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The Piano Guys Deconstruct Their Strategy Behind Viral ‘Frozen’ and ‘Batman’ Mashups

The Piano Guys are about to hit a very high note — 500 million views on YouTube.

So how did four dads from Utah collect over 3.3 million subscribers and debut their fourth studio album, Wonders, at the twelfth spot on the Billboard Top 200 earlier this month — their highest debut and biggest opening sales week to date? With a little help from Batman, One Direction and Swedish House Mafia.

“If a song really grabs our attention or moves us for whatever reason, a classical melody will weave its way in pretty organically,” piano maestro Jon Schmidt tells The Hollywood Reporter of mashing classical tracks with pop songs just as they hit the height of the cultural zeitgeist. “And we have 16 kids between us — we’re Mormon dads, that’s what we do, we collect children! — so sometimes they’ll come to us with an idea.” Sometimes they’re inspired by a potential music video location or a commissioned project (as was the case for “Pictures at an Exhibition”). “The only consistency is inconsistency in our process, as long as it’s spontaneous, organic and enjoyable.”

Once a cover song is selected, the group takes approximately two to three to weeks to write Schmidt’s piano pages and fully layer with Steven Sharp Nelson’s twenty string instruments. Of their latest twelve-track release, the trickiest one to perform is a blend of Dave Matthews Band’s 1992 hit “Ants Marching” with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” (which they ambitiously performed live on Today) and the most difficult arrangement was “Let It Go,” which juxtaposes the Idina Menzel song from Frozen with Antonio Vivaldi “Winter” sequence from “The Four Seasons” and has 25 million views to date.
“It was a really tough task because one is intensely minor, and the other is more like energetic major, and one connotes like an intense blizzard and another is an emancipation,” explains Nelson. “It was seriously schizophrenic, and you can hear that too, but then it was so cool because it was like her conflict. So the music ended up telling the story so well, but it was tough to get it that point.”
Unlike other viral online acts who hope to break out of the cover-flooded trenches of YouTube, The Piano Guys agree that they’re fine with their original tracks being inherently harder for fans to discover. “There’s a little stigma attached to ‘cover bands’ — it almost feels like you’re inferior in a way, so artists reach for original tunes as if it’s a golden goose in a way, or maybe it’s more like street credibility or validation,” says Nelson. “But we’re not afraid of that because when we take a cover tune, we’ve recreated it so much anyway, it becomes so original and so much fun for us that I would always want to keep doing them.” Still, their most popular originals, such as “All of Me” and “Michael Meets Mozart,” have garnered 14 million and 17 million views, respectively.

Schmidt compared their composition strategy to cooking: “You’ve got all the ingredients that you love and go to as a chef, and you create from those something new. I think our palate is really wide in the ingredients that we have in front of us — pop, classical, hip hop, any music,” he echoes. “Anything we’ve ever been exposed to, we’re gonna grab it. We never hesitate to mix that with that, we don’t care. We just throw it all in, especially the classical — I think people are afraid to use that ingredient, and we’re just like, ‘Why? It’s the most delicious thing to use!'”

Along with Paul Anderson and Al van der Beek, the group has upped the ante on their highly-produced music videos for Wonders, as they intend to film music videos at the Wonders of the World. “Putting a grand piano on the Great Wall of China or in Iguazu Falls, on a moving train or on a thousand-foot cliff with a helicopter, getting all the Batmobiles together for a video — I feel like I never get a chance to do the best I can because we’re always trying something new on the spot!” jokes Anderson. So what does it take to become a YouTube breakthrough? Says Nelson, “Do something unique. Be yourself, be authentic. Once you find what your authentic core is, you just have gotta have content quality and consistency.”

Thank You for 500 Million YouTube Views!

What?!?! 500 million YouTube views? A half-billion? A sixth-tri-billion?? :-) When we started The Piano Guys three years ago we were just doing this for fun. Now we’re still doing this for fun but we have 500 million YouTube views!

Even though this number blows our minds and is a little hard to wrap our heads around, EVERY view to us counts. Each one means so much to us. It’s something we never let ourselves forget — we constantly remind ourselves that this little Piano Guys thing has been built by you – one view at a time. Thank you for watching. Thank you for sharing, for liking, for commenting. Thank you for being a part of what we call “The Piano Guys Miracle,” four Utah dads playing instrumental music on classical instruments in nature — even just barely surviving on the internet would be a feat in and of itself, but to have this collection of views is nothing short of a miracle. That’s why we can’t thank YOU enough.

We love you!

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“Wonders” is Number 12 on the Billboard Charts!

The Piano Guys, Wonders – No. 12 – The group earns its highest charting album ever, and the largest debut sales week for a new age act in over five years, as Wonders starts at No. 12 with 23,000 sold. The last new age act to earn a bigger opening frame was new Yanni, who saw his Yanni Voices project bow with 26,000 on the chart dated April 11, 2009.

The Piano Guys also log the highest-charting new age album on the Billboard 200 since Dec. 6, 2008, when Enya’s And Winter Came… spent its final week in the top 10 (at No. 9).

Wonders, released on Portrait/Sony Masterworks, naturally also debuts at No. 1 on the New Age Albums chart — making it their fifth consecutive chart-topper. The album also bows atop Classical Albums, Classical Crossover Albums, and Internet Albums. The album sold particularly well online, with 52 percent of its first week coming from Internet retailers like Amazon.com.

Happy Pioneer Day Utah!

Happy Pioneer Day Utah! We are proud to call this place our home. See if you can find all 10 hidden TPG items.


