|City||St. George, UT, United States|
|Country||United States of America|
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. They gained popularity through 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. Their first five major-label albums, The Piano Guys, The Piano Guys 2, A Family Christmas, Wonders, and Uncharted each reached number one on the Billboard Classical Albums and New Age Albums charts.
The group originated as a social media strategy for Anderson's piano store, The Piano Guys, in St. George, Utah. Anderson was acquainted with Schmidt, a locally notable pianist who often came in to practice on the pianos when he was in town. 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 and 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 neighbor, van der Beek, a songwriter and music arranger, onto the team.
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. 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 The Piano Guys 2 in 2013 and Wonders in 2014.
The Piano Guys draw on classical, contemporary, and rock and roll in their compositions for piano and cello. Much of their popularity among younger fans is based on their "mashups" of classical and contemporary songs, such as blending Bach and Bruno Mars, or Vivaldi's "Winter" and Disney's "Let It Go". Wikipedia