Best Buy and musical instruments

CalicoSkies

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2013
7,152
Beaverton, OR, USA
In 2008, I remember some Best Buy locations started selling musical instruments. I thought that was an interesting (if not random) thing for them to sell, and I thought it was cool to have another place to be able to buy musical stuff. That didn't last very long though, and Best Buy stopped selling musical instruments.

Today I was doing a search regarding Sweetwater and Guitar Center, and Google says Guitar Center is a subsidiary of Best Buy:
upload_2021-10-21_16-43-1.png
I thought that was interesting, and may explain why Best Buy started selling musical instruments. I didn't think Best Buy and Guitar Center were linked.
 

StratUp

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 5, 2020
8,044
Altered States
"In April 2014, Ares Management took a controlling stake in Guitar Center. Bain Capital, Guitar Center's former owner, retained partial ownership of the company, along with representation on the board."

-- Wikipedia

Unless something happened via bankruptcy, I think that's still valid.
 

Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
16,928
KC
If I remember correctly both Best Buy and Guitar Center were owned by Bain Capital. They may have moved GC under the BB umbrella but GC seems to be doing a lot better than Best Buy... at least around these parts.
 

pazman6

Senior Stratmaster
May 28, 2014
1,894
Prairieville, Louisiana
When I lived in Houston in an apartment in 2008 working on a project, I couldn't have my drums. I used to go to the Best Buy a couple times a week and play on a kit in their drum room. They didn't have a tremendous amount of stuff in stock, but it was usually pretty dead and a great place to go blow off some steam.
 

crankmeister

Most Honored Senior Member
Jul 9, 2020
5,994
Republic of Gilead
"Subsidiary" is not the correct term, I don't think. But I might be wrong.

On the other point, retailers are often pushed to introduce new products from one fiscal year to the next as a "growth" model. They try to get themselves involved in more markets. Store and regional managers spend a lot of time in meetings identifying these potential growth areas.

So, yeah, I remember about 15 or so years ago seeing cheap electric guitars at a Best Buy for the first time. I was pretty new to playing (acoustic) and was too shy to go to a proper guitar shop, and I remember thinking, "buying a guitar here at Best Buy would save me a lot of emotional turmoil". But no, I would never have actually bought a guitar from Best Buy.

This is what's funny about the online market. It's a practically no-risk growth opportunity. Even Walmart lists some Fender and Squier guitars (sold and shipped by Sam Ash). I guess Walmart just gets a cut for listing it.
 

archetype

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 26, 2016
4,253
Western NY, USA
Back then, Best Buy had a big load of Squier Classic Vibe 50s Duo-Sonic guitars that it took a long time to sell, cheap. I'm still ticked off that I didn't order one.
 

CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
10,851
SoCal
Ya... they never really had anything good... not even up to Guitar Center standards.
They sold the "big box" models like Sam's and Costco. The "SG" models said "Gibson" but they were Maestro By Gibson.
Fender products were similarly Squier "Bullet" or similar models with thinner bodies, typically sold in "starter packs" including a little amp. The amps honestly weren't terrible, probably on par with a Marshall MG15.
And like Sam's and Costco, I don't think I ever saw one on display with all 6 strings, or even close to playable.
 

Chuck8436

Senior Stratmaster
May 12, 2017
2,857
Texas
Ya... they never really had anything good... not even up to Guitar Center standards.
They sold the "big box" models like Sam's and Costco. The "SG" models said "Gibson" but they were Maestro By Gibson.
Fender products were similarly Squier "Bullet" or similar models with thinner bodies, typically sold in "starter packs" including a little amp. The amps honestly weren't terrible, probably on par with a Marshall MG15.
And like Sam's and Costco, I don't think I ever saw one on display with all 6 strings, or even close to playable.
I must disagree! I have fond memories of the guitars at my local best buy. That was right around when I started playing. They didn't have many guitars, but I thought they had some really cool ones. I remember they had one of these Vs. Only one I've ever seen in person, and I got to play some ****ty war pigs on it when I was 15 or 16.

uzp4etuuaqarqvi1cx3d.jpg
 

CB91710

No GAS shortage here
Double Platinum Supporting Member
Feb 24, 2019
10,851
SoCal
I must disagree! I have fond memories of the guitars at my local best buy. That was right around when I started playing. They didn't have many guitars, but I thought they had some really cool ones. I remember they had one of these Vs. Only one I've ever seen in person, and I got to play some ****ty war pigs on it when I was 15 or 16.

View attachment 514163
All I ever saw in SoCal was Maestro "SG" style bodies and Strat-Like objects.
If I'd have seen a V or Explorer, I'd still have it.
 

Chuck8436

Senior Stratmaster
May 12, 2017
2,857
Texas
All I ever saw in SoCal was Maestro "SG" style bodies and Strat-Like objects.
If I'd have seen a V or Explorer, I'd still have it.
Man, that sucks. My local one had some explorers. Both Gibson and Epiphone. It was walking distance from guitar center. I always thought they were in competition with eachother
 

nickmsmith

Dr. Stratster
Jul 28, 2011
14,247
USA
My local Best Buy had guitar cables, accessories, and a few Casio type cheap keyboards. Nothing special. Even those have been gone for a good while. Not that I’ve had any reason to go into Best Buy in years.

they are good for car stereo installations though. They were a pretty cool place back when people bought physical DVDs, CDs, and video games. It’s been awhile.
 

Straticus

Strat-Talker
Apr 20, 2021
249
Saint Paul, MN USA
I worked at Best Buy corporate offices when some addle-brained Mickey Marketeers convinced some executives who should have known better that the company could sell musical instruments. Millions of dollars later, the rats scampered off the ship they had run aground, moving on to more incredibly stupid ideas. And that is all I have to say about that.
 

CalicoSkies

Most Honored Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 10, 2013
7,152
Beaverton, OR, USA
Best Buy has been a public company since about 1985 NYSE listing in ~1987. If you would have bought $1000 worth of Best Buy when they went public you would have about $780k right now.

https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna25875917
I was 5 years old in 1985. I had never heard of Best Buy until about 2000 - I think that's about when the first one appeared in my area, after the Future Shop closed here.

My local Best Buy had guitar cables, accessories, and a few Casio type cheap keyboards. Nothing special. Even those have been gone for a good while. Not that I’ve had any reason to go into Best Buy in years.

they are good for car stereo installations though. They were a pretty cool place back when people bought physical DVDs, CDs, and video games. It’s been awhile.
"..back when people bought.."? I still buy physical CDs and movies on blu-ray... :p I've noticed my local Best Buy got rid of all their movie racks just a couple months ago, which was disappointing. But I went back in there a couple weeks ago and they had some new release movies on blu-ray on a couple small stands near the front door.
 

nickmsmith

Dr. Stratster
Jul 28, 2011
14,247
USA
I was 5 years old in 1985. I had never heard of Best Buy until about 2000 - I think that's about when the first one appeared in my area, after the Future Shop closed here.


"..back when people bought.."? I still buy physical CDs and movies on blu-ray... :p I've noticed my local Best Buy got rid of all their movie racks just a couple months ago, which was disappointing. But I went back in there a couple weeks ago and they had some new release movies on blu-ray on a couple small stands near the front door.
Best Buy used to have a ton of CDs and DVDs for sure. They’ve got very little left, the last time I was there. People just aren’t buying like they used to. I used to really like going to game stores and music stores.

and the places that survived that used to sell a lot of music, sell mostly pop culture trinkets now. Basically like a Spencer’s Gifts with a little music.
 


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