The start of a player piano renaissance?

The digital revolution has upset a lot of industries, but perhaps none more so than the music industry. With file sharing and streaming via subscription services the norm, the sight of vast collections of CDs stacked up around a home entertainment system is already becoming a rarity in living rooms.

As a heritage brand with a 160-year track record of hand-crafting high-end pianos, Steinway & Sons is not the obvious candidate to be moving into this space. But times they are a-changing, according to CEO Michael Sweeney, and the company has recently created its first significant product innovation in 70 years.

“In today’s marketplace brands like ours must continue to innovate in order to remain relevant to the world around us, but that doesn’t mean that quality and craftsmanship can suffer.”

The result is the Spirio, a modern re-interpretation of the player piano whose software is built into select grand pianos made in the company’s factories in New York and Hamburg. The idea was to utilise the brand’s connections with top concert pianists – 90 per cent of concert pianists play Steinways – to record its own digital catalogue of music that’s then programmed into its pianos.