Accessory Trends: John D'Addario III and Brian Ball (2015 NAMM Show)
John D’Addario III of D’Addario and Brian Ball of Ernie Ball joined Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM, during “Breakfast of Champions" at the 2015 NAMM Show. They discussed another long-term trend that’s helping drive the music products industry: accessories.
D’Addario revealed that premium accessories will likely be a growing trend. “We did a lot of market research—not only in the U.S. but also globally,” he said. “And what we found is that there’s a disconnect a bit between the retail and wholesale channel and the consumer in terms of the appetite for a premium accessory. And bottom line, what we learned is that if you get the product right, it’s going to be deemed not a commodity; it’s going to be deemed a premium accessory that’s going to be coveted.
“And we look at that as an emerging trend in accessories.”
Likewise, D'Addario added that “de-commoditizing the categories” is a major focus at his company. “And really, the key to that is innovation.”
Ball agreed and stressed the value he places on constantly trying to develop unique accessory products. “We’ve all heard ‘a string’s just a string.’ Or, ‘The only way you can clean your guitar is with a traditional polish cloth.’ A passion of both of ours is to try to defy that and really bring something new and unique to the table.
“For strings, a big quest that we’ve been on is to develop new materials that sound different and are uniquely different.
“I think the unique thing for both of us is it’s not just a name. It’s family, it’s heritage, and there’s a lot of pride that goes on when you’re putting your last name on a package.”