Zach Evans, a 28-year-old entrepreneur, capitalised on a lack of ingenuity within the music education industry. This is the same lack of ingenuity that the more general education industry is attempting to solve with massive open online courses or MOOCs.
MOOCs are designed with more contemporary methods of receiving an education in mind. Scalable, open education provides thousands of people with necessary skills and tools with limited teachers. Due to an increase in low-cost video recording equipment, MOOCs are one of the most cost-effective education platforms currently available. Students no longer need to attend expensive colleges and universities to listen to lectures and gain knowledge.
Because of these advantages, MOOCs are on the rise. Business Wire predicts that the global MOOC market will increase from $3.9 billion in 2018 to $20.8 billion in 2023. Some course content is evergreen (content that can be used for years without a need to rework it), opening up the potential for course instructors to idly make millions of dollars.
Evans recognised the potential upside of massive open online distance education, solidifying himself as the best in his niche as early as 2015. After studying under world-renowned pianist and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh music professor Dr Eli Kalman, Evans began recording YouTube videos to help other people learn to play the piano. His Become a Piano Superhuman YouTube channel is currently over 100,000 subscribers.
Evans also created Piano University, a more in-depth, MOOC-like offering for students that want to study piano in an academic setting. From learning the basic technique to advanced music theory, Piano University offers it all. He called his business model “a perfect fit” for piano lessons because “people are already used to paying for lessons.” He only needed to make better lessons at a cheaper price point, and the internet helped Evans do that. Currently, more than 200,000 students have enrolled.
Evans makes his lessons feel as personal as possible with certain delivery techniques, as well. He stresses, “There are some people where no matter what they say, you’re just going to listen. They just captivate you with how they talk. I do my best to emulate that. I have a very high-energy style. I get genuinely excited about [music], and I don’t hold it back. And I think that enthusiasm is contagious.”
As the MOOC market grows, so will the subscription and enrolment numbers for Evans’ undertaking. Most of his content is evergreen, generating a consistent stream of income. Evans’ effort when posting content is extraordinary, but after the content is completed, Evans only need to perform minor updates and collect checks. He explains, “Once I have a good video, and I can repurpose it to a ton of different platforms – podcast episodes, blog posts, social media, ads – so one great piece of content is worth its weight in gold.”
His company has earned over $1 million to date!