Online music stores "My Rant!"

Bored drummer

New member
I talked with my local drum store this weekend and he's closing up shop due to the fact that buying online has become so easy and put him out of business. He could beat any quote from these online giants. I absolutely hate this dealing with these blood suckers. Not one of them will give you an out the door price without your full name, mailing address, C.C # and even then they can only ball park the price. Most of these online company have the same owner but use different store names so comparing prices with their so-called competitors is a joke. Its the same owner/company............ How is this not illegal? this is "price fixing"
This is total B.S and i'm calling out 3 of the worst online companies sweetwater, guitar center, musician's friend. They have taken over ebay, reverb, amzon with pure greed. There are no more fair deals online!
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Sweetwater is a privately owned corporation, owned by founder Chuck Surack. GC and MF merged in 1999. Bain Capitol bought out GC and thus it's subsidiaries in 2007.

So no, they aren't the same company.

Businesses must adhere to MAP. This is why the prices are all the same across the board. It the law. They can sell at whatever price they want, just not advertise. It's not illegal or price fixing.

Internet is king and people are lazy. Who wants to go to the store when the store can come to you?

Companies are in business to make money, not make you happy.
 

Bored drummer

New member
Sweetwater is a privately owned corporation, owned by founder Chuck Surack. GC and MF merged in 1999. Bain Capitol bought out GC and thus it's subsidiaries in 2007.

So no, they aren't the same company.

Businesses must adhere to MAP. This is why the prices are all the same across the board. It the law. They can sell at whatever price they want, just not advertise. It's not illegal or price fixing.

Internet is king and people are lazy. Who wants to go to the store when the store can come to you?

Companies are in business to make money, not make you happy.
Your reply sounds like your a blood sucking sale reps for one of these companies
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Your reply sounds like your a blood sucking sale reps for one of these companies
Don’t be too angry. He’s just stating it like it is. It sucks, this online industry. I try to continue to deal with Pro Drum in Hollywood when I can, but I agree humans are lazy and will jump online first. I think many of us have grown so accustomed to internet dealings it’s just how it is nowadays.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I miss the good old days. Back in the 70's the place to go for instruments was Manny's Music on 48th Street in Manhattan. I bought (well, my parents did) my first (and still only) kit there as well as all of my cymbals. I remember how sad I was to hear that Sam Ash was buying the place. At least they kept the name on it for a number of years before folding it entirely into the bigger brand. But such is the way with retail. It's constantly changing, consolidating. Consolidation creates openings for new players and the cycle begins all over again. The electronics business is the same. Sad but a true fact of life.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
In my area, the good ole days were represented by a store called Hanich Music, and this was from the days of "no returns", and somethings there were definitely shady when I heard stories from former employees about people coming back with guns to demand their money back from being sold things that didn't work, or totally wrong for their needs and it was pushed on customers. They were there as a mom and pop store in the beginning, but then it blossomed into some kind of white elephant complex, and as the stories mounted up, which may have been true, I noticed that they weren't getting new products in to stay cutting edge and went out of business very soon after that. So something there went wrong for them.

That's why I'm so impressed with the Pro Drum Shop in Hollywood - they opened in 1959, and always gave refunds - story has it the owner of Pro Drum worked for another shop before 1959 and they wouldn't give a refund to someone who really needed it, so he left to start his own shop and subsequently buried that other place!
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Your reply sounds like your a blood sucking sale reps for one of these companies
Nope. Never been a salesman, never want to. Nothing wrong with it, it's just not for me.

All of this is public record. Anyone can find it. You called it out, I gave you the answer.

We used to have two small but excellent independent stores here. Then we got a GC. Those two stores are gone. So now it's GC or pawn shops. A few pawn shops have actually started to grow their music selection because of this, and a few are actually distributors now.
 
I've been wondering lately where the line is (recognizing it's different for everyone). I recently bought a Gibraltar tom holder at my local store. It cost $33, if I recall correctly. I could have bought it online but didn't feel like waiting the two days, and I like supporting my local store. Checking the price online later, I saw it was going for $24-$25 at the most obvious places, and a reputable Reverb seller had a used one in Like New condition for $20. I like supporting my local stores, in general, and this shop in particular is really good. And it was less than ten dollars. But...on the other hand, that also means it was about 30% more expensive locally. Which, when it's eight or nine bucks, isn't a huge deal, I suppose. But for higher ticket items...I'm not sure where I draw the line.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
It's partially the manufacturers' and distributers' fault, for giving such high discounts for bulk purchases to those large companies that the small shops can't manage.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
I’m always happy when a retail store front closes. I prefer trees. My dream is all retail is done from warehouses below ground and our country look like it did in 1700.
Quite a dream I know, but wouldn’t it be beautiful?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I've been wondering lately where the line is (recognizing it's different for everyone). I recently bought a Gibraltar tom holder at my local store. It cost $33, if I recall correctly. I could have bought it online but didn't feel like waiting the two days, and I like supporting my local store. Checking the price online later, I saw it was going for $24-$25 at the most obvious places, and a reputable Reverb seller had a used one in Like New condition for $20. I like supporting my local stores, in general, and this shop in particular is really good. And it was less than ten dollars. But...on the other hand, that also means it was about 30% more expensive locally. Which, when it's eight or nine bucks, isn't a huge deal, I suppose. But for higher ticket items...I'm not sure where I draw the line.
I used to think online deals like that were a good thing, but alot of "small items" no longer ship for free. And the new laws in place are charging you your state sales tax now too (before alot of places weren't charging sales tax). So $25 for an item isn't a deal if some places charge you a minimum of $12.95 for shipping (I know places like DrumFactoryDirect.com charge shipping that really changes your budget). I'm beginning to try to find things locally rather than online. And I'm selling stuff alot less now since shipping has gotten horrendous.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
The biggest hassle for me nowadays in a local music store is selection. If I go in wanting to buy a full set of tom heads, it's annoying when they don't have the 16" in stock or something.

