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Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93507
10/22/07 07:02 PM
10/22/07 07:02 PM
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piqué Offline
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Quote
The fact is that consumers have voted with their feet, and the acoustic piano is fast on its way to being a niche instrument. And when it does...

Most of us won't be able to afford one.
i don't know that that follows.

the price of new pianos keeps dropping--increasing supply from china, loss of demand from customers.

what will the ultimate correction to the market look like? hard to say.

otoh, we had a rennaissance of interest in the grand piano in the 90s. that can happen again if the conditions are right.

celebrating the piano and what it does for our souls online here certainly has a positive effect. there's a very interesting story by alex ross in the new yorker this past week about how the internet has revived interest in classical music. it's available to read online, if you hurry.

same thing could happen to the piano, if enough of us talk about why the piano is important to us, reminding others of what might be meaningful about it for them...


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Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93508
10/22/07 07:24 PM
10/22/07 07:24 PM
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THE ENVIRONMENT

loss of cultural treasures such as delayed gratification, working for a long term goal, instilling discipline, active home entertainment, passing on an appreciation for art, music, etc.

THE MARKET
declining market for home music making and keyboard musical instruments an sich

improving substitutes (electronic keyboards) from easier to shop and able-to-survive-on-lower-margin s retailers (mass marketers)

THE BUSINESS MODEL
"scissor" working impacting independent retailer viability (low volume becomes lower volume & average price points and realized margin decrease while costs of doing business stay the same or increase: rent, employees & difficult to reach and communicate with fragmented target market)

independent retailers have not adapted to modern consumer expectations for the shopping experience

consumer habits change from frequenting mom and pop stores to being loyal to big box mass merchandisers, clubs and internet channels

A WAY FORWARD
A successful independent piano dealer cannot be in the piano business but must rather be in the:

- building successful university graduates in law and medicine starting today in pre-school business, or
- re-living nostalgic moments through the magic of home players business, or
- providing access to the chique and cultured world of grand piano filled great rooms business, or
- fulfilling the long held dreams of mid-life crisis angst filled, grand piano calisthenic coveters business, or
- giving new meaning to retirement and personal growth business, or

...

and get out there and chase the customers down instead of passively waiting for them to drop by.

If all you have to sell are buggy whips in a car filled world, then you need to open yourself up to e.g. the adult S&M market or you will face a slow death.

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93509
10/22/07 07:27 PM
10/22/07 07:27 PM
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is that another way of saying that dealers have to diversify?


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Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93510
10/22/07 08:18 PM
10/22/07 08:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,517
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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Quote
is that another way of saying that dealers have to diversify?
Yes - by *pre-determining your customer base*.

If you like to be "everything to everybody" these days - good luck!

Dedicate yourself to a *market niche* that still cares about quality: "affordable" if need be - then give it your all!

[Including the occasional evening or Sunday afternoon.... frown ]

You'll do just fine....

Norbert smile


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93511
10/22/07 08:26 PM
10/22/07 08:26 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 64
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Friday Harbor Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Diane...:
The "piano" has been upgraded/downgraded to a "threatre room" with surround sound!
We just bought a piano and got rid of our TV! With young kids in the house, it was a pretty easy choice.

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93512
10/22/07 10:51 PM
10/22/07 10:51 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 665
Canada
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Quote
However, it was also pointed out that at, say $1,000, the cost of moving and tuning a used piano represents a significant percentage of the total cost
Sorry not to be clear Jolly - but the $1,000 would be the price of the piano - not the move. But, you are still looking at a couple of hundred dollars to move a piano by professionals.


Doug
Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93513
10/22/07 11:12 PM
10/22/07 11:12 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by J. Mark:
You mean, people pay for cats? Get outta town!?
They thow'm in for free down here with the purchase of an egg roll... laugh laugh laugh

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93514
10/23/07 04:20 AM
10/23/07 04:20 AM
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Posts: 1,215
S. California
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It's a simple demand curve, when the prices are too high, demand dries up, this is especially true as pianos as fungible (replaceable with digital pianos that costs less by a factor of 10).

Lack of price transparency is another factor. People are just not going to put up with deceptive sticker prices that have no basis in reality, or they end up confused and thinking that pianos are priced outside their budget.


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Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93515
10/23/07 04:38 AM
10/23/07 04:38 AM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,618
Geneva, Switzerland
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Van:
pianos as fungible

Only when there is excessively high humidity wink

-Michael B.


