Posted by Rick Denney on May 30, 2000 at 17:38:13:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Willson 3050 vs. B&S PT6 posted by Jay Bertolet on May 30, 2000 at 16:11:32:
Some data points.
A former teacher of mine plays a Hirsbrunner. He paid real money for that horn, but you'll find his picture lying around Custom Music to use in promoting that instrument. I suspect he got a good deal, meaning a better discount than I would have gotten.
Another former teacher at one time played a Meinl-Weston 2165. He had an arrangement with the importer to play-test horns as they arrived in the U.S., and in return he got a good deal. "Good deal" means he got a better discount than I would have gotten, plus he got the pick of the litter.
In a parallel universe, I'm a triathlete. I'm also somewhat knowledgeable about bicycles, and write technical articles occasionally for triathlete magazine. Because I'm a known "guru", at least in the minds of some readers, the bike companies court my approval. I've never gotten a free bike, and the only bikes I've endorsed have been those that I bought. I paid real money for them, but I got a "sponsored athlete" deal, which is usually wholesale direct from the manufacturer. That may make a $900 bike frame into a $500 bike frame, or a $2000 bike frame into a $1100 bike frame. But it doesn't mean free, and the maker still recoups his cost. There are professional triathletes who get their stuff for free (perhaps a dozen), but the annual market for high-end triathlon bikes is about 100 times bigger than for high-end tubas.
If the profit margin on a $15,000 tuba is 10%, which means the maker spent $7000 making it, $1000 importing it, and $5500 retail markup, then he has to sell five tubas (5 times 1500 = $7500) at full wholesale to pay himself back for a freebie. And he hasn't yet paid himself back for the development costs. For something that sells maybe 15 examples a year, there will not be any sold without the maker at the very least covering his costs. But that still allows quite a discount--a $15000 tuba in this example could sell for $9000 and still make money for the maker and the retailer. But the retailer takes the biggest hit, and is the most interested in reserving these deals for well-known players.
That's why my former teacher's promo pictures are at Custom Music, and not at Hirsbrunner.
I'd bet that if someone like Jim Self gets a freebie, it isn't his, but rather it's on loan to him. It will subsequently be sold as a demonstrator, even if it's Jim that buys it. But there are only maybe four players in the world with the name recognition to get the really sweet arrangement, and Yamaha may be the only maker with enough volume to justify such really sweet deals.
Rick "More bikes than tubas" Denney