In the past decade and a half, us musicians have become to embrace online shopping. In the beginning we were hesitant. But when the prices became so competitive, we realised the purchases of electronic and mechanical equipment online made a lot of sense. We were still, or some of us are hesitant to order actual musical instruments online, just in case we get a bad one. But the online retailers have made it cost-effective for us to even return the goods, if we are not satisfied with the product.
But my fond memories walking into a music shop as a teenager, looking at the guitars I could not afford in real life still makes me want to try to support the local music shop. Now as with everything, there are good ones and bad ones. One of the older music shops in Dublin closed it’s doors in the past month or so. I was left with mixed feelings as again I had fond memories with the shop, I got to know the owner over the years. But at the same time, even though I was offered a discount in the shop, I also learned that another shop was selling some of the same products just around the corner even cheaper than my discounted rate.
Now the competition has become tough, which has made some of the music shops fight back in the price battle. I welcome this. You see, if I have the choice of supporting my local music shop over the massive online store, I will. But I will not do this at a cost. So my dear local music store, I would be glad to spend my money in your store, as long as I don’t find the same product online substantially cheaper. You see this makes me feel robbed. Even my local supermarket does price checks, where if I could have got the same products cheaper from their competitors, they will refund me the difference.
I know some of the local music shops are waking up to this, and for this reason I do always check the price of a product locally first these days. And I am aware that sometimes the price is not in your hands, but the hands of the distributor.
So a little word to the distributors. I live in Ireland, which is part of the European Union. With in EU we can order goods online and there is no import duty. But If I order from USA, by law we are subject to import duty. I have my eye on few L.R. Baggs products at the moment, in my experience they are making some of the best products for amplifying an acoustic guitar. I am particularly interested in their Lyric acoustic guitar pickup (which actually is an inbuilt microphone) and their brand new Session Acoustic D.I. with saturation and a compression EQ. To order the pickup from USA and pay the import tax, I would still save €60, that’s $66 in USA*. And on the D.I. if I ordered it from the states, compared to the most competitive online store in Europe, I would still save €114, that’s a whopping $126*.
Now dear distributor and my local music store, how am I supposed to not feel like I’m being ripped off, if I support you by buying these product from you at the higher price?
*The Euro to Dollar conversion was calculated on 7th of June 2015, and will fluctuate with the rate.
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE