A bit of history died last week. The last company in America to produce player piano music has ceased production of the paper rolls. QRS Music Technologies halted production of player piano rolls 108 years after the company was founded in Chicago. Some of the machinery that was shut down last week had been built in the 1880s.
To be sure, this is not the end of automated music: the company continues to make digitized and computerized player-piano technology that runs on CDs. The company’s fortunes in recent years have been tied to Pianomation, the digitized player-piano system that can be retrofitted on most acoustic pianos. QRS also pre-installs the system on some of its own Story and Clark grand pianos.
The Pianomation systems sell for between $6,000 and $8,000, not including the piano. Somehow, a cold digital player piano doesn't seem to have the same charm as a paper roll.
You can read more at the Buffalo News web site at http://www.buffalonews.com/cityregion/story/538967.html.