If you haven’t heard of The Piano Guys, you have now…and you will be more and more. Their spectacularly visual and inspiringly musical videos on YouTube have been viewed over half a billion times. They have more than 4.3 million subscribers on the video platform. The Piano Guys are Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson, along with their producer and cinematographer, Paul Anderson and Al van der Beek.
So how did these self-proclaimed geeky dads gain a following that would be the envy of most any business owner, celebrity, or author? In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, one of the members said:
You have to do something different that people haven’t seen before in order for them to want to share it.
So, here’s what The Piano Guys do:
- They shoot musical travelogue videos around the world in exotic places
- They once hoisted a piano on top of a thousand foot cliff in Utah
- They have played at a massive waterfall in Brazil and on the Great Wall of China
- They use their incredible gifts, talents, and skills in unique ways
All four of The Piano Guys understand that it can all be taken away as quickly as it came. But they were still willing to take a special risk when a big record label came calling. They said no to Sony Records six or seven times. They didn’t want to sign a contract at the expense of their personal lives. They insisted on working tours around their families.
But they were doing something different that people hadn’t seen before. Because they did that, they were wildly popular. That’s what put them in the position to be able to do things the way they wanted, to make demands that centered on their families, and carry out the kind of lifestyle that’s both comfortable and profitable.
What are you trying to do? Are you trying to build a platform for your writing? Trying to build a business? Trying to create your own, specialized kind of art? Maybe even trying to grow a ministry? Here’s what you can learn from The Piano Guys:
- Do something different, even if it’s slightly different from what someone else is doing
- Find a niche that’s an inch wide and mile deep
- Don’t be afraid to ask people to “share” on social media what you’re doing
- Be bold, outlandish, and honest
Live! (Deluxe Edition) (CD/DVD) is the latest offering from The Piano Guys, and it comes with a CD from their sold out concert at Carnegie Hall and a DVD of their concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. It includes as tracks as diverse as “Let it Go,” “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets,” and “Rockelbel’s Canon.” Check out their art and see if it inspires you in your art.
What lessons do you learn from The Piano Guys?