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Yamaha Take Suicide Dive Rather Than Supply JB Hi Fi

By David Richards | Wednesday | 29/05/2013

COMMENT:What is it about Japanese Companies who love taking suicide dives; Sony has been doing it for years now Yamaha is getting in on the act with their decision to renege on a deal to supply JB Hi Fi with musical instruments despite the Company being the biggest seller of music in Australia.

The Australian Music Industry reported recently that music instruments sales are in decline, Billy Hyde Music a retailer who held 25% of the Australian music industry market collapsed last year yet despite this Yamaha is betting on the likes of Big Buys, Toys R Us and Costco to grow their share of the mass market musical instruments market. 

Claiming it was Yamaha who dumped JB Hi Fi and not the other way round Mark Amory the General Manager of Yamaha's Music Products has also managed to lose one of Yamaha's biggest AV along the way.

Really, Big Buys, Toys R Us and Costco over JB Hi Fi? 

Big Buys is a lame duck bottom end web site run by Harvey Norman, Toys R Us is struggling and is more mothers looking for something to keep their kids quiet than musical instruments. 

As for Costco, this staggers belief as they only have 3 stores in Australia and you have to pay $60 just to walk through the door. 

What Amory is trying to do is protect a network of struggling music instrument retailers who are doing very little to promote the sale of musical instruments in Australia for the simple reason that they don't have a clue about marketing today nor do they have the budgets that a JB Hi Fi has to spend on bringing consumers through the door. 

What Amory is trying to do is hold up margins with Australian consumers forced to pay almost double for a Yamaha guitar or keyboard than what an aspiring musicians in the USA pay. 

An FJX730SC Acoustic Guitar in Australia has a recommended retail price of $999. In the USA the same product sells for $599. A Yamaha portable keyboard DGX530 is selling in the USA for $499 in Australia Yamaha musical instrument dealers are asking $995 dollars for the same instrument.

In a letter to dealers recently Amory said Yamaha has a commitment to fostering music-making activities with quality made products.  We have been seeking new avenues to promote music to the mass market in order to contribute to the growth of our industry and create new customers for the specialist channel.  We will continue to do this where we can identify partners that understand our direction.  

If actions speak louder than words what Yamaha has done staggers belief. Here we have an organisation in the form of JB Hi Fi, who every week gets tens of thousands of music lovers passing through their shops. More than 3 million a month visit their web site.

On top of this they have a Commercial Division that sells musical instruments to schools, they hired experienced musical industry staff who worked at Billy Hyde before it was placed into administration, and they even took over Billy Hyde's Commercial Division.

In his letter to the struggling musical instrument retails Amory gushes on claiming that by providing consumer with a quality brand choice at the mass market level, we not only expose more consumers to music products, we also increase the chance to keep them playing music in the future. 

He has to be joking, mothers at Toys R US or consumers at three Costco stores over JB Hi Fi. What is this guy doing to a brand that has been around 125 years?

If Yamaha are serious about growing their share of the musical instrument market, they should very quickly find themselves a new management team who are in touch with reality. They should engage JB Hi Fi and work with them to grow awareness of musical instruments. 

This is a retailer that is smack down the barrel of the market that Yamaha needs young aspiring creative people who actually listen to music. They not only buy their music from JB Hi Fi they also buy $500 headphones, docks, and AV gear which in the future will not be from Yamaha.

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