Music fans--and especially our dedicated Epiphone fans--should keep an eye out for the new report in the April issue of Music Trades,
the music industry’s oldest and most well-respected publication that has been tracking instrument sales since 1890. Despite the dire forecasts that have been repeated and exaggerated in various publications and on social media, the retail value of new music products went up 4% in 2017 to a healthy $7.4 billion around the world—a figure not seen in music retail seen since before the recession of 2007.
This figure does not even include the wildly popular ukulele which is selling in the US at a rate of 110,000 units per month. For another point of view on the popularity of the guitar, check out the Apple app store ranking. Last year, an app from Ultimate Guitar on how to learn and play guitar was the second most popular paid app out of the 2.2 million apps it currently offers.
Sales of fretted instruments continue to lead all other music products despite the initial slowdown in early 2017 due mostly to confusion on how to respond to the hastily drafted Rosewood regulations implemented by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The regulations--which were enacted to prevent overuse of Rosewood in overseas furniture manufacturing—resulted in shipping and transportation delays for nearly all fretted instruments worldwide with even some confiscations of used and vintage instruments. Today, fretted instrument makers—including Epiphone—have heartily rebounded with guitar shipments (by unit) increasing 7% across the industry with an 8.8% rise in retail value.
The good news also extended to electric guitars. While many music websites have echoed the rumor that modern music had abandoned the electric guitar, the sales figures tell the true tale. During 2017, electric guitar shipments rose with a 9.1% increase in retail value with an especially impressive 4th
quarter (leading up to the brief dip in sales due to the CITES confusion).
“Talk of the death of the guitar is strictly misinformation,” commented Music Trades
editor, Paul Majeski, “not based on fact at all.” Epiphone fans should also take note that the steady growth in acoustic and electric guitars sales in the $200-$1,250 range means that the House of Stathopoulo—as usual!—continues to address the trend we help start: giving professionals, aficionados, and beginners professional quality at a great price.
The report also amplifies what we see behind-the-scenes at Epiphone—a steady and sometimes overwhelming demand for new instruments for use on tour, in film and television projects, for student music programs like Little Kids Rock, and especially from retailers. New Epiphone Limited Edition instruments by Tommy Thayer of KISS, Joe Bonamassa, James Bay, and Matt Heafy of Trivium, have met with both fan and critical acclaim Epiphone also recently opened an online store for special sale items and over the weekend, a small run of Ltd. Ed. Phant-o-matic Wilshire electric guitars designed by Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance sold out within hours. This summer, you can see Epiphone in action on tour with Bleachers, Jack White, Paul McCartney, Peter Frampton, Judas Priest, Radiohead, Paul Simon, Jason Aldean, and many more. At Epiphone, we also know what's in store for our fans coming this summer, fall, and even for the holidays--products that our retailers are already clamoring for. Trust us: guitars are here to stay.