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Thread: Have we become a key market demographic?

  1. #1
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    Question Have we become a key market demographic?

    Hey gang,

    Okay, I'm still a uke newb and all, but I've noticed a lot of uke music around me lately and had to wonder about it - commercials, movie themes, end credits, hoboes (like oboes but without all the attitude)...

    So I'm wondering, is there a lot more incidental uke music in the world, or is this just the same phenomena where you finally get your dream car after years and years of hoping and wishing and all of a sudden it seems like everyone in the world is driving a bright pink Hyundai Accent just like yours?

    Not that I mind - God knows the world could use more ukuleles and bright pink imports.

    Brian
    Moondoggie ProductionsYouTube
    • Leon - Lanikai LU-21 • Katie - Kala Acacia Tenor • Amos - NoName Baritone •
    "I ain't got no problem with Buddha, 'cause he's a huge Nirvana fan..." - Wammo

  2. #2
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    In marketing terms, ukers will never be a key market demographic. At least I hope not. That can bring stigma. The uke is ripe for ridcule if it ever gets too popular. Would anyone among us want to be the next Tiny Tim? I thought not. He became a victim of his own schtick and gave ukes the perception of only being played by long-haired, androgynous freaky beings. The uke may as well have been brought down in a UFO.

    Despite 45 years passing since that publicity atrocity, we are still a fringe group. But I wouldn't be surprised if we're being watched as trendsetters. Key marketing people notice enthusiastic trends that ooze a little lava just beneath the consumer radar.

    The uke revolution is a quiet one. We are an unbelievably eclectic community. We attract kids to seniors and seem to have humps in the young adult and late baby boom groups. It's great to go to a gathering and see the uke uniting people.

    We in the community notice this amazing popularity, but the public just gets an occasional glimpse of it when Molly Ringwold mentions Julka Nunes on TV or Jake's "While my Guitar" video hits the top of YouTube. To see how small we really are, walk into any basic music store. Count the guitars on the wall, then count the ukes. We have not arrived for the masses yet. Let's hope we don't.

    My 13-year-old son tells me ukes are a cult. I like that. I pray every night for world peace and for Oprah to never touch a uke.

    Kevin

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkevinwolfe View Post
    In marketing terms, ukers will never be a key market demographic. At least I hope not. That can bring stigma. The uke is ripe for ridcule if it ever gets too popular. Would anyone among us want to be the next Tiny Tim? I thought not. He became a victim of his own schtick and gave ukes the perception of only being played by long-haired, androgynous freaky beings. The uke may as well have been brought down in a UFO.

    Despite 45 years passing since that publicity atrocity, we are still a fringe group. But I wouldn't be surprised if we're being watched as trendsetters. Key marketing people notice enthusiastic trends that ooze a little lava just beneath the consumer radar.

    The uke revolution is a quiet one. We are an unbelievably eclectic community. We attract kids to seniors and seem to have humps in the young adult and late baby boom groups. It's great to go to a gathering and see the uke uniting people.

    We in the community notice this amazing popularity, but the public just gets an occasional glimpse of it when Molly Ringwold mentions Julka Nunes on TV or Jake's "While my Guitar" video hits the top of YouTube. To see how small we really are, walk into any basic music store. Count the guitars on the wall, then count the ukes. We have not arrived for the masses yet. Let's hope we don't.

    My 13-year-old son tells me ukes are a cult. I like that. I pray every night for world peace and for Oprah to never touch a uke.

    Kevin
    i would agree with much of this.. i think when you go into any music store.. at least here.. most of them will not have ANY ukes... and when you go to the larger stores like.. dare i say it.. Guitar Center you will only find 1 or 2 ukes for sale.. and they often are not the best. we had one store here that used to have tons of bluegrass and folk.. they had 30 or 40 ukes on hand.. and all kinds.. but not a lot..

    if ukes went CRAZY you would see them way more.. even at walmart..

    i like the community of people, i am not one who gets into the "i want to keep it just a select group" if millions of people start playing the uke.. and stores start having them is stock.. well that is okay with me...

    d

  4. #4
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    Holy crap - a serious answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by jkevinwolfe View Post
    ...the perception of only being played by long-haired, androgynous freaky beings...
    Wait - does this mean I have to take my freaky androgynous self to another instrument? Ruh roh.

    The uke revolution is a quiet one.
    I like the sound of that...

    We attract kids to seniors and seem to have humps in the young adult and late baby boom groups.
    Many things about that sentence scare me. I don't want to be responsible for attracting kids to seniors. It's bad enough that I have to introduce myself to my neighbors when I move.

    ...Molly Ringwold mentions Julia Nunes on TV...
    Molly Ringwold was on TV? How did I miss that?

    To see how small we really are, walk into any basic music store. Count the guitars on the wall, then count the ukes.
    Been there, done that, my friend. Imagine walking into a Guitar Center in Connecticut. Maestro Behloff may live out here, but ukes in shops? When I took my ill-fated Guitar Center trip, I found one ukulele whose four strings seemed to be tuned to B# G Zb and @# (or @ natural - they sound pretty close to me). Thank God we've got MGM and the intarweb.

    I pray every night for world peace and for Oprah to never touch a uke.
    Amen, brother! As much as I like William H. Macy, it gave me a cold chill down my spine when I saw him playing a uke right NEXT to The Leader. You could see that look in her eye while he was playing. You know - the one that says "How can I fit one of these under each chair in the audience?"

    For the love of GOD, no one tell her about sopraninos!!!

    So let's see, I think I'll put Kevin's answer under the "pink Hyundai" column.

