Online Breakthroughs: David Kalt, Chicago Music Exchange (NAMM Show 2014)
David Kalt, owner of Chicago Music Exchange, had a viral video hit in 2012 with “100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N’ Roll).” Since then, he’s had more breakthroughs in video marketing and also launched Reverb.com, an online marketplace for buying and selling used gear. NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond discusses these initiatives with Kalt, along with his unique music retail strategy, during Breakfast of Champions at the 2014 NAMM Show.
Highlights from the video:
“The strategy was not to build multiple locations or replicate the store that I had acquired; it was to really figure out how to leverage the talent in the store,” said Kalt, who purchased Chicago Music Exchange in 2010. “I have an amazing staff. We’ve expanded that. We really focus on customer experience. We focus on content like our video, our audio, great players, inspiring musicians. So, I had to figure out how to capture that in a store environment and do it online in a way that actually complemented it without having to double my staff.
“So what we did is we invested big in video. We worked with our existing staff, and we taught them how to sell and inspire and motivate people online through video and through social media.
"And that’s all part of the brand. We’re trying to bring excitement to our customers and future customers that when they buy from Chicago Music Exchange it makes them feel a certain way. It makes them feel like a pro.
“[Reverb.com] came about because I had millions of dollars of vintage inventory. I needed to have less vintage inventory to make room for the new inventory.
“If we can help monetize the used inventory that’s out there, everybody that’s got a booth downstairs—every one of you—will see more of your products sold. Because I want to help bridge the gap between what a musician deserves for their used piece of gear and what they’re currently getting for it. I want to lower the commissions, the friction, at 3 1/2 percent, so that we can actually take all that billions of dollars and bring it back to the industry.”
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