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If you’d like to learn more about Utah’s Pioneer Day click HERE

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New Sheet Music! ThePianoGuys Simplified Favorites Vol. 1 (Easy Piano / Optional Cello)

We are excited to announce the release of our new piano/cello duet book ThePianoGuys Simplified Favorites: Vol. 1.

Perfect for the late beginner to late intermediate instrumentalist, this book’s songs include Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends, Home, A Thousand Years, All of Me, and more!. Pianists and cellists of the world: Unite!


SimplifiedFavoritesBuyAll of Me (Piano Solo)
Arwen’s Vigil (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Begin Again (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Home (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Moonlight (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Over The Rainbow / Simple Gifts (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Peponi (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Rolling In The Deep (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
A Thousand Years (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
​• Titanium / Pavane (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Without You (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)

ThePianoGuys Are Giving Away Their Personal iPad For Hitting 1 MILLION!

Why are we jumping for joy?? Because we just simultaneously hit 1 MILLION Facebook likes AND 400 MILLION YouTube views! WOW! We wish we could give each of you a personal “thank you” — we know it’s because of YOU that we’re celebrating these milestones. You’ve “liked” and commented on our posts, shared our videos, and even supported us by purchasing our songs and merch in the TPG store. THANK YOU! This has been an incredible ride for us. You know what the best part has been? Hearing YOUR response to the music and the videos, meeting you at our shows when we’re on tour, and reading your thoughtful messages and emails. So many of you have said that TPG has made a positive difference in your life. That has made us smile – encouraged us – even at times brought us to tears in gratitude for the joy and spirit that can be felt through music. As we’ve read your words we’ve felt connected with you, no matter how far away or how differently we’ve lived, we’ve felt the positive impact you’ve had in our lives and in the lives of our families. Thank you so much for all you have done for us. We still have so much we want to share with you and hope that you’ll continue to share us with your friends and family.

We’ve got to celebrate somehow, right?? … Here’s what we’re thinking … We want to randomly pick someone that shares this page and send him or her OUR PERSONAL IPAD (pictured below), autographed and pre-loaded with all our music videos! We wish we had 1 MILLION IPADS we could send to you ALL, but we burned all our cash in the last Wonder of the World video. Click the share link below. We hope we pick YOU!! We love you! Thank you! We’ll see you next tune! :-)

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ThePianoGuys Change Name to TheCelloGuys

After many discussions and much deliberation, we have decided to change our name to TheCelloGuys. Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Steven Sharp Nelson’s New Album – Grace

Grace

This CD is a collection of Steven’s best arrangements and originals from his albums produced by Stone Angel Music that have sold over 50,000 copies worldwide. It also features original music he arranged for #1 Billboard Pianist Paul Cardall.

Tracks include:

• The Traveler (from Ephraim’s Rescue)
• Come, Come Ye Saints (from 17 Miracles)
• Lead Kindly Light
• Come Thou Fount (featuring Paul Cardall)
• Homeward Bound (with Marshall McDonald)
• Tender Mercies
• O, Savior Thou Who Wearest a Crown
• God Be With You
• Thanks Be to Thee
• All Creatures of Our God and King
• Be Still My Soul

CLICK HERE TO BUY ALBUM

ThePianoGuys Interview for Music Express Magazine

Students talk One 2 One (actually One 2 Four!) with The Piano Guys. This artist spotlight interview correlates with the student article and lesson in the May/June 2014 issue of John Jacobson’s Music Express magazine.

ThePianoGuys on The Huckabee Show

ThePianoGuys played Angels We Have Heard On High on The Huckabee Show! Check it out!

WATCH VIDEO

Angels We Have Heard On High (LIVE) On The Today Show

The viral stars are at it again with their latest Christmas album “A Family Christmas,” and perform their latest viral rendition of the song “Angels we have heard on high.”

Visit

Home For Christmas in Boise, Idaho

ThePianoGuys will be performing at the Taco Bell Arena on Tuesday, December 17th! Click anywhere below for tickets!!

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Angels We Have Heard on High (Live) At The Winterfest Show

Rate Our Christmas Album On Amazon!

If you love our new Christmas album, tell us what you think by rating it on Amazon!

Rate It!

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ThePianoGuys – YouTube Music Awards Response of the Year

Wow! Our video Titanium/Pavane has been nominated for a YouTube Award! Voting is done by sharing this video http://smarturl.it/tpgaward (example shown below). Each share counts as a vote! You choose who wins, Thank you!!
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New Christmas Album Out Now!

Our first ever Christmas album is finally here! The album features new takes on Christmas classics such as “Let it Snow,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Silent Night,” as well as two original compositions from Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson.

Buy our new album from:

ThePianoGuys.com Amazon

iTunes

We also have 2 Christmas shows this year.

Tuesday, December 17th
Taco Bell Arena
Boise, Idaho

Buy Tickets

Saturday, December 21st
Energy Solutions Arena
Salt Lake City, UT

Buy Tickets

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Epic Piano Move



WATCH THE MAIN VIDEO

2 Million YouTube Subscribers!

2 million YouTube subscribers! WAHOOOO! We love you all!

Subscribe to our Main Channel and Behind the Scenes Channel

Studio 5 Catches Up with The Piano Guys

Utah's Piano Guys are taking the world by storm! Brooke Walker chats with the Piano Guys about their upcoming events.
Click HERE to see the interview.

Pre-Order Our New Christmas Album Now!

Hey Everyone! Our new Christmas album will be out in a few weeks! If you’d like to listen to a preview of it you can by clicking HERE

You can also Pre-Order it here:

ThePianoGuys.com

Amazon

iTunes

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