Drum DVD Domination (Music Inc Article)


Print music giant Alfred Music Publishing deals in everything from piano methods to portable recorders. And yet Daniel Frohnen singled out drum DVDs as one of the com- pany’s best-performing product categories.

“We continue to see growth in this area year after year,” said Frohnen, the company’s director of marketing, trade and digital.

Rob Wallis, who has produced more than 400 drum videos and DVDs, agreed, adding that drum instruction translates well to the video format, as drums are visual instruments. “Drum DVDs seem to be the largest-selling instrument group and have been for a long time,” said Wallis, co- president of Hudson Music. “I think because drums are so visual, you can learn a lot by watching.”

Most retailers have gotten the memo. At the recent Summer NAMM, for instance, drum DVDs got a “Best in Show” nod. And while a DVD can’t replace private or group lessons with a live instructor, drum videos prove to be a good alternative. Unlike other instruments, drum surfaces are large and easy to view on a screen.

“Drums are a physical instrument that incorporate every part of the body,” said David Jahnke, Hal Leonard’s vice president of national sales. “There are some topics, styles and grooves that are dif- ficult to transcribe and explain in a book. It’s easier to learn by watching a DVD. That gives you a strong base for a market category when you consider that for still only $20–$40 you can learn from performers like Steve Smith, Chad Smith, Neil Peart, JoJo Mayer, Jason Bittner and Tommy Igoe.”


Because of instructional drum DVDs’ relevance, they’re an ideal add-on — and add-on generator — for music retailers.

“We’ve sold some accessories that these guys use in their videos,” said Derek Sharp, owner of Supersonic Music and TreeHouse Drums in Topeka, Kan. “From time to time, we offer a discount off the video if Drum DVDs have taken over the instructional DVD market, offering a visual learning tool you buy the accessory, brand of cymbal or kind of brush that the artist uses in the video.”

Sharp also requires his staff to watch all of his DVDs, so they can speak knowledgeably about each title. His store often displays the product next to the checkout counter. “We have all watched them, so we can talk about that ran- dom five-minute segment in some three-hour video that shows something a customer wants to know more about,” Sharp said. Stephen Rupp, co-owner of Columbus Pro Percussion, a drum specialty shop in Columbus, Ohio, has also noticed a rise in DVD sales and looks to them to increase revenue.

“We do well in DVD sales,” Rupp said. “They can help generate some excitement in our customers that may turn into larger sales.”
The instructional drum DVD customer can be nearly any drummer at any level, adding to the growth of the category. Beginning and advanced players alike can benefit from the DVDs.
“Customers can be professional players who want to work on a particular style of drumming [or can be] the semi-pro; weekend warrior player; hobbyist; or any musician, writer or arranger who needs to understand how to communicate their ideas to drummers,” Frohnen said.

As far as sure-fire add-ons go, Lorene Faulconer of Explorers Percussion in Kansas City, Mo., singled out Jojo Mayer DVDs and Tommy Igoe’s Getting Started On Drums as steady sellers. “Jojo Mayer consistently sells well,” Faulconer said. “Steve Smith, Neil Peart and Tommy Igoe’s DVDs also always do well.”

Reprinted with Permission from MUSIC INC. SEPTEMBER 2010

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