Music Go Round® Case Study

Winmark Franchising Helps Music Go Round® Become #3 Music Chain in the US

Most in franchising think bigger is always better, and faster supersedes slower at every corner. That was not the case with what Winmark has found in Music Go Round®, our small, but extremely healthy franchise of musical instrument stores. Industry professionals who tell you to “grow fast” and “sell more,” have typically never had to handle the other end of those initiatives, when underperforming franchisees and poor validation become the norm.

In 1993, Winmark® acquired the rights to franchise Music Go Round, a one store operation in Minneapolis, MN. In an industry comprised at the time of mostly mom and pop independent stores, with only one national retailer, Music Go Round stood out as the only national franchise player. For many other franchisors, a brand that started so small and was situated in an industry that was shrinking, this opportunity would have been very unappealing. But Winmark looked past those things and instead looked at the quality of the concept, the potential in the model and the upside in the average unit volume. While we knew Music Go Round would never be a 1,000 store chain, we knew we could dominate the category in this space and own a valuable customer base while providing a fulfilling opportunity for franchisees with a passion for music.

Today, Music Go Round is the #3 music chain in the United States, outpacing and outperforming much of its competition in both online and offline sales. Our franchisees, while a small group, have continued to grow and dominate their niche in the industry for the past 25 years, and the interest and performance of the brand continue at an all-time high.

Category Dominance

Unit Volume*
  • $517,488
  • $628,810
  • $764,172
  • $944,094
Total System-Wide
Ecommerce Sales
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • $802,770
  • $3.3M
*The amounts stated are as reported in Item 19 of the 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017 Music Go Round® Franchise Disclosure Documents, respectively (based on the previous year’s Gross Sales). In 2001, of the 49 stores that reported, 18 or 37% of the reporting stores attained or exceeded the Average Unit Volume. In 2006, of the 40 stores that reported, 14 or 35% of the reporting stores attained or exceeded the Average Unit Volume. In 2011, of the 33 stores that reported, 15 stores or 45% of the reporting stores attained or exceeded the Average Unit Volume. In 2016, of the 32 stores that reported, 13 stores or 41% of the reporting stores attained or exceeded the Average Unit Volume. A new franchisee’s results will likely differ from these results.


  • Forbes Best Small Companies
  • Franchise Times Top 200
  • IFA Franchising Member
  • CFA Member
  • Franchise 500 2018

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