Print Music’s Top-Sellers for 2012
MMR touched base with some key players in the realm of print music publishing to ask them what their best selling titles were for the past year, as well as to get their comments on the state – and future – of the market…
2012 was educational. Literally. The education side of our business did extremely well, thanks in part to our new Guitar Tab Method, Faber Piano Adventures, Essential Elements and all things Ukulele. This is very encouraging because our products are the roadmaps that can help the “wannabe’s” become music makers. We have also seen a positive trend with music stores enforcing copyright law by requiring their teachers to use method books and supplements in their lesson programs. This benefits the student, teacher, and music store.
Multi-platform products are the biggest trend we are focusing on. This means adding components like CDs, DVDs, USB drives, and software along with the standard printed material. We are also working on enhanced content for the consumer to access from the Internet. The Internet gives us the ability to offer things like bonus audio tracks, video instruction, and even mobile digital editions free of charge for the customers who purchase the physical book. This allows us to keep the retailers at the center of the transaction while we move forward with evolving digital initiatives.
Music is still a very important part of the world’s culture. Television shows like The Voice, American Idol, X Factor, America’s Got Talent… continue to promote music like never before. Most of these shows focus on vocal talent instead of instrumental, which helps explain our increased sales of vocal methods and repertoire. This trend tells us music stores are also reaching out to this growing market and adapting their lesson programs to teach more voice students. As long as people continue to want to learn how to make music, the future is bright for our industry.
1. Hal Leonard Guitar Tab Method
2. Vocal Warm-Ups, Pro Vocal Series
3. Jake Shimabukuro – Peace Love Ukulele
4. The Ukulele Play-Along series
5. Charlie Parker Omnibook Play-Along
6. How to Play from a Real Book
7. Journey Through the Classics series in the Hal Leonard Student Piano Library
8. Guitar Chord Songbook White Pages
9. The Easy Guitar Play-Along Series
10. Hal Leonard School for Snare Drum
Sher Music Co.
Not long ago I had a vision of sorts, involving the Biblical story of God telling Lot that he would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot asked God to cool himself because there were some good people there. God said that if he could show him 10 good people, he would refrain from the destruction. Lot did, and saved the cities (for a while). Similarly, it occurred to me recently that as long as there are 10 good tunes being played on the planet at any given time, the whole show wouldn’t just implode. It is our job, as musicians and as facilitators of musicians, to keep good music happening, for the sake of all humanity, I believe. So regardless of our challenges, let’s all persevere and have some fun while we’re at it! Peace.
1. The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine
2. The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine
3. The New Real Book, Vol. 1
4. The Real Easy Book, Vol. 1
5. Three Note Voicings and Beyond by Randy Vincent
6. The Latin Real Easy Book
7. Line Games by Randy Vincent
8. The Real ‘Cool’ Book – Octet Transcriptions of West Coast Cool Jazz Classics
9. Method for Chromatic Harmonica by Max De Aloe
10. Afro-Peruvian Percussion Ensemble by Hector Morales
2012 is still a good year for LudwigMasters. Early in the year we signed Lynne Latham on to our team as String editor. She is currently writing all new pieces for LudwigMasters, as well as doing some new arrangements for us. We are really excited to see her expertise on educational string music reflect in some of the new pieces she is working on.
We are also very pleased to see that our new music for band, string orchestra, and full orchestra was very well received by music teachers all over. When we [selected] the new music for 2012, we were very picky so as to make sure that the music had good educational value and was fun to play for young musicians. We went through hundreds of works and really picked the very best. This selection process works very well for us and helps to drive our sales.
We have also made new strides to reach out into other markets. LudwigMasters did a complete flyer with score pages and accompanying CD for the Canadian market. We worked with someone very close and knowledgeable with Canadian music programs and let them pick the music they thought was best. In this collaboration we really found some new and back catalog pieces that would make an excellent fit in any Canadian music educator’s classroom.
