There’s been much written about the decline of the electric guitar (here’s an example) as younger generations opt for hip hop and electronic music. Another issue is that mastering the guitar is just too damn hard when compared to music-making apps on tablets and instruments like Ableton. Others, like my friend The Lonely Vagabond, says “because of the narcissistic level of what the media and technology allow you to do, It’s not the pop stars themselves that resonates with people…it’s the material existence that surrounds that fame, it’s the money these pop stars make can attain. And that’s why rock [and by extension, the electric guitar] isn’t central to our culture anymore.”
The Edge of U2 knows this and as person who has supported music education for decades, he’s concerned about kids getting discouraged before they figure their way around a fretboard. That’s why he’s teamed up with Fender to do something about it. From Bloomberg:
U2’s lead guitarist is helping Fender Musical Instruments Corp., where he’s a board member, market a learning app to make sure the next Edge sticks with it. Fender Play, costing $19.99 a month, goes on sale Thursday in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.
“There’s still a lot of interest in guitar music, but it doesn’t appear at the forefront of contemporary culture,’’ Evans said in an interview. “It’s in the back there somewhere. This will help.”
With industry sales slack, the world’s biggest guitar maker sees Fender Play as one way to boost revenue. By charging for instruction, the company can keep making money after wannabe players leave the store. If more people stick with their guitars, they’ll ultimately buy nicer ones and additional equipment.