The guitar manufacturer consulted with Daniel Levitin, a neuroscientist and musician, for the study, which found that half of “all beginner and aspirational players” are women. Fender’s CEO Andy Mooney said the U.K. team was surprised at the findings, which are “identical to what’s happening in the U.S.”
“There was also belief about what people referred to as the ‘Taylor Swift factor’ maybe making the 50% number short-term and aberrational,” Mooney told Rolling Stone. “In fact, it’s not. Taylor has moved on, I think playing less guitar on stage than she has in the past. But young women are still driving 50% of new guitar sales. So the phenomenon seems like it’s got legs, and it’s happening worldwide.”
The results are similar to Fender’s survey from three years ago in the U.S., which led the company to reassess its promotional campaigns to introduce guitars targeted toward millennials in 2016 with women-led bands like Warpaint and Bully.
Besides more women picking up guitar than ever before, the study said a growing number of African-American and Hispanic consumers are making up the share of new players. African Americans compose 19% of aspirational players, while Latin players account for 25% of beginners.
“Today’s players have grown up in a different cultural context and popular music landscape, and rising artists like Mura Masa, Tash Sultana, Youngr, Daniel Caesar, Grimes, and Ed Sheeran are changing the way guitar is being used,” Mooney said.