“If six months ago you’d had told me I’d have a music store in St. Louis, I would have told you, ‘You must be on something!’” laughs Bill Bradley, owner of Seattle-based Bill Bradley USA, a band & orchestra products distributor. “But the opportunity and timing are perfect, and we’re looking forward to being part of the operation.” The operation in question is a “music mall” launched by longtime St. Louis music retailer John McMurray. McMurray’s father founded the store 60 years ago, and John took it, expanded on it, and made it an award-winning, full-line institution that was both popular and profitable. He sold McMurray Music to Brook Mays in 2001, but retained ownership of the property and continued working for the new owners. When Brook Mays spiraled into bankruptcy in 2006, he was left with two extremes: sell the building, or come up with a completely different way of doing business out of the space.
In the latest chapter of an industry career that has encompassed everything from teaching and performing to repping and wholesale, John Broermann has found a new challenge with Music Dealers Resource Group (MDRG.) The company, with offices in China and the U.S., is offering a unique service designed to ease the difficulties in importing music products from Asia for North American independent dealers, buying groups, and distributors. MMR recently visited with Broermann at MDRG’s U.S. headquarters in Cincinnati to learn some of the details on the new enterprise…
Peter LaPlaca, the founder of L.A. Sax (which he sold in 2001), recently announced the completion of a new artist-level line of professional alto and tenor Saxophones to be marketed under the brand name Sax Dakota USA. “Designed in the USA, Sax Dakota USA Saxophones are engineered and hand-built with expert craftsmanship, impeccable mechanical quality, and uncompromising beauty,” stated LaPlaca. “I’ve always felt that greatness is rarely achieved through compromise, and that you must always meet the demands and design concepts expressed by exceptional technicians and prominent artists.”
After charting a modest 1.4% increase last year, American music product stores declined by 3.2 percent from mid-2006 to mid-2007, according to MMR’s annual tracking of storefronts from coast to coast. Thirty-seven of the 50 states saw a drop in total stores this year, while seven states booked increases and seven had no change in store counts during the last 12 months. Dropping below the 8,000-outlet mark for the first time since this Profile of the American Music Dealer report debuted in 1992, the U.S. retail sector entered mid-year with a total of 7,957 swinging doors.