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LOS ANGELES, CA –
In conjunction with its exhibition at the International Music
Products Association (NAMM) trade show, Musichotbid.com announced
today that it has retained Carl Thompson Associates to launch a
national public relations program.
MUSICHOTBID.COM ANNOUNCES RAPID GROWTH IN LISTINGS, USERS, HITS
LOS ANGELES, CA – While exhibiting at the International Association of Music Products (NAMM) industry trade show, Musichotbid.com announced today that it has experienced a rapid increase in demand for its auction web site from buyers and sellers of musical instruments and equipment. Since the web site went “live” last September, the number of registered bidders has grown from 0 to 15,000. The number of items listed for sale has grown from 0 to over 41,000 per month. In addition, Musichotbid.com is currently averaging 100,000 unique visitors to the site each month. The site is currently averaging 1.8 million hits per month, and site usage from visitors, buyers and sellers is growing at an average rate of 30% per month.
Jim Kersten, President and Chief Executive Officer of Musichotbid.com, remarked, “I am not at all surprised by the tremendous growth our company has enjoyed in its first few months of existence. The management team at Musichotbid.com has worked very hard to provide a user-friendly site that appeals to both buyers and sellers of musical items. The music products market is estimated to be $15 billion, and analysts believe that online music products sales will exceed $1 billion by 2005. Musichotbid.com was created by musicians for musicians to tap into the used music products market by providing a specialized forum for musicians to buy and sell their wares.”
While Musichotbid.com competes with other general auction sites like Ebay and Amazon.com, management believes that true music enthusiasts and semiprofessional musicians prefer to list their equipment with Musichotbid.com because they know the registered bidders are all potential buyers of music products. Likewise, buyers prefer to make their purchases through Musichotbid.com because they have access to a vast selection of highly specialized music equipment to suit their individual needs and preferences.
IOWA FIRM WEAVES WEB MUSIC
L-Trent Salter / R-Tony Smith
FORT DODGE, IA - Looking to become the eBay for musicians, Musichotbid.com is auctioning and selling instruments and CD’s from thousands of individuals and stores online.
The Web company, based in Fort Dodge, hopes to combine the success of auction site eBay and bibliofind.com, a site designed by a Harvard University student to search online for titles at thousands of stores selling used and rare books.
“If he could do it for books, we thought we could organize the very unorganized network of independent music dealers around the country,” said Jim Kersten, president and chief executive officer of Musichotbid.com.
At the site, instead of listing products haphazardly in a single music category, everything is divided by specific items such as new and used violins and acoustic, electric and left-handed guitars. Items can range from $5 for a used CD to more than $10,000for a rare guitar.
Many of Musichotbid.com’s listings come from sister company Heartland Communications’ Musicians Hotline magazine, a publication of mostly advertisements.
The online company operates separately from Heartland Communications but was formed by key members of the publishing firm. The online company uses Heartland’s information and, in exchange, gives Heartland advertising space on the Web site.
Kersten, a former state lawmaker, remains the senior vice president and chief operating officer for Heartland.
Kersten said the company has raised $1 million from venture capitalists to expand the music site, online since Sept. 1, 1999.
Trent Salter, publisher of Musicians Hotline and the site’s general manager, said many investors, especially on the West Coast, wonder why the site is operated in Iowa. “Great ideas aren’t geographic,” he said. “We just happen to be in Iowa.”
After Musichotbid.com gets more established, the company plans to spin off the other Heartland publications in an online venture, Kersten said. Heartland has published magazines of classified advertisements for 30 years, including ones for the construction, agriculture, industrial and aviation industries.
The site attracts about 1.8 million visits a month by 100,000 people and has about 42,000 listings, Kersten said. The listings are free but the site makes a commission when items are sold.
Long-term plans for Musichotbid.com call for selling the company or going public, he said.
The company has eight employees and has advertised the site at guitar shows, through Web-site partnerships and instrument shopping spree giveaways.
While site officials stress shopping convenience, they realize the concerns customers would have buying a musical instrument – often a subjective and high-priced purchase – without inspecting and playing it first.
Other than working out an arrangement with the seller to try the instrument before payment, customers can use an escrow service where, for a fee, a third party holds the check until the item arrives and can be inspected.
Musichotbid.com gives a way for buyers and sellers to meet, the company says, and holds no responsibility for the completion or satisfaction of the transactions.
Customers can post their experiences with a particular seller on the site.
Other than reading those comments or using an escrow service, buyers have to just trust the seller, Kersten said.
He said that they have had few complaints on the quality and deliverability of products, though.
Although more people are buying online, Clinton Cupples, a salesman for the Ye Olde Guitar Shoppe in Des Moines, said nothing replaces the personalized service customers get by going to a store.
And when someone buys a guitar online that is not adjusted correctly, “they bring it into the shop anyway,” Cupples said.
Michael Becker, owner of Becker Fine Stringed Instruments in Windsor Heights, said customers should make sure they know the return policy of the seller if they don’t like their purchase.
“I think it is very risky, when you are buying something online and you are not able to evaluate overall condition, tone, playability and all the things important to a musician,” said Becker, who sells violins, violas and cellos.
“I’ve seen a couple dozen people who have come into the store with instruments that were bought online, who were really at a loss. They didn’t quite know what they had,” he said. “Most of the time it’s not so good.”
He said people see a violin for $75 or $100 thinking they made a good buy without knowing another $300 would be required to make the instrument playable.