Given that digital music downloads put significant downward pressure on physical media sales, and that online streaming/subscriptions now appear to be doing the same to the per-album/track purchase model, it was really funny last year when buying this album (mostly to support the artists) to see the sticker attached to it:
Seems almost like a horse & buggy with a brass plate reading “from the makers of Tesla”. It’s doubly funny because just about anyone can put just about anything on YouTube. Then again, I really did first stumble upon the Piano Guys on YouTube, and I really did buy the physical media afterwards, so perhaps it’s not that crazy after all. Having said this, this album (and their second) are probably the last physical CDs I’m ever likely to buy; I subscribed to Google Play Music All Access when it was introduced in mid-2013, and with the breadth of the catalog it provides, I’ve not found it necessary to purchase anything since. If Nobuo Uematsu was still scoring the Final Fantasy series with tunes memorable enough for me to want to buy exorbitantly priced imported Japanese CDs, things might be different, but as it stands I don’t anticipate any CDs in my future.
Though the Piano Guys become fairly popular in their own right, the path to discovering them was actually fairly convoluted for me. Like most things, it started with Starcraft; back before there was a ton of high quality professional content, I watched free broadcasts from HuskyStarcraft (amongst others). Husky did a parody music video – “Banelings” – which I found pretty funny even though I’d never heard the Justin Bieber song it was a parody of, with another YouTube act, the very talented KurtHugoSchneider. I’d never heard the original version of the cover of “A Thousand Years” that he did, but the violin part to the that cover seemed pretty nice. I didn’t actually pay attention to who the violinist was, though, until seeing her again in the hilarious (if you’ve played the series) “Legend of Zelda: Pot Smasher” playing the role of Link, at which point I learned both that her name was Lindsey Stirling, and that a Zelda medley explained how I’d run across her in two very different contexts. From there, it took just one more collaboration – on the Mission Impossible theme – to find the Piano Guys. Their work was consistently awesome enough that I figured I should at least buy something from them – hence the hilarious sticker above.
The physical albums, incidentally, turned out to be great purchases despite Play All Access. Our kids wound up loving their music too – Leo immediately converted a children’s guitar into a cello – so the CDs have been played probably a hundred times in the car on road trips.