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Here’s an article I happened upon while searching for something else and found it very interesting, albeit not surprising or unknown. It is an article from 2015 (quite dated now I guess) that talks about the decline of the piano industry in Toronto and Canada.

https://business.financialpost.com/...stic-piano-sales-are-declining-in-canada


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The decline is big. Really big.

But these articles time and again fail to mention that the decline began about a century ago.

First: the phonograph was a substitute means for music in the home. Then the radio. Then television.
By mid-century most of the piano manufacturers had closed down.
There were many hundreds in the US, and many, many more globally. But no more.

The further decline in the past twenty years might have been started by the rise of digital pianos.
Given that a cheap console acoustic costs $4000, and a decent one $8000 to $12000 ... the digital is an obvious affordable solution.

But even so, overall piano ownership (digital and acoustic combined) is down.

Many people would rather shove their face into a phone. If may well be that phone-face will put an end to the piano.

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Interesting stats.

This statement is completely worthless, "According to Euromonitor International, electric instruments make up over 40% of Canadian instrument sales, while acoustic pianos and organs account for less than 7%."

This data, however, is insightful, ""In the ‘80s there were at least 40 or 50 piano businesses in the Greater Toronto Area,” he said. Today, Mr. Lowrey, the owner of Robert Lowrey Piano Experts, could think of only eight major retailers and a handful of smaller restoration shops left. In its heyday, Mr. Lowrey’s store was selling 1,200 pianos annually. This year he expects sales numbers to come in just under 700."

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Learning to play piano is hard work.

I think that is less attractive to each generation of "folks".

There are so many more options available for amusement with quicker gratification.


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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Here’s an article I happened upon while searching for something else and found it very interesting, albeit not surprising or unknown. It is an article from 2015 (quite dated now I guess) that talks about the decline of the piano industry in Toronto and Canada.

https://business.financialpost.com/...stic-piano-sales-are-declining-in-canada

For those interested in the decline of pianos in North America, take a look at this thread and especially the numbers that I calculate here:
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
I also found the chart very interesting. From a high of 364,565 pianos sold in 1909 to the low numbers during the Great Depression.

As far as I can tell though (checking the legend at the bottom left of the chart), this only includes "U.S." piano companies. But what is a U.S. piano company? One with an office in the U.S.? Or does manufacturing happen in the U.S.? So should I assume this doesn't include, for example, Bösendorfer sales?

Calculating per-capita figures, in 1909, the population of the USA was 90,490,000, while in 2007, it was 301,200,000. With 62,536 sold in 2007, the per-capita annual sales figures are:
  • 0.00403 pianos per person per year in 1909
  • 0.000207 pianos per person per year in 2007

If you are an American in 1909, you were 20x more likely to buy a piano (or something with a keyboard) than in 2007.


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Some beautiful acoustic uprights ( not studio or spinet or console) maintained, certified, delivered
Can be found quite frequently here in flagler, Volusia , Florida area for under $1500.
In my city, a retirement area, people are really hungry to get rid of pianos and you can really find great pianos but does take time looking.

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Tyrone Slothrop posted

"Calculating per-capita figures, in 1909, the population of the USA was 90,490,000, while in 2007, it was 301,200,000. With 62,536 sold in 2007, the per-capita annual sales figures are:
0.00403 pianos per person per year in 1909
0.000207 pianos per person per year in 2007

If you are an American in 1909, you were 20x more likely to buy a piano (or something with a keyboard) than in 2007."

Extrapolating to today, you would get surprising financial implications for those who bought pianos in, say, 1909 in terms of income/piano cost. I imagine it would be a huge burden, but . . they just had to have one. Is music THAT important? Must've been then.

Last edited by peterws; 04/14/19 01:08 PM.

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Originally Posted by peterws
Extrapolating to today, you would get surprising financial implications for those who bought pianos in, say, 1909 in terms of income/piano cost. I imagine it would be a huge burden, but . . they just had to have one. Is music THAT important? Must've been then.

Maybe it was either that or go without evening home-entertainment altogether in 1909? The first real radio stations started only 11 years later in 1920. So perhaps it came down to either a piano or a gramophone, such as this one from 2 years before, in 1907.

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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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Below is quite dramatic discussion on a similar subject happened 10 years ago:

Will symphonic orchestras survive?

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Originally Posted by Andrew_G
Below is quite dramatic discussion on a similar subject happened 10 years ago:

Will symphonic orchestras survive?

My favorite art form, opera, is also dying a slow lingering death, at least in the USA.


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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
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Overall market for pianos may be down but as per the article it would seem to me that for plenty of use cases a digital piano with a good action is fine (or great), and personally I would pick digital over upright acoustic any day for a variety of reasons.

Cheaper to buy, always in tune, lower cost of ownership
Headphone connectivity
Tablet / app connectivity
more compact models available, even the furniture style ones are typically more compact but still look nice.
In this day and age action is very good, even on midrange and even budget models (tripple sensor etc.)

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Andrew_G
Below is quite dramatic discussion on a similar subject happened 10 years ago:

Will symphonic orchestras survive?

My favorite art form, opera, is also dying a slow lingering death, at least in the USA.


Not my cup of tea, but you're are right.


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Andrew, I grew up playing violin, played in the school orchestra and youth symphony in high school. I quit at the age 18, stupid me. However, I was raised with the arts. This makes a difference in what children learn from their parents. As far as DP, I prefer an acoustic and have one. I also have a Clavinova, which I can control the volume and put on headphones. Parents that cannot afford an acoustic can typically get a DP for a few hundred. I think DP serve a purpose and may encourage some kids to play due to all the sounds. My interest is to play well, I am not interested in sounds other than the piano. there is nothing like the sounds of a skilled pianist playing the piano.


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DMD, quick gratification are activities that don't typically require skill. Such things as golf, tennis, bowling, gymnastics, swimming, skating, those that are good it takes years of practice. Anything someone does good, typically requires a time commitment.


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People are spending money on things that weren't invented back then; i.e. tv's, stereos, computers, travel etc... Then of course the segment of us that likes digitals better or needs to get them due to space available etc....


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When the heyday had passed there were still plenty of pianos around and these, unless they had a desirable name, could be had very cheaply. In fact many years ago there were lots of them and even a junk-shop clanker had a lot of useable and enjoyable life left in it. Families with children did not have to be rich to buy a piano, there was a good supply. Our first piano was one of those - straight strung and over-damped - it wasn't the sort of instrument that would be appreciated by the aspiring pianist nowadays, but it could still belt out songs and the occasional classical music (I suspect its ability at repetition would shock most of the sensitive PW faithful), and, what's more, hold tune for a reasonable period of time. The decline of the whole industry means that this sort of bargain has pretty-much disappeared and the introduction of central-heating with it's tendency to dry things out probably ruined many of these old-timers which were designed for the damp, coal-fire heated drawing-rooms.
A different world from when I was young (get your violins out now for a burst of Hearts and Flowers wink )
Now I need another piano - while I await the result of the long drawn-out stupidity of the Brexit saga to see if I have to move on from France I daren't spend too much, the junk-shop clanker is no longer, and guess what - I'm seriously considering a DP frown But I'll miss the odd noises, the sound of all the strings vibrating (when they probably shouldn't; 'Led' often means 'lead' to me for pedalling), the slow detuning into Scott Joplin territory - sigh.

Last edited by petebfrance; 04/14/19 03:10 PM.

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I want to see stats on how the invention of the piano ruined the harpsichord business!!! wink


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