The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek
15Sep/080

Random Weekend Summary Notes

  • The Genius function on my iPhone failed to create any playlists off of any songs currently loaded.  I'm chalking it up to the fact that my entire library isn't on the phone (far too much memory), so I only sync unhead podcasts and songs to it.
  • Apple's refusal to stock the Podcaster app in the Apps store is a bit disconcerting, to say the least.  Getting podcast subscriptions on the go would be a helpful tool, and the answer as to why they refused it doesn't seem quite logical.  Given the amount of blogosphere outcry on the situation, I'm not sure how long this app stays off the market.
  • Best Buy purchasing the now-DRM-free Napster and MySpace readying an ad-driven portion of their music service hopefully signals a quicker end to DRM in all services.
  • Steelers start 2-0.  This makes me happy.
  • So does "Evil Dead: The Musical."
28Jul/080

Best Buy Picks A Weird Song

No doubt inspired by the continued success and dedication of the Sears Silvertone, Best Buy is set to start selling musical instruments from Fender, Gibson, Roland and more. And, according to the article, it goes beyond just entry-level offerings and a few accessories. We're evidently talking about high-end instruments and group lessons as well.

Which strikes me as a monumentally bad idea for Best Buy.

The only thing they're getting right is setting aside a separate room for the inventory. The public doesn't need to be exposed to the horrors guitar shop employees face every day by dealing with thousands of terrible renditions of "Stairway To Heaven" or "Eruption." Otherwise, Best Buy lacks what every good music shop needs:

  • Personal Service: An informed salesperson that takes into account the players' needs and gets them the right equipment.
  • Maintenance and Repair: Musical instruments need constant adjustment and tweaking. Best Buy can't offer that. Or if they can, it turns out like the Geek Squad. And that's scary.
  • Lessons: Imagine a pre-teen or teen trying to concentrate on lessons when the latest video game is RIGHT OUTSIDE!!!!

While I'm certainly not in favor of trying to keep musical instruments out of the hands of kids and the public in general, Best Buy is doing nobody any favors by adding these to their stock. I can see folks suffering from sticker shock on high-end instruments ("Why, that guitar is the price of 3 home audio systems, and it only plays in mono!"), and smart money says serious players stay away in favor of their normal haunts. The manufacturers listed don't normally add big discounts to their prices anyway, so I doubt anybody is getting a good deal there.

I realize that there are more options to service your car than the dealership, and that most products can be dealt with at the superstore level without issue. I just can't see musical instruments making that transition, though. Especially after Mars Music folded and heavyweights Guitar Center and Sam Ash already in the arena. Musical instruments are not a loss-leader for the store, and my faith in Best Buy to offer quality service and care for them is minimal at best. I'd love to hear the logic behind this at some point, if it exists.

And it has to go beyond a wacky Guitar Hero "Play a Real Guitar!" tie-in.