Hmmm…Guitar Center always has seemed sort of like the Staples of music.
Beyond the plight of Fender (and no doubt many other musical-instrument manufacturers) is that the grow-fast-or-die ethos of modern business. As the population (and the economy, even in these times) grows, the ranks of professional musicians are shrinking. One recent Hollywood-congratulates-itself awards show had fewer than a dozen musicians playing from a balcony, half of them using synthesizers. Compare that with the typical pit orchestra of 30 or more players typical in the past. Likewise, Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman in their “treehouse studio are producing movie and TV scores that once required a soundstage full of members of the “Wrecking Crew”. Whether the stuff cobbled together by punters using software in their bedrooms is better or worse than “old-school” is debatable, but it’s likely fewer people as a percentage of the population will be making a living playing guitars, drums, saxophones, pipe organs or zithers. The net result might still be a more or less constant market for instruments, but not as a “consumer” industry. This is going to be sad news indeed for “vulture capitalists” looking for “pump-and-dump” candidates.
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