    Brian
    Moondoggie ProductionsYouTube
    • Leon - Lanikai LU-21 • Katie - Kala Acacia Tenor • Amos - NoName Baritone •
    "I ain't got no problem with Buddha, 'cause he's a huge Nirvana fan..." - Wammo

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominicfoundthemooon View Post
    ...i like the community of people, i am not one who gets into the "i want to keep it just a select group" if millions of people start playing the uke.. and stores start having them is stock.. well that is okay with me...
    I'm with you d, but I'd be afraid that the uke community could be horribly changed if it just suddenly flooded the masses. I haven't been around a lot of ukers in person, but the ones I have are tip-top folks. And I've been lurking around here for awhile, and while there are the occasional nimrods or flare-ups, I'd say we're waaaaaay below the average around here. Especially for the internet.

    One of my other hangouts is for folks with Hodgkin's Lymphoma (three years clean and strummin') and we've got the same vibe (though with slightly more panicky post-scan posts than around here ). I think part of that is helped along by the Hodge being one of the rarer cancers. the other cancer forums? Fuggeddaboutit! I hear those testicular cancer guys can be real pricks. And the colon cancer folk can sometimes be asses. Don't get me started on the breast cancer forums - what a bunch of boobs.

    Ba dump bump. (I thrive on uneasy laughter and cancer humor)

    So while I'd love to have more ukes readily available and more uke playing to listen to, I think it's a good thing that the ukulele needs to be sought out. It helps ensure that the people who are most uke-like find it, love it and care for it.

    Oh, and one more thing - you guys are awesome!

    And by "You guys" I mean the UU, not just D and Kevin. Though they're awesome too. But that's a given, since they're on UU.

    Brian
    Moondoggie ProductionsYouTube
    • Leon - Lanikai LU-21 • Katie - Kala Acacia Tenor • Amos - NoName Baritone •
    "I ain't got no problem with Buddha, 'cause he's a huge Nirvana fan..." - Wammo

  6. #6
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    You know, I'd just be happy if the ukulele got enough of a heightened awareness that it became accepted as a regular instrument. Enough to be seen as legit and not a novelty. On par with mandolin or banjo or something. Something with four strings that makes musical sounds. That's all I really ask.

  7. #7

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    I'm really enjoying this thread. jkevinwolfe's post should be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Blogging.

    But all seriousness aside, when you become familiar with something, like the sound of an uke, you notice it more often. Its like when you first identified the croak of a spring peeper. Prior, it just blended in with all the other nightsounds. The frog population didn't increase, your ear just became more sophisticated. Sam Ting with uku.
    Last edited by HoldinCoffee; 05-15-2009 at 04:35 AM.

  8. #8
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    In my Big Beautiful World, the uke would get much wider acceptance. That's because I think creating music should be for everybody. Too many of us are mere consumers of music instead of makers of music, and that's a shame.

    I see the ukulele as the perfect antidote for that. It's inexpensive, easy-to-learn, unintimidating, and fun! It's a "gateway" instrument. The more the merrier!

    As far as "legitimacy" goes, I'd like it to gain some, but not too much. A lot of the uke's accessability is it's relative lack of legitimacy. It's seen as slightly goofy. A bit of a musical underdog.

    And that's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, because then it doesn't have the same kind of baggage most other instruments have. There's less of an expectation to be good, compared to guitar/piano/etc. You have permission to suck at it, because hey, it's just a ukulele. No pressure! No need to impress. Just have a good time makin' some music.

    If suddenly the uke were to get all high-falutin', I think we'd lose that. Does that make any sense to anyone else but me?

    JJ
    "Talent is just a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do." -- Bob Ross

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele JJ View Post
    As far as "legitimacy" goes, I'd like it to gain some, but not too much. A lot of the uke's accessability is it's relative lack of legitimacy. It's seen as slightly goofy. A bit of a musical underdog.

    And that's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, because then it doesn't have the same kind of baggage most other instruments have. There's less of an expectation to be good, compared to guitar/piano/etc. You have permission to suck at it, because hey, it's just a ukulele. No pressure! No need to impress. Just have a good time makin' some music.

    If suddenly the uke were to get all high-falutin', I think we'd lose that. Does that make any sense to anyone else but me?

    JJ
    I totally agree with this. Those are pretty much the reasons that drew me to the uke in the first place.

    Since there is no expectations or pressure placed on the uke I willing to take it outside and play without worrying what others think. I'm just there to have a good time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulele JJ View Post
    As far as "legitimacy" goes, I'd like it to gain some, but not too much. A lot of the uke's accessability is it's relative lack of legitimacy. It's seen as slightly goofy. A bit of a musical underdog.

    And that's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, because then it doesn't have the same kind of baggage most other instruments have. There's less of an expectation to be good, compared to guitar/piano/etc. You have permission to suck at it, because hey, it's just a ukulele. No pressure! No need to impress. Just have a good time makin' some music.

    If suddenly the uke were to get all high-falutin', I think we'd lose that. Does that make any sense to anyone else but me?

    JJ
    Makes perfect sense to me. I'd agree with you big time. I like that goofy charm the ukulele has. It enables all sorts of silliness, or, for that matter, unexpected seriousness (whichever is your cup of tea). It's perfect for beginners and noodlers and envelope-pushers, and it's fairly easy to get your hands on.

    In my area, there are lots of people who have had exposure to ukulele in elementary school as a music teaching tool, which is super-cool. Somehow, despite that, though, ukulele's still not really anywhere outside the realm of the novelty instrument. People know it`s accessible though, so right there`s a small step towards that big dream that everyone be able to make music.

    There's something really attractrive about that novelty and playability. Of course, I do have to be a bit of an echo and say it might be nice if any of the major music stores in my area carried a uke that wasn't laminate. That doesn't take away from that novelty factor I so love, does it?

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