The Piano Guys

The Piano Guys

The Piano Guys

are an American musical group consisting of Pianist Jon Schmidt & Cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, Videographer Paul Anderson, and Music producer Al van der Beek.

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They gained popularity on youtube where in 2010 they began posting piano and cello compositions combining classical, contemporary, and rock and roll music, accompanied by professional-quality videos.

In August 2016 the group surpassed one billion views on their YouTube channel, which at that time had nearly 5 million subscribers.

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Their first five major-label albums The Piano Guys, The Piano Guys 2, A Family Christmas, Wonders, & Uncharted where each reached No1 on the billboard Classical Albums & New Age Album Charts.

The four group members all belong to the Mormon Church and were middle-aged family men with other careers before they started the group.

The group originated as a social media strategy for Anderson Piano Store where Anderson got acquainted with Schmidt, a locally notable pianist who often came in to practice on the pianos when he was in town.

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In 2009 Anderson saw a music video that Schmidt had uploaded to YouTube, “Love Story Meets Love Story” – a musical blend of the Taylor Swift country pop version & Coldplay’s Baroque pop song “Viva la Vida”, which Schmidt performed with Nelson on cello,That video logged more than one million hits.

Anderson asked the musicians to do more videos that he would professionally film and upload to his store’s Facebook and YouTube pages to promote his store.

Nelson brought his neighbour, van der Beek, a songwriter and music arranger, onto the team where Tel Stewart initially assisted with video production.

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While the first few videos did not make much of an impact, “Michael Meets Mozart” (2010) gained a respectable showing after Schmidt invited the nearly 30,000 people on his fan mailing list “to watch it and share it”.

In June 2011 the group won the “Most Up-and-Coming Channel” award in the YouTube “On the Rise” contest, which brought 25,000 new subscribers to their channel.

In 2011 and 2012 the group uploaded a new music video every week to two weeks, attracting thousands of new viewers each time.

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Meanwhile, The Piano Guys store did not register any piano sales from two years of posting videos, and closed in March 2012.

By September 2012, The Piano Guys had uploaded more than 30 music videos which had garnered 134 million views, and had 757,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel.

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That month, they signed with Sony Masterworks Rather than receive royalties on album sales, the group opted to split the profits with the label while financing their own music and marketing.

After signing with Sony, they released their first album, The Piano Guys, followed by Piano Guys 2 in 2013 and Wonders in 2014.

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The Piano Guys members are all middle-aged family men who had other careers before the group took off.

Schmidt had a solo career with eight albums and seven piano books to his credit & Nelson owned a Real Estate agency, Anderson owned a piano store, and van der Beek operated a recording studio in his home.

After signing with Sony in 2012, all four quit their jobs to pursue their joint musical career.

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