1. The All American Drummer
2. Lincolnshire Posy
3. Modern Rudimental Swing Solos
4. Bobsled Run
5. South Hill March
6. N.A.R.D. Drum Solos/Snare Drum Method
8. Courtly Airs and Dances
9. Circus Galop
10. The Lambs March
2012 was such an important year for Alfred. We celebrated our 90th year in business. At Alfred, we know you don’t get to 90 years in business on your own. In addition to a great legacy of producing the industry’s best-selling music education products, you get to 90 years in business with the support of your customers, industry colleagues, and staff.
Reflecting on the developments this year in music publishing, 2012 marks the year where we will one day look back and see that the retailers who truly defined the future had found a way to harmonize their established brick-and-mortar business with the world online. Facebook crossed one billion members, Twitter empowered international revolutions, Apple and Google accounted for a billion smartphones and tablets; 2012 may, indeed, have been the shift of the ages the Mayans had once predicted… only in retail. More than ever, people want to play music. That desire is fundamental and will never change, but how they discover and shop for their musical instruments and products has changed and the dealers who partner closest with the manufacturers in reaching customers today, win the business. Alfred has implemented many new initiatives that help our brick-and-mortar retailers achieve exactly that.
1. Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele Complete Starter Pack
2. Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Guitar Complete Acoustic Pack
3. Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Guitar Complete Electric Pack
4. Alfred’s Kid’s Guitar Course Starter Pack
5. Alfred’s Kid’s Ukulele Course Starter Pack
6. Alfred’s Basic Piano Library: Lesson Book
7. Alfred’s Basic Adult All-In-One Course, Book 1
8. Alfred’s Basic Guitar Method, Book 1
9. Alfred’s Kid’s Guitar Course 1
10. Alfred’s Teach Yourself Piano
Carl Fischer Music/Theodore Presser
The first part of the year continued in similar fashion to the way 2011 ended. Things seemed to level off from the struggles many businesses were having over the last few years. However the latter part of 2012 seemed to prove our worst fears about school budgets. Educational sales seemed to be affected by school budget cuts – even more so than anticipated. So in some ways, 2012 proved even less predictable than the years during the “heart” of the economic problems our nation and businesses had faced.
Digital downloads continue to be a popular topic, and although the number of digital-only retailers coming to fruition in 2012 was slightly less than last year, it’s still the area in which we are seeing the greatest number of new businesses. We’re also seeing print music appear on more third party apps than last year and more Kindle, Nook and iBook versions of known publications.
Although we didn’t see a breakout trend in regards to any one product or product line, we did see that “value” continued to be a trend in 2012. Retailers and end consumers are still gravitating towards products that have a strong added value (i.e. a book/media CD combination with a competitive price point such as our Repertoire Classics series). The biggest change I think we’ve seen isn’t so much within the content or even how the content is being delivered, but rather how the content is being marketed. The social media options that we have are changing the landscape as to how publishers are connecting with not only their retailers, but with their end users. Social media is providing consumers the ability to get really close with the writers (via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, et cetera) which helps us sell more of that writer’s product. And that naturally benefits all parties involved in that sale: publisher, retailer, consumer, and writer.
Our goals for 2013 remain fairly unchanged from last year. We’ll need to continue to watch the trends in the digital download area and provide consumers a variety of options to receive those products. We’ll have to simultaneously remain focused on producing quality publications that will sell no matter what the delivery method is. Social media seems like it will only continue to get stronger… but the trick will be to identify the best ways to reach your customers through social media. The social media landscape changes so fast and frequently, that one must really know their audience and spend their time and resources marketing in the way their customers are most likely to respond to. Pinterest might be great for one company, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be great for all companies. And although that site might be great today, it doesn’t mean it’s going to continue to be great for the long haul. I don’t mean to single out Pinterest, I happen to love it. But the idea is the same for just about all social media sites. The key will be knowing which ones are best for our organization and participating accordingly.
1. Battle Hymn Of The Republic
2. Carol Of The Bells – SATB
3. Arban’s Complete Method -Trumpet
4. Technical Studies – Cornet
5. ABCs of Violin – Absolute Beg
6. Melodious Etudes For Tbn, Bk.1
7. Scale System
8. 170 Foundation Studies-Volume
9. Guitar Grimoire – Scales & Modes
10. Foundation Standards for Violin, Bk. 1