking about on a forum, them say nothing, lest we mislead someone in a purchase!

You Tube will become even more of an entity to contend with, because if I cannot get out to hear a drum, this is my only alternative. More drum sores will have to put demos online. Since each one is a "salesman", if you want to sell a product, clip production will have to be improving so that the item sounds as good as it can to persuade buyers. This will have to become a part of a national or global strategy. Sales volume will become everything.

These are just my thoughts, and only time will tell as to accuracy. Best wishes for a good New Year!


Platinum Member
Everything you say is true. However, the idea of sample shops seems a bit unethical to me. I try really hard to never do that. Peace and goodwill.


Gold Member
I did not mean to imply any ethical overtones. Business is business, and buyers are buyers. I am not a cynical person, just realistic. I believe that retailers are basically ethical, but they are bound by their own chain of circumstances and local business climate.

The reality is, if I want to hear some sets before I spend a lot of cash, I can either do a lot of watching on You Tube, take a friends advice, or go to a dealer where I can play it for myself. If I go to a dealer and play a drum and decide what I want, I will look at price. If I decide that the price is too high, I will check the internet for a better deal. I will weight the price considerations, having already made up my mind on what I want.

As a retailer, I had better be ready to haggle while the customer is before me, or I will probably not see him again. Throw in a free pair of sticks, snare head, cow bell, or something to enhance the sale, but you better get me then! I would not think anything less of the retailer, as he can only do the best that he can. He has already done me at least one favor by having something for me to play! That is worth something.

The best thing a store owner can do to get my business, if he can not beat my price point, is offer extended warranty, a service agreement, or something to keep me coming back. How bout a 30 day or 90 day check up if I am local enough for it? Time for all to be creative!


Junior Member
You are 100% correct. This is the way it is now with the internet. Nothing can be done about it. I have mixxed feelings about it. Always wanting to support the mom and pop but get very frustrated when I see the markup. One cymbal you can buy online at $80 is sold in a store for $120. Not my problem that they have bills to pay. It sucks that overtime there won't be any place to sample the item. Maybe these store will need to change their business model to stay alive. Maybe hold a ton of stock not for resale but sampling only and customers pay a fee per hour to try out anything and everything. Stores can affilate themselves with the large online chains. Customer comes in, pays a fee, gets a code for a discount online store and the retail store gets a small cut. Not sure if that would ever work but again the business models need to change as this is not 1985.

Look at the record industry. Everyone thought it would die. But they changed their model to allow apple to sell single songs at $1 and in my opinon helped to save that industry. That industry has gotten so bad with record sales, artists need to become actors to pay their bills. 30 years ago you would never have seen some of these ugly ass dudes on tv. The labels were scared they would frighten their audience. Example. Steven Tyler, just scary. Any baby in his arms is an instant crying machine from fear it's being held by a monster.