Music retail store staff help customers of all experience levels to find the right musical equipment.

Music stores are a musician's paradise, stocked with everything anyone could possibly need to make music of their own. Being surrounded by so many instruments and so much specialty equipment can be overwhelming. Luckily, music retail staff are there to help customers navigate this environment, and their guidance can prove very valuable to shoppers who may not be sure what to look for.

Music retailers come in all sizes, and each has a slightly different business model. Some have implemented online purchasing or warehouse shipping, and have dedicated virtual customer support teams who are responsible for ensuring that shoppers have a positive experience. Some music stores offer lessons and may have a separate division of workers who provide them, or may prefer to hire musicians who can do both. Smaller, independent music stores often specialize in a particular type of instrument and generally prefer to hire workers who understand it. It's also common for music stores to perform simple repairs in-house, though many just keep a list of repair technicians on hand to refer customers to.

  • Managing inventory and receiving new shipments
  • Recommending products to customers
  • Operating retail software and completing purchases
  • Arranging and maintaining product displays
  • Answering questions about specific gear

Many workers in music retail are musicians themselves, which gives them insight into what customers want and helps them to answer complex questions in an informed way. It's important to be friendly, knowledgeable, and patient. Music stores can get loud, especially as customers try out different instruments in their search for the right one; sometimes this sounds like a masterful guitar solo, and other times like a chaotic cacophony of sour notes. It's important to be able to communicate effectively with both experienced musicians and novices, since both can drive sales.

A career in music retail typically doesn't require formal training or education; however, it does require a great deal of specialized knowledge and a grasp of some niche terminology. It's entirely possible to learn these skills on the job, but what's harder to learn is how to talk to people. Customers tend to prefer a friendly demeanor, and staff with a genuine desire to help tend to succeed. Many stores also have sales targets that each employee must strive for; typically, managers are responsible for ensuring that each employee hits their target amount, while staff must balance their goals with the individual needs of each customer.

If you like music, people, and talking to people about music, you could have a fulfilling career in music retail.

The National Association of Music Merchants has a mission to strengthen the music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music.

The Alliance of Independent Music Merchants is an alliance of leading musical instrument retailers and manufacturers whose mission is to help develop and grow the music industry.

Independent Music Store Owners exists to ensure the continuation of independent locally-owned music stores.