Musician's Friend has bought Harmony Central

If you haven't seen the news yet it's now official - http://news.harmony-central.com/News/2005/HC-MF.html

It will be interesting to see how this changes things, last time they were owned by zZounds it didn't work out.

They have started with one mistake already - they said in their announcement :

Quote:
Harmony Central will continue to operate as an independent publisher and forum, providing the news, reviews, tech tips, resources, and musician-to-musician sharing of information that have made it the most popular music site on the web

This claim is simply wrong.

If you go to http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=&url=ultimate-guitar.com you will see that Ultimate-Guitar.com has a reach per million users of 416.5 over the last 3 months, but harmony-central.com only has 242 - see http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=&url=harmony-central.com

That means Ultimate-Guitar.com is nearly twice as popular as Harmony-central.com

Not a good start for Musician's Friend.... what does everyone else think?

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I only really use HC for the user reviews when I see something unfamiliar on Fleeb. Even then, the size of the pinch of salt varies. Pardon my ig, but what does "reach per million viewers" measure?

No doubt Guitarsite's forum will sweep all aside in 2006 :)

Reach Per Million means that's how many people visit a given website for every million people using the world wide web on a given day.

So 416.5 means that 0.04165% of all people browsing the web on a given day are visiting Ultimate-Guitar.com.

There are many companies that produce stats, some like Alexa collect data from a tool bar, some use serveys of the general population, and some use analyis of ISP data - all methods have problems with bias but Alexa has the most reliable data I've seen, and I know this because I know the actual data for a large number of web sites and Alexa is surprisingly accurate at predicting visitor numbers.

Yes - Let's see GuitarSite.com sweep all aside!!!

My prediction is that Harmony Central won't remain independent.

Equipment manufactures will be offered special cross-platform marketing opportunities that involve the Harmony Central web site, Musician's Friend web site, and the bricks and mortar stores of Guitar Center.

At least that's probably what I'd do if I was running Guitar Center/Musician's Friend.

I don't see it happening overnight though - it will take some time to co-ordinate the value chain from manufacturer to retailer to media.

We'll have to sit back and see.

Thanks for that. Thought it might be like the "doctors per 1,000 of population" ratio, but best to ask.

Jason, I was thinking the same thing. The temptation for HC to laud a product that just happens to be cluttering half the storeroom area of MF/GC would be difficult to resist.

Could happen quicker than you think. Fleeb were certainly no business mugs when they hoovered up Paypal. Fleeb's quickly turned a convenient means of settling auctions into a convenient means of making Fleeb more money. They're currently exploiting a loophole in UK electronic payments legislation in a real "Bill Gates" manner. That's the great thing about online hegemony - no fancy new stationary and letters to customers. Click, bang, these are the new rules buster - like it or lump it.

1bassleft, don't get me wrong - I don't see anything inherently wrong with following that path, as I said I'd do it myself - but just like we do here on GuitarSite.com and the rest of the Hitsquad.com Network, I'd make sure that visitors to the web site can clearly distinguish the difference between sponsored content and editorial content.

Whilst eBay were quick to integrate PayPal not all mergers go as smoothly - AOL/Time Warner is a perfect example.

I'd be interested in hearing what other people think about the take over of Harmony Central by America's biggest musical instrument retailer.

:lol: Jason - I did come across a bit "G8 Anti-Globalisation Eco-warrior tree-hugger" :shock: . I'm not against a bit of good marketing savvy. Still, I think MF need to tread carefully. Flawed though HC can be, it could look a lot worse if mucked about with too much for short-term commercial reasons. At the risk of wrinkling my anorak ( :) ), I think a site/forum's biggest asset is its "credibility". Built up over years, lost in days (potentially).

Good point on credibility (HC's not yours :))... Outside Underpants may have hinted at that one at the top of this thread - but the mistake may have been innocent as they may not have realized there's a more popular site with musicians because it's run from Russia.

Generally though I've found the people at Musician's Friend to be very professional, and they have a good understanding of the internet, and they've seen Harmony Central formerly under the ownership of one of their online retail competitors, so really they should be able to avoid the credibility issues and merger issues and integrate HC into their operations without too much fuss.

Of course I'm not entirely a disinterested by-stander, I'm waiting to see if the online retailers remove their ads the same way Musician's Friend did when HC merged with zZounds - but I'm sure they could replace that with manufacturer brand advertising due to their special position of being the biggest music equipment buyer in the USA.

With the massive market presence of Guitar Center + Musician's Friend + Harmony Central I wonder what this might do to the price of music gear???

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