Aug 8, 2020 - Economy

In early pandemic, virtual guitar lessons rocketed in popularity

A person playing a Fender guitar

Photo: Courtesy of Fender

The guitar-maker Fender's instructional app exploded in popularity during the first months of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Some of us — if not all of us — had a lot of time on our hands during the early stages of the pandemic lockdown. And apparently we decided that it was finally time to learn to play that guitar.

By the numbers: Around the start of the global lockdowns, Fender offered a free three-month giveaway of its Fender Play app.

  • Between March 20 and June 18, Fender Play's user base grew by nearly 500%, from over 150,000 to approximately 930,000.
  • Nearly all of those users were new to the company, indicating that they were likely picking up a guitar for the first time.
  • The gender balance of app users swung from 70% male to nearly 50-50.
  • The most popular time of day for using the app shifted from 5 p.m. to 12 p.m., presumably because you have to fill those hours somehow.

What they're saying: "Clearly there was an organic element of people being locked inside and wanting to spend their time usefully, as opposed to binging TV," says Andy Mooney, Fender's CEO. "Or perhaps in addition to it."

  • Of note: As my Axios colleagues Sara Fischer and Kyle Daly reported, we're also spending plenty of time playing video games, which helped Nintendo's profits increase 428% last quarter.

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