There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.
Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93516
10/23/07 04:53 AM
10/23/07 04:53 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Friday Harbor:
Quote
Originally posted by Diane...:
[b] The "piano" has been upgraded/downgraded to a "threatre room" with surround sound!
We just bought a piano and got rid of our TV! With young kids in the house, it was a pretty easy choice. [/b]
thumb

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93517
10/23/07 09:59 AM
10/23/07 09:59 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
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Mat D. Offline
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Sterling Heights, Michigan
I hate to sound like a cynic, but as much as there have been many good potential causes for piano ownership decline presented here, I think it may also be caused by a general "dumbing down" of our culture. I would have bet my life (glad I didn't) when rap music came into popularity that it would have been long gone within 5 years...wrong! ...kinda tells you something...maybe turntable sales are up...not a good thing IMO.

In the bigger picture, it seems technology has probably had the biggest negative impact on piano sales (in a round about way). Just the fact that people spend (in many cases) hours a day surfing the net when they could have been practicing the piano. Kids can buy music software that will make lots of "noise" right out of the box...why learn fundamentals (code word for practice & hard work) when you can buy a box that will do it all for you....and in many cases, it will do it for you using 'samples' from previously recorded pieces of someone elses music! With these instant results, why would a kid be motivated to actually learn music....it goes on and on and the examples abound (no time to write more)....Again, I hate to sound cynical, but I'm finding it hard not to feel this way on this subject.

BTW, this is coming from a guy who makes his living as a music Arranger/Producer/recorder...I'm so glad I grew up at a time when learning music was important! You can't believe how many kids think they can do what I do because what is on their computer screen looks the same as what is on mine.....not so...music is still music and fundamentals ARE important...

Mat D.

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93518
10/23/07 12:24 PM
10/23/07 12:24 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
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J. Mark Offline
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I go back and forth on this. Many years ago, when I was a serious student of people like Herbert Marcuse, and of course Marx, I spent a great deal of time agonizing over the death of the human spirit. Alas.

I was so much older then....

Sure, the changes we are seeing in our society are frightening to many of us. Technological advances have never in human history proceeded with such geometric speed. And yes, many previously "cherished" skills, and perhaps entire artistic genre or even mediums will fall by the wayside...or be "lost", depending on your perspective.

But I have to believe the human spirit, and the drive to create, is stronger than all that. Was it Ad Reinhardt who announced "the end of art" with his black canvas (I forget)? Yet, to my thinking, the greatest examples of visual art in human history (so far) have come in the form of modern film...which just gets more and more complex with time (compare the "special effects" of films even as recent as Lucas's early work with the current stuff).

So I think the changes will just provide new media and new concepts and art forms, and creativity will continue and will prosper. heck, some of the kids I know these days are just incredibly creative, but in ways I can barely understand (never mind emulate).

Ahh, but the piano! Who the heck knows? Maybe it will end up on the same list as the harpsichord... a lovely and relatively rare instrument used to create (re-recreate) period works for a very small and highly elite audience.... Ultimately, no one much will care.

So, I find myself back to where I have found myself returning so many times before. I think I'll just tend my own garden. It happens to have a piano. Cool. I like that. I don't need to think beyond that....

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93519
10/23/07 04:24 PM
10/23/07 04:24 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 284
El Paso, Texas
ninja8701 Offline
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El Paso, Texas
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by J. Mark:
You mean, people pay for cats? Get outta town!?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terry Wilson said:

They thow'm in for free down here with the purchase of an egg roll...
_________________________________________________

Ugggggg.... I hope you didn't mean what I thought you did.


Kawai RX2/Yamaha Digital YPG625
Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93520
10/23/07 05:07 PM
10/23/07 05:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 893
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PSS Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by ninja8701:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by J. Mark:
You mean, people pay for cats? Get outta town!?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terry Wilson said:

They thow'm in for free down here with the purchase of an egg roll...
_________________________________________________

Ugggggg.... I hope you didn't mean what I thought you did.
Sorry to say it's true. The value of egg rolls have really gone up with the current exchange rate. laugh laugh

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93521
10/23/07 05:10 PM
10/23/07 05:10 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 733
Fairfield County, CT
BoseEric Offline
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nobody seems to have mentioned the effect of taking advantage of work and investment by a local independant dealer (programs, recital hall, donations, student performances, enjoyable time just playing his/her pianos, appraisal of your "trade in" etc) and then buying across the country because you save $50, or sales tax, or that dealer paid your hotel room...

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93522
10/23/07 08:34 PM
10/23/07 08:34 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,290
Toronto
Starting Over Offline
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Quote
Ahh, but the piano! Who the heck knows? Maybe it will end up on the same list as the harpsichord... a lovely and relatively rare instrument used to create (re-recreate) period works for a very small and highly elite audience.... Ultimately, no one much will care.
Perhaps, and well put... But I think we can dare to hope not. The harpsichord lost to the piano because the newer instrument was so clearly superior in just about every way. Such is not the case with electronic keyboard instruments. They are cheaper and smaller and more versatile to be sure but the reference is the acoustic piano. The best digitals are the ones that sound most like a real piano. As long as this remains the case, the real thing will remain relevant.

