A company spokesperson, who says Best Buy's research has found that U.S. consumers spend between $7.5 billion and $8 billion annually on instruments, says the stores are about 2,500 square feet. They offer private demo rooms for those who want to check out more than 1,000 guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and pieces of recording equipment, at both entry level and professional price points.
"We'll also be offering instructions, including four group lessons for free with every purchase," he says. Additional and individual lessons will also be available. Each store will be staffed with between five and seven specially trained Best Buy associates, many of them also musicians.
"We're really looking to create musicians," the spokesperson says. While marketing plans will include Best Buy inserts, "there will also be marketing customized to local markets, with live events and specific promotions," he says.
Best Buy says it began testing the concept at seven stores in Southern California and Minneapolis earlier this year, and then expanded the test to Chicago and Washington D.C., before deciding to roll the concept out on a larger scale.
Other chains that compete for musicians include Sam Ash Musical Instrument Megastores, with 45 locations in the U.S., and Guitar Center, with more than 100 stores in the U.S.