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Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
#2887921 09/07/19 03:15 PM
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https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/tragic-decline-music-literacy-and-quality

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In 1909, piano sales were at their peak when more than 364,500 were sold, but sales have plunged to between 30,000 and 40,000 annually in the US.

Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2887930 09/07/19 03:24 PM
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I wonder if the 30,000-40,000 figure is only for acoustic pianos or if it includes digitals and hybrids? If the latter the figure might be double the one in the article.

There may be a lot more used pianos around than in the early 1900s so a better statistic might be how many households have a piano or what % of households have a piano or what % of kids take lessons?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 09/07/19 03:27 PM.
Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2887936 09/07/19 03:52 PM
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Population of the US in 1900 was one-third of the current population, too. Of course, no radio, no TV, no internet, no smart phones. People read books and played musical instruments.


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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2887951 09/07/19 04:45 PM
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I'm surprised that they're only down by 90%. 30-40,000 sounds quite good.

I wonder how that number compares with the number sent to the dump every year.

Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2887953 09/07/19 04:50 PM
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Quote
There may be a lot more used pianos around than in the early 1900s so a better statistic might be how many households have a piano or what % of households have a piano or what % of kids take lessons?


I was thinking something along these lines as well. How many households have an acoustic piano, how many have a digital piano, how many have a guitar, or other instrument ... it would be interesting to see those kinds of statistics.


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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2887968 09/07/19 05:48 PM
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I definitely don't think this article is telling the whole story.
895,000 portable keyboards were sold in the US in 2018.
150,000 digital pianos sold in 2014.
Sales of piano books are up.
There are more resources than ever for people to learn piano today than there ever has been. Including forums like this. I think the writer of this article just doesn't like current, popular music and is cherry-picking the statistic of "new acoustic piano sales" to make his point. There's a lot more to the market than that. Here's a great article about how digitals and hybrids are affecting the piano market: https://www.economist.com/prospero/2017/11/15/hybrid-models-are-changing-the-piano-market-too
Quote
The current piano-manufacturing innovation shows that even though the piano is no longer a standard part of middle-class homes’ interior decoration, interest in piano-playing is far from over. On the contrary: with musicians able to collaborate without being in the same place, it may flourish in unexpected ways.


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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2887978 09/07/19 06:23 PM
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100 years ago guitar was considered a peasant instrument, and piano was a must for high society and upper middle class. Now, 99% of teens want to play electric guitar or drums,and 2017 USA sales of electric and acoustic guitars were around 4 million units.
Add to this that families living in small house or apartments have not much space for a real piano, not mentioning close to zero acoustic insulation in modern houses.
Even if I ever want to buy a real acoustic piano, it would be only in addition to electric one.

Last edited by VladK; 09/07/19 06:28 PM.

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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2887987 09/07/19 07:47 PM
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They are still doing better than that other keyboard instrument, the typewriter!


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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
BDB #2887992 09/07/19 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
They are still doing better than that other keyboard instrument, the typewriter!

Don't be sad BDB. You can still get one of those on eBay if you miss them

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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
Tyrone Slothrop #2888000 09/07/19 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by BDB
They are still doing better than that other keyboard instrument, the typewriter!

Don't be sad BDB. You can still get one of those on eBay if you miss them

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Does it have grand action?


Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. (falsely attributed to Plato)
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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
astrotoy #2888002 09/07/19 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by astrotoy
Population of the US in 1900 was one-third of the current population, too. Of course, no radio, no TV, no internet, no smart phones. People read books and played musical instruments.



Nowadays, thanks to "progress" we spend so much time sitting in traffic we mostly hear music in the car.


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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
VladK #2888006 09/07/19 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by VladK
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by BDB
They are still doing better than that other keyboard instrument, the typewriter!
Don't be sad BDB. You can still get one of those on eBay if you miss them
Does it have grand action?

It has a "don't type too fast or it will jam" action...


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
malkin #2888007 09/07/19 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by astrotoy
Population of the US in 1900 was one-third of the current population, too. Of course, no radio, no TV, no internet, no smart phones. People read books and played musical instruments.



Nowadays, thanks to "progress" we spend so much time sitting in traffic we mostly hear music in the car.


I got rid of my car twenty years ago when I moved to New York City and I have not missed it for one day. But, yes, I did listen to a lot of classical music while stuck in traffic.

Now, we have high speed networks and video conferencing tools. I don’t know why so many people commute to an office by car. I know a company where 80-90% of the employees work remotely and the company is doing well.

Last edited by LarryK; 09/07/19 08:42 PM.
Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
LarryK #2888012 09/07/19 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
[quote=malkin][quote=astrotoy]Now, we have high speed networks and video conferencing tools. I don’t know why so many people commute to an office by car. I know a company where 80-90% of the employees work remotely and the company is doing well.