I hope.


Buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
Will Rogers

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Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93523
10/23/07 08:36 PM
10/23/07 08:36 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 512
Sterling Heights, Michigan
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Mat D. Offline
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Sterling Heights, Michigan
Quote
Originally posted by J. Mark:


So I think the changes will just provide new media and new concepts and art forms, and creativity will continue and will prosper. heck, some of the kids I know these days are just incredibly creative, but in ways I can barely understand (never mind emulate).

Ahh, but the piano! Who the heck knows? Maybe it will end up on the same list as the harpsichord... a lovely and relatively rare instrument used to create (re-recreate) period works for a very small and highly elite audience.... Ultimately, no one much will care.

J. Mark...I'm not really a cynic and I do agree that the human spirit will always find ways to express itself...I myself use technology every day as tools in my music production work. They are strictly tools, but will never replace creativity and brain-power....Your film example of the wonderful special EFX is a case in point....yes, the FX are outstanding, but technology will never write a great story or write a great piece of music; Citizen Kane didn't have a single high-speed car chase smile . Today, this is happening in the music world as well....much of the "music" that is selling the most is not really music at all...in order to be music, it has to have harmony/melody and rhythm..lyrics are optional....much of the population doesn't know the difference these days.

When I said in my initial post that I would have bet rap/hip hop would die within 5 years, I really meant it...I figured people would catch on that it was missing certain elements of MUSIC, but they haven't...that is my concern....100 years from now, will Mozart, Bach etc. be forgotten? That troubles me (I'll be dead, but you know what I mean).

There I go again,sorry, I AM NOT A CYNIC...it's easy to slip....In the end, what is great will survive, if maybe by a smaller audience.

My aopolgies for straying off topic slightly...I really want to see piano dealers survive, thrive, in fact! I'm doing my part w/ my M&H BB.
Mat D.

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93524
10/23/07 11:35 PM
10/23/07 11:35 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 111
WHEELING, WV
WILLIAM C. HAUGHT Offline OP
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Posts: 111
WHEELING, WV
With so many interesting thoughts, I ponder where to begin . . .

The thought that the increase in population along with the decrease in piano sales is right on line with statistics.

The "entry level" piano business being down is very scary, because this obviously means that the interest throughout the country of starting one's children on piano is diminishing.

The internet theory is a factor, but the numbers for the US sales of pianos, including internet sellers are still decreasing at a dangerous level.

Boseric is so right in the fact that consumers have become so intense on saving even the slightest amount of money that they will buy from a dealer outside their area to save the sales tax.

Being in the piano business for many years, the amount of work that goes into operating a piano store is endless. The cost of advertising and studio space for lessons along with interest on floor plans is a killer.

So, what can be done? Is the life expectancy of the small town piano dealer getting shorter? Jordan Kitts survives very well, but not just because of their huge trade area. Bill McCormick has proven that he has the "secret formula" to making a failing business a huge success even outside the music business i.e. Georgetown Leather was a bankrupt company and he bought it and transformed it into a multi million dollar entity within just a few years.

So, with this example alone, we know that somehow it can be done. Don't get me wrong, there are a few companies out there that are thriving still. But why? If the masses of dealers are having it so tough, what can they do to bring it back? Will they have to diversify their business holdings so that another type of business can help support their piano store? Surely not.

The quality of the Chinese brands are getting much better ... ex: Pearl River lines. But even the Pearl River dealers are having the same problems and they supply the bulk of entry level pianos sold today.

The hard working dealer needs something to happen to stimulate this business. We can only hope that the arts don't continue to diminish in this country. What a sad state of affairs that would be.

Respectfully,


WILLIAM C. HAUGHT, President/CEO, TMU, Inc. a National Marketing Company servicing the piano, furniture and floor covering industry. Retired President of Broadway Piano Company of Manhattan. 30 + years experience in retail sales and management.
Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93525
10/24/07 02:58 AM
10/24/07 02:58 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by WILLIAM C. HAUGHT:
We can only hope that the arts don't continue to diminish in this country. What a sad state of affairs that would be.
With such a beautiful instrument as the piano,

considering its valuable historical role in disseminating culture to the masses and bringing people together,

the learning to play of which has such a well documented positive impact on the development of young brains that are capable of empowered, independent, integrative and critical thought,

one might be tempted to suspect a dark conspiracy to explain its decline.

Perhaps part of the explanation, directly relating to education, can be sought here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BVNN1wqw3k&NR=1

Incidentally, the entire, slightly OT, series of 5 parts is quite entertaining to watch in order.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dmPchuXIXQ&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBZne09Gf5A&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjUrib_Gh0Y&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BVNN1wqw3k&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPPFgHF9VR4&mode=related&search=

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? #93526
10/24/07 05:11 PM
10/24/07 05:11 PM
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