Buying a grand piano poses a number of challenges:

  1. It is expensive.
  2. It is large and heavy and therefore difficult to deliver and install in the first place.
  3. This becomes a real barrier if you live in a rented flat and move around every other year.
  4. Actually, in rented accommodation you may not be allowed to play the piano at all.
  5. A grand piano is over two meters long (the concert grand is up to three) – it requires a lot of space
  6. A piano doesn’t sound right in a room with poor acoustics.
  7. A grand piano is a high maintenance instrument – not only does it need to be regularly tuned by a specialist, it needs to be kept in a room at a certain temperature and level of humidity.


What could we do to alleviate some of these challenges?

What if instead of selling the instrument, we were to sell the right to use it?

  • An instrument manufacturer, say – Steinway, could set up a number of piano studios.
  • Each studio would have a number of rooms with good acoustic conditions (draped in the right materials etc.)
  • Each room would contain a grand piano, tuned on a daily basis.
  • Each studio would have a specialist, managing access to the instruments, offering technical advice and generally maintaining order.
  • Customers, who wouldn’t want to or couldn’t afford to buy a Steinway grand piano, would purchase a subscription instead.
  • Through a digital key, the subscription would grant customers access to an instrument, any time day and night for as long as required.
  • An instrument would always be available – not necessarily the same one, but of equal quality and condition.
  • For those willing to learn or teach the piano, the studios would become a practical and reasonably located place of practice.
  • For professional musicians – they would provide practically unrestricted access to top-notch instruments in an environment that would offer good acoustics and provide no distractions.
  • The studios could offer a number of additional services, e.g.:
    • Capability to professionally record music in any room through a simple interface a layman could use;
    • Capability to play the music back and analyse it;
    • Capability to share music via Internet services (thus promoting the service).


2 thoughts

  1. Not for grand pianos. But a similar service is provided by Yamaha Singapore for upright pianos and electric organs. Kinda hard to book though. Yamaha also limits the slot, probably because they strongly prefer that you buy your own instrument.

  2. I guess, the key here would be to set the service up as part of the business model and not a test drive for potential buyers. To offer pianos in studios of good size and acoustics, available at right locations. One may struggle to pay £10,000 for an instrument and wouldn’t / couldn’t accommodate it at home anyway – but paying £100 a month for access to a good instrument? A very different story.

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