In my experience, this works better with more senior employees. I've a company with a number of junior employees, and ever once in a while, you can come across someone, usually junior, who really can't manage the responsibility of working from home.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
Tyrone Slothrop #2888014 09/07/19 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by LarryK
[quote=malkin][quote=astrotoy]Now, we have high speed networks and video conferencing tools. I don’t know why so many people commute to an office by car. I know a company where 80-90% of the employees work remotely and the company is doing well.

In my experience, this works better with more senior employees. I've a company with a number of junior employees, and ever once in a while, you can come across someone, usually junior, who really can't manage the responsibility of working from home.


Yes, I suppose that might be true but the company I’m thinking of has remote employees at all levels. Some people are unable to structure their days so as to be productive when they work from home. Some people literally disappear and are unreachable. The solution is simple, fire those people.

I work much better at home than in an office because there are no interruptions at home and I gain two hours of time by not commuting. That comes out to an extra work day per week. At the moment, I’m only looking at remote positions and I think remote work is the future.

Last edited by LarryK; 09/07/19 09:07 PM.
Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
LarryK #2888015 09/07/19 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by LarryK
[quote=malkin][quote=astrotoy]Now, we have high speed networks and video conferencing tools. I don’t know why so many people commute to an office by car. I know a company where 80-90% of the employees work remotely and the company is doing well.

In my experience, this works better with more senior employees. I've a company with a number of junior employees, and ever once in a while, you can come across someone, usually junior, who really can't manage the responsibility of working from home.


Yes, I suppose that might be true but the company I’m thinking of has remote employees at all levels. Some people are unable to structure their days so as to be productive when they work from home. Some people literally disappear and are unreachable. The solution is simple, fire those people.

I work much better at home than in an office because there are no interruptions at home and I gain two hours of time by not commuting. That comes out to an extra work day per week. At the moment, I’m only looking at remote positions and I think remote work is the future.

In services businesses with clients, especially Govt clients, sometimes it's difficult to take chances on employees. When employees "disappear," usually the sh1t hits the fan...


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across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
Tyrone Slothrop #2888023 09/07/19 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by LarryK
[quote=malkin][quote=astrotoy]Now, we have high speed networks and video conferencing tools. I don’t know why so many people commute to an office by car. I know a company where 80-90% of the employees work remotely and the company is doing well.

In my experience, this works better with more senior employees. I've a company with a number of junior employees, and ever once in a while, you can come across someone, usually junior, who really can't manage the responsibility of working from home.


Yes, I suppose that might be true but the company I’m thinking of has remote employees at all levels. Some people are unable to structure their days so as to be productive when they work from home. Some people literally disappear and are unreachable. The solution is simple, fire those people.

I work much better at home than in an office because there are no interruptions at home and I gain two hours of time by not commuting. That comes out to an extra work day per week. At the moment, I’m only looking at remote positions and I think remote work is the future.

In services businesses with clients, especially Govt clients, sometimes it's difficult to take chances on employees. When employees "disappear," usually the sh1t hits the fan...


Fire the “disappeared”, they’re not contributing anyway. It’s easy to see if programmers are working. Did they push to git or can they show some artifact that shows their work?

The funny thing is, with the right people, a culture of giving freedom and not enforcing rules produces employees who go the extra mile when needed. As a remote worker, I’m willing to work weekends when needed because I have more freedom.

Last edited by LarryK; 09/07/19 09:48 PM.
Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
LarryK #2888085 09/08/19 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
In services businesses with clients, especially Govt clients, sometimes it's difficult to take chances on employees. When employees "disappear," usually the sh1t hits the fan...
Fire the “disappeared”, they’re not contributing anyway. It’s easy to see if programmers are working. Did they push to git or can they show some artifact that shows their work?

The funny thing is, with the right people, a culture of giving freedom and not enforcing rules produces employees who go the extra mile when needed. As a remote worker, I’m willing to work weekends when needed because I have more freedom.

In a services business, it is sometimes hard to tell when someone has disappeared unless your customer tells you, and by then, sometimes it is already a 3-alarm fire.

We really don't want to use heavy-duty monitoring software for off-site staff, such as online time trackers and the like. The cure may be worse than the disease. But without it, you rely on your employee's reliability. Not everyone is reliable. I definitely encountered one employee who I suspect was drinking on the job when at home. Not everyone can be counted on, and those who can't spoil things for the rest.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2888086 09/08/19 05:27 AM
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A mistake in this article: "Over the last 20 years, musical foundations like reading and composing music are disappearing with the percentage of people that can read music notation proficiently down to 11 percent, according to some surveys."

[Linked Image]

As you can see the percentage of people that can read music notation proficiently is not 11% but 17%. You need to add those who can read music to a professional standard. This sloppyness makes me doubt the author's other numbers.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Re: Wow, piano sales are down 90% over the last century
swampwiz #2888087 09/08/19 05:34 AM
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Look at this!

number of digital pianos sold in US

There were 166 000 digital pianos sold in 2018. Including the 30,000 and 40,000 acoustical pianos annually, the decline is less than 50%. Still a lot, considering a growing population, but nowhere near 90%.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
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