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  • Jim Bessman

Hal Leonard strives to satisfy all consumers at Toy Fair


Hal Leonard's music instructional display at Toy Fair

Hal Leonard brought its array of music instrument instructional product to this week’s Toy Fair at New York’s Javits Center, along with an understanding that it still needs to offer material in all formats in order to maximize sales.

“In ‘Learn to Play’ kits these days, you can’t limit the amount of options,” said David Cywinski, senior key accounts manager for the big Milwaukee-based music print publisher and instructional product dealer.

“You need both digital and the physical media,” he added, noting the trend away from physical media—instructional CDs and DVDs—in favor of digital downloads and website streams.

“You can’t cut anybody out,” Cywinski said of potential buyers. “We tried to make a change, and went to some of our catalog and specialty accounts and said, ‘We’re looking to pull physical media out of our kits. What do you think?’ We found, from a store like a Sharper Image, that their customers might still have a CD or DVD player. So we have to offer every configuration.”

He reached for the Play Ukulele Today box—which states on the front that it includes, in addition to a high-quality ukulele, an instruction book, CD and DVD—and pulled out the book, which notes on the cover that the instructional video programming is also available via online download.

“We need to update the box graphic to include that,” said Cywinski, promising it will happen prior to the fourth quarter.

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