The Strategies of Piano Manufacturers: Crafts, Industry and Marketing


This article focuses on a study of product architecture and marketing strategies of piano manufacturers; Steinway & Sons and Yamaha. Main consumers of Steinway piano are world class artists and concert halls. 99% of concert pianists and main concerts hall use Steinway pianos. On contrast Yamaha targeted the mid-priced segment rather than the high-end one. Gaining such customers, however, required a certain quality level of musical instruments even under mass-production. The case study shows how the company has promoted introducing the state-of-the-art technology and the automation to avoid manual variability, and outsourcing module components while ensuring the integration which is the key for manufacturing instruments. I demonstrate that the company enables to mass-produce instruments by committing to in-house manufacturing for finished products with the integration as well as its supporting mechanization. On the other hand, although Yamaha has stood on a par with a leading company in the category of the woodwind and the brass which could be easily standardized, it does not still get reputation from high-end segment of piano and violin which are made of wood under the ultimate integration. Instruments demand connoisseurs to judge good wood for processing as well as unquantifiable sound and resonance, thus the competition of manufacturing instruments has been in the Invisible Dimension. This characteristic makes customers keep traditional brand belief, resulting in a long time to evaluate a new comer.

Author Information
Yuko Oki, Toyo University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: IICAHHawaii2017
Stream: Arts - Arts Policy, Management and Advocacy

This paper is part of the IICAHHawaii2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon