Why is Reverb’s selling fee moving from 3.5% to 5%?

The online marketplace’s decision has been met with some dismay online.

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More often than not, if you’re on the lookout to buy or sell used gear, one of your first stops would be Reverb.com. The online instrument marketplace has now declared an increase in its selling fee of 3.5 per cent to 5 per cent, starting on 4 August 2020, among other changes in its strategy. This move has created a mixed reaction among the music community, citing Etsy’s acquisition of the marketplace as the catalyst for the increase.

Reverb’s statement

In a statement, Reverb claimed that the increase in the selling fee “will enable Reverb to make substantial additional investments in marketing, customer support, and seller tools aimed at attracting more buyers to the site and raising the visibility of Reverb’s sellers.”

Reverb logo

The marketplace’s plans to increase investments from 2019 include investing “over 30 per cent more” in online marketing initiatives, such as SEO, video advertising, and expanding its global support and product teams by 25 and 40 per cent, respectively.

Reverb CEO David Mandelbrot says: “Over the past seven years, our team has been dedicated to growing Reverb into a global online destination that music makers visit to discover the world’s best music shops and sellers. As our community continues to expand and players of all levels increasingly shop for music gear online, we’ve heard our sellers loud and clear – they want even more opportunities to connect with more buyers on Reverb.

“As a crucial partner to the businesses and individuals who sell instruments on Reverb, we recognize that now is the time to make further investments on behalf of our sellers. Our first-ever selling fee change will enable us to do that.”

Kevin Drost, Reverb’s Chief Strategy Officer added “Music shops, gear makers, artists, and more sell their gear on Reverb because our marketplace gives them access to millions of knowledgeable, quality buyers and the support of customer engagement, marketing, and tech teams that are dedicated to connecting buyers and sellers,” said “Our revised selling fee will allow us to make crucial investments on behalf of our sellers while continuing to provide what we feel is the best value for our community.”

In an email sent out to sellers, Mandelbrot again stressed the long-term benefits of the change, writing: “We are modifying our selling fee to help us Invest more to sustain our community’s continued growth … These changes will enable us to bring more buyers to Reverb on your behalf, support the long-term health of your business, and continue growing together.”

The community’s reaction

Music production forum, Gearslutz, saw users discussing the rise in fee, with one user commenting on the language used in the statement: “The thing that gets me is the doublespeak. Just say that due to economic circumstances the decision has been taken to up the price or whatever. Don’t patronise me with bullsh!t about upping customer service. The service provided for me when needed was excellent in the past. It can only get worse, especially with this lot at the wheel.”

In response to a user simply commenting “**** [Reverb]. Seriously. Sell your stuff elsewhere”, one gear enthusiast said:

Reverb Fee Increase reaction

Meanwhile, on TheGearPage, sellers have expressed their concerns in the raising of the fee.

Reverb Fee Increase reaction Reverb Fee Increase reaction Reverb Fee Increase reaction

On the surface, an increase of 1.5 per cent on selling fees may not seem that significant. Simply put, it’s the same as paying £50 to Reverb instead of £35 after making a £1,000 sale. It appears, though, that the principal takes precedence over this fact, with the music community cautious in the idea that this figure could continue to rise whilst customer support remains the same – or worse, go downhill. Plus, couple the fee increase with tax and delivery and the seller is losing out even more by choosing Reverb over other platforms.

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