Nordstrom stores embracing canned music

Nov. 28, 2007 at 8:00 PM

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The pianists traditionally filling Nordstrom stores with melodies will soon be gone as the U.S. chain switches to piped-in pop songs.

Nordstrom spokeswoman Brook White said that while some loyal customers will undoubtedly dislike the musical change, overall public opinion indicated it was time for the Seattle department store chain to evolve, The Oregonian in Portland, Ore., reported Wednesday.

"People associate the pianos with us, but, in fact, what they've been experiencing over the past few years has been overhead music," White said. "We certainly understand that some people are disappointed, and that's something we always hate to do at Nordstrom. But over time, we just evolve our experience."

That evolution may come at a cost for the 157-store chain though, according to Portland retail music expert Brian Rupp Brian Rupp.

Rupp said while the retail chain will save money by avoiding pianists' labor costs, it will be giving up the human touch that made it special to shoppers.

"What's gone is this loss of an experiential element that really transcends music and has more to do with the human presence," he told the newspaper, "a human touch."

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