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MMD > Archives > February 1999 > 1999.02.02 > 07Prev  Next

Buying Piano Rolls via the Internet
By John A. Tuttle

At 03:30 PM 2/1/99 -0800, Terry Findley wrote:

> ... 35 years ago I bought all my rolls from a small shop with walls
> lined with piano rolls and a player piano in the middle of the  room.
> The customers [could] immediately listen to the roll to decide if
> the arrangement, etc., was to their liking.  What happens now-a-
> days if I decide I want to purchase some rolls [from you] and it
> turns out I don't like the arrangement?

Hi Terry,  Thanks for writing.  Your letter prompts me to explain
a few things about the player piano roll industry in general, my
Internet roll business and the parent company, QRS.

Sometime ago, QRS started wrapping their roll boxes with plastic
to keep the boxes clean in case the rolls were on a shelf for some
extended time before being sold.  Around the same time, Aeolian
(QRS's major competitor) stopped making players and rolls.

Then QRS started selling directly to the public (like Avon).  This
was a major blow to dealers across the country who had had a lock
on roll sales.  And since consumers could buy _any_ of QRS's rolls and
not just the ones the dealer had in stock, dealer sales diminished
and many dealers (like myself) choose to stop stocking rolls.

A few years back, I was prompted by my daughter (a webmaster for
a large computer company in California) to open 'the first web site'
devoted to player pianos.  At my 'seven page site' I offered a free
QRS catalog.  People responded and my Internet roll business was
born.  The site now has 344 pages and has become somewhat of a
repository for anything related to player pianos.

Since the plastic wrapping had put an effective end to the "try
before you buy" methodology of doing business, QRS became more
flexible about returns.  And although still a little reluctant,
QRS will accept returns if the customer is truly unhappy with the
arrangement, and allow the buyer to select a roll of equal value.
However, the customer must pay for return shipping.

Hope this answers your concerns.  I look forward to doing business
with you in the near future.  At Player-Care, my motto is "Keep the
Music Rolling".  Last year I sold over well over $15,000 worth of
rolls on the net and sales figures keep climbing.  And although I
have some reservations, I've been encouraged to either automate the
roll buying system or go full e-commerce.  I have mixed feelings
about changing the current system since doing so would eliminate
my ability to interact directly with my customers.  What's your


John A. Tuttle (


(Message sent Tue 2 Feb 1999, 14:29:21 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Buying, Internet, Piano, Rolls, via

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