A big problem is that much of the money they make comes from selling starter sets to kids. Then they sell them lessons and so on...Your average, non drummer parent is just going to go for price and convenience. The kid can get "lessons" from Youtube and the business owner is left in the cold.
 

mrjones

Member
Our GC is on the very wealthy side of town they have kits from beginner all the way up to 5900.00 .the percussion side alone is probably the same size as my house .it's easier for me to go in and pay cash and hide it from the wife
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
All of this has to do what I call my 3M's of retail. Not the 3M company, but Music , Marine, and Medical. They are either necessity, or luxury. Prices for all three are crazy. I remember seeing a cast aluminum chum grinder for the back of the boat which cost $112.00. That same grinder your mom uses to make ham salad is $29.00. If you want to see a conglomerate, look at shop tools. All of the brand name tools are owned by a conglomerate that makes Bain look like a community service. Shop used, shop around. Look at every available outlet for you gear needs. If you see doubles of drum heads in stock, buy what you can afford. Then you will have spares ready to go. Buy drum heads from Amazon in sets, 12, 13, 16, snare. or 10, 12, 14, snare and save a few bucks. I'm on social security, sorry to use that old excuse, but I spend a lot of time looking and comparing. Patience is your friend.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
The major downside for me with the idea of shopping for musical gear online is you have better know exactly what you need. There is little to no knowledgeable customer service with those major chain stores mentioned. At the traditional local shop run by a drummer where they offered lessons by a working drummer, other guys would come in and questions would be asked and ideas could be bounced off each other.

That being said; The money saved by buying online may not be realized if the item doesn't satisfy and you have to take the time to return or resell it. The process can be a bit "penny-wise but pound foolish" approach to shopping. Bread and butter items like sticks and heads probably are a different matter.

Cymbals?? Well... MyCymbal.com has taken a novel approach, though those prices are firm due to the effort & expense of the video produced.

The OP simply needs to understand the realities of how this fairly new economy works.
Our state started charging tax for internet purchases a few years ago and it's required by law to be documented on an individual's tax filing.
Welcome to the 21st century ya'll, I wish we could sign a petition or something to go back in time.
 
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GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Yep for scientific research they do the same. Bio-Rad sells these pads for gel electrophoresis immunoblotting that are just Scotch-brite pads that they mark up tremendously. I'd go to Kroger across the street and buy the cheaper Scotch-brite pads. But it's the same for common reagents they mark up if you buy a kit. Lot's less frugality now than old days where instead of buying already manufactured expensive apparatus we made them from scratch. Instead of making radioactive labeled phosphorus ATP you can buy it. Lots of hold overs, INITIALLY, refused the trend but time and effort (and all the fancy bells and whistles) it is easier to buy the already manufactured apparatus or reagents-then you need to buy their maintenance or service contract. Sort of took the fun and adventure out of it for me because now it's just being a technician instead of all the hands on creating assays and apparatuses. It isn't just music stores that are closing because of online competition because it's hard for local to compete with global.
 
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MntnMan62

Junior Member
The biggest hassle for me nowadays in a local music store is selection. If I go in wanting to buy a full set of tom heads, it's annoying when they don't have the 16" in stock or something.

A big problem is that much of the money they make comes from selling starter sets to kids. Then they sell them lessons and so on...Your average, non drummer parent is just going to go for price and convenience. The kid can get "lessons" from Youtube and the business owner is left in the cold.

I agree with this. And when that happens, the next time you buy stuff you find someone online who has everything you need and the retail store loses business.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I am an admitted Luddite, and have never ordered a musical part or product online. I always get my drum stuff from Columbus Pro Perc here in town and my bass stuff one of the mom and pop stores. I don't have an Amazon account...I only "window shop" on line, usually just looking for specs and technical info
 

EricT43

Senior Member
The problem of limited selection is what makes me buy a lot of stuff online. There is one GC in my city, and the drum section always looks like a tornado just went through it. It's a complete mess. They used to have a few actual drummers working back there, but now if you want help in the drum department, you have to go find someone up front, and explain to them what a drum head is. GC killed the local music stores because of their selection and prices, and when they first started, it was a welcome change, to be honest. I felt like a kid in a candy store those first few years. But since then they've really become the Walmart of music and I hate shopping there.

In the next town, there is an independent music store that I love working with. It's a small shop, and selection is limited, but I've built a relationship with the owner and he'll help me get what I want. Once I went in for a new ride cymbal and he didn't have what I was looking for. He asked me which ones I wanted to try, and he ordered them all just so I could compare them. I picked one and changed my mind a week later, and he let me exchange. I bought my last two drum kits from him and got better deals than I could find online. So, it's great working with that shop, and I'll continue to go there for big-ticket items, but it's slow. If I know exactly what I want, and I want to get it within the next couple of days, I order online.

Speaking of Sweetwater, I have nothing but good things to say about them. Again, it's about relationships. I've been in contact with the same sales engineer there for the last 6 or 7 years and have gotten great service. I can email him with what I need, he'll quote me a price, and I can just tell him "go ahead" and he'll put in the order for me.
 
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