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Commitment to the Steinway brand was recognized with a new award named for Glenn Gough, the recently retired sales manager. The first recipient was Robert Rinaldi, senior v.p., Jacobs Music, Philadelphia, PA, flanked by Todd Sanders, v.p. sales and marketing, and Ron Losby, CEO, Steinway & Sons.

Steinway Dealers Meet In Washington D.C.,
Tour White House

An expanded lineup of Spirio reproducing pianos backed by a teacher outreach program, online prospect creation, and improved retail merchandising helped retailers meet aggressive sales targets.

NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICAN Steinway & Sons dealers traveled to Washington D.C. on March 7-8, for an annual dealer meeting that concluded with a private tour of the White House. “Nowhere is the rich history of Steinway more evident than at the White House where our pianos are not only used regularly but are intertwined with its history,” remarked Steinway & Sons CEO Ron Losby. The two-day dealer meeting was held across the street from the White House at the Willard Hotel, a historic site known not only for its proximity to the White House but for its popularity with political leaders worldwide.

“This is a great time to be in the piano business, and more specifically to be a Steinway dealer,” said Losby, who went on to detail the company’s strong sales performance. Sales in North and South America advanced 8%; Europe rose 12%, and China advanced 13%. This stellar performance, Losby explained, is the result of growing global demand for Steinway’s Spirio reproducing player system, coupled with several new marketing programs. Given that, according to Losby, “nearly all piano sales start with a teacher,” the company has stepped up efforts to cultivate relationships with piano teachers to generate more referrals. This outreach effort has been complemented by targeted web promotions designed to identify potential buyers. The success of these programs was reflected in improved results. Last year, Losby asked the family of Steinway dealers to commit to increasing sales by 10% or more in the coming year. Performance awards presented at this year’s meeting, indicated that the vast majority of dealers achieved their sales goal.

Top Dealer Sales Award: Ron Losby, CEO, Steinway & Sons; Jeffrey Lee, Renee Zhang, Graham Blank, Tom Lee Music, Vancouver, Canada.

In 2019, Steinway has expanded the Spirio product portfolio, offering new models with a recording feature. The original Spirio, introduced in late 2015, could be played by musicians, but it was also aimed at well-heeled listeners. Through the supplied iPad, Spirio owners had access to a constantly expanding library of piano performances from top players and current Steinway Artists.

The new Spirio model r extends the functionality of the original to include the ability to record live performances directly on the piano, as well as allowing for playback of prerecorded music from the content library. “Steinway’s culture of innovation has truly reached its pinnacle through Spirio r, which provides artists with the capabilities to perform, record, and perfect their performances in a groundbreaking new way,” said Losby.

A launch event earlier in the month was held in Shanghai with the famed pianist Lang Lang performing on the new Spirio r with full recording and editing capabilities. Another launch event was held in the U.S. at Steinway Hall in New York City with Jon Batiste (not pictured), the pianist from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Steinway has also announced plans to upgrade showroom designs and harness advanced technology to improve the retail sales presentation. Dealers have long acknowledged that tours of the historic Steinway factory in New York are one of the most effective ways to communicate the features and benefits of the Steinway piano. Unfortunately, few prospects can make the trip. To overcome these logistical hurdles, Steinway has created a virtual reality headset that delivers a complete factory tour, complete with stops in the lumberyard, rim bending room, veneer vault, and soundboard and belly operations. The tour is far more realistic than a typical video, giving viewers the sense that they are actually on the factory floor. They can turn their heads for a 180° view of every facet of the manufacturing process. Turnkey packages with multiple headsets will soon be available to dealers. “This is a game-changer and will allow us to introduce our prospects to the factory in a way that we were never able to do before,” explained Kevin Cranley, president of Willis Music in Florence, Kentucky.

A piano showroom unlike any other in the world has just been completed at the Steinway factory in Long Island City, NY. The invitation-only facility is named “The Vault” and will include a selection of six one-of-a-kind Steinway pianos as well as a state-of-the-art lounge to showcase the company’s Spirio piano.

Steinway has also developed a 60-page manual presenting optimal store designs and layouts. Offering detailed layouts and tips on building materials, design, and how to select a store size that is right for each market, the manual reflects the vast cumulative experience at Steinway’s worldwide network of corporate-owned stores. “What worked 20 years ago is not what the market is calling for today,” said Gavin English, vice president retail, Steinway & Sons. “In this book, you will find everything you need to set up a world-class Steinway showroom for your market.”

The meeting closed with a brief recital in the East Wing of the White House, performed on the White House Steinway piano. The piano, serial number 300,000, was donated by the Steinway family in 1939 as an expression of gratitude for the opportunities they enjoyed in the U.S. as German immigrants. The piano features gilded legs in the shape of an eagle, and murals on the rim depicting musical forms indigenous to America.

Top Institutional Sales Award: Paul Murphy, M. Steinert & Sons; Ron Losby, CEO, Steinway & Sons; Brendan Murphy, M. Steinert & Sons.

Top Dealer Sales Award: Ron Losby, CEO, Steinway & Sons; Keith Pendergraft, Hopper Piano & Organ.

Top Dealer Sales Award: Ron Losby, CEO, Steinway & Sons; Stephen Wirges, Steinway Piano Gallery, Little Rock, AR.

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