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April 6, 2007

Shopping Music: How Stores Get You To Spend

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MACY'S
At the flagship Herald Square store in New York, past the dove gray and mushroom of Calvin Klein in womenswear, it's a girly party on the fourth floor. 50 cent cockily drawls over choppy violins: "We're gonna party like it's your birthday/Sip Bacardi like it's your birthday," as everybody to and fros in time.

Customers are here in search of a wardrobe that ticks all the boxes of high-street fashion, with its MTV-global sweep. Among the fake-fur vests for $68 and racks of babydoll party dresses in confectionery colors, an unmistakably live shout-out goes over the sound system to a nubile customer, "Nareen." DJ Blaze, on mic, behind glass, has been spinning in the Macy's DJ booth for four years. He keeps the floor pulsing with hip-hop, R&B, and reggaeton, doing the one thing a compilation cannot: reading the room, cranking the music when it gets more crowded. The wall is lined with albums signed by the celebrities who come to the floor to promote their lines, like Beyoncé, Missy Elliot, and J.Lo (who likes him to spin her music only). Girls pile in, from preteen to late 30s, from noon to 8. Blaze knows how to pump them up and get them shopping. His reward? "I've never dated so much in my life," he reports. Macy's reward? It almost goes without saying: Free-spending, bopping shoppers who say with every purchase, "I'm with the brand."

DJ BLAZE'S TOP SIX NO-FAIL SONGS TO SPEND BY
"Pullin' Me Back" Chingy
"Buttons" Pussycat Dolls
"Sexy Back" Justin Timberlake
"Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" Michael Jackson
"Dutty Wine" Tony Matterhorn
Anything by Prince


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