Sheet Music Boss – New Video Every Day!
Welcome to Sheet Music Boss! We put out a video every day on our YouTube channel along with sheet music, published mainly on MusicNotes for licenced arrangements and Gumroad for our originals.
Sheet Music Boss is operated by Samuel Dickenson and Andrew Wrangell, two friends from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, who met in 2010 studying music composition at Queensland Conservatorium.
Our software (ad links):
EWQL Pianos VST http://www.soundsonline.com/pianos
You can use our audio in your videos as long as you link the original video and our channel: https://www.youtube.com/sheetmusicboss
For commercial projects, please contact us. Thanks 🙂
THE STORY OF SHEET MUSIC BOSS
Back at the very beginning of 2017, Andrew and Samuel were discussing some of the success they’d seen from piano visualiser channels on YouTube.
A long-time piano player, arranger and composer, Andrew had recently seen the pre-licenced arrangement program from Sheet Music Plus as a Facebook ad and he’d published a couple of arrangements there for fun. He posted a couple of these on his personal YouTube channel, which he’d been working on weekly piano videos for. Samuel mused about how to create a workflow that could create a massive library of sheet music over time. Given their specialties of music arranging and engraving (Samuel’s honours thesis specialty) coupled with the evident success of piano visualiser channels on YouTube, the two decided: Why not make a channel like that for fun and see how it might go?
Samuel and Andrew threw around names for a while. Samuel had proposed a smooth, single word title in the vein of “Steam”, “Uber”, “Gumtree”, etc, while Andrew insisted the name somehow describe the project. He wanted “Sheet Music” in the name. So Andrew suggested a bunch of words following “Sheet Music” to Samuel. Every suggestion was met with “no”, “no”, “no”, “no”, until Andrew suggested “Sheet Music BOSS”. An immediate “YES!” and so the name was born! Over one or two more meetings, Samuel and Andrew set up the accounts and began arranging, eventually settling into a two-man factory workflow.
Interestingly, they’d even discussed a music publishing company back in 2012, but that had never eventuated. The research phase of setting up a publishing company threw too many overwhelming questions and eventually the idea was abandoned. Yet now they’d happened to make something similar anyway! Not quite a music publishing company as such, but something fun and exciting to work on.
The first video was published on 10 February 2017: We Are The Champions (Easy version). Andrew suggested daily videos “because Pewdiepie uploads every day”, but he had absolutely no idea how much work it was going to be (it was going to be a LOT of work).
For the first three months, Samuel and Andrew worked hard on putting out a video every day without seeing much of a result. The two just created… Created… Created… They didn’t really know anything about advertising so they didn’t promote the channel anywhere, just shrugged and made content, hoping someone would find it. Samuel thought it would be beyond amazing if they reached 1,000 subscribers at the end of the year.
Eventually, thanks to the YouTube algorithm, perhaps some searches, but hopefully due to good quality piano visualiser content, the channel began to pick up viewers and subscribers. Interestingly the first big period of growth happened while Andrew was overseas for a few weeks in July. In order to keep up daily videos on Sheet Music Boss plus weekly videos on his main channel, Andrew had worked from dawn to dusk seemingly every day for about three months so that the content could keep coming out without stopping. The content needed to be there, the channel slogan wasn’t “New video every day!” for nothing! Andrew was pretty exhausted by the end of that, and when he got home, he decided he didn’t want to work for three months without a day off again if he could help it.
Interestingly, the publisher MusicNotes reached out to Sheet Music Boss during that same overseas trip for Andrew, offering to be able to licence any piece of music. Previously, Sheet Music Boss had been limited to only the arrangements pre-licenced by Sheet Music Plus, so what Musicnotes offered allowed for amazing freedom. Samuel and Andrew watched the comments on their videos closely, taking note of which song requests were highly voted, and they focused their efforts on producing what the audience was asking for. It turned out to be a great formula for growing the channel.
MAKE IT RUSSIAN
Following a highly-requested piano arrangement of Boney M – Rasputin, the Sheet Music Boss audience began requesting all kinds of Russian tracks, like Kalinka, Katyusha and Korobeiniki (also known as the Tetris Theme). Of course the team obliged, creating these Russian songs. They turned out to be very successful and grew the channel in a great way! They’d started MAKING IT RUSSIAN, which turned into a meme on the channel.
By December 2017, Sheet Music Boss had reached heights Samuel and Andrew had never anticipated in their wildest dreams. 100,000 subscribers!? Impossible! Somehow they’d managed that in a year. And Samuel had thought 1,000 subscribers after a year would be fantastic. On the 1st of January 2018, Samuel suggested a funny video using the B emoji falling on the B key of the keyboard. Sounded funny. Samuel had seen Pewdiepie extend the video out to 10 minutes to enable more ads, it was a bit of a meme, and Samuel used it in the B video as a joke. However YouTube were not laughing. They took down the video and gave Sheet Music Boss a community strike for “misleading title/thumbnail”. Andrew had been about to show a visiting friend the B video when he was greeted with the big, unskippable COMMUNITY STRIKE notification when he went to visit YouTube. It’s hard to describe the feeling of the threat of having your channel, your work, your life, terminated at the prospect of another two community strikes.
But Sheet Music Boss continued, trying to just make light of the ridiculousness of the situation with a video of the two reading through people’s comments on “B”. One was the inevitable “Can you make this Russian” that had come up as a meme on the channel. Of course they would make it Russian.
Samuel suggested the name “Rush B”, like the Counter-Strike meme. He suggested just another joke video with just the note B repeating, but Andrew decided to make an original piece, a “black midi” composition (absolutely impossible for a human to play). It turned out to be a massive hit and at the time of writing, it’s the most-viewed video on Sheet Music Boss with 9.6 million views. Following comments like “Can you make Rush A now too?”, it also spawned a series of “RUSH” videos.
During a meeting in February 2019, Samuel and Andrew checked their YouTube creator studio dashboard and noticed all the monetisation icons were gone. It turned out the channel had been completely demonetised, meaning no further ad revenue would be earned on the channel at all. The reason given was “repetitious content”. In somehow-typical Silicon Valley fashion, no specific evidence was given to explain the real reason this decision had been made, only a vague “content that appears to be mass-produced in order to increase views is not allowed to be in the YouTube partner program” reason was given.
Andrew and Samuel suspected it was something to do with YouTube’s crackdown on political manipulation through auto-generated, voice-to-text videos. An algorithm had been trained to notice repetitive elements in videos, and guess what a black-background piano visualiser looks like to an algorithm… It seemed Sheet Music Boss had been caught in the crossfire. Reaching out to YouTube didn’t really have much of an impact, as the two were met with largely unhelpful responses that just restated the information they’d already been given.
The guys knew that they only way they’d be taken care of in any timely fashion would be to make a video explaining their situation, and project their situation on every available social media channel. They spent the next few hours filming and editing this video and ended up going to dinner with Samuel’s girlfriend and two other friends far later than originally planned (for just after their meeting). As ad revenue was about 70% of Samuel and Andrew’s income, this was an enormous blow, especially given the “you can reapply for the YouTube partnership program after 30 days”. 30 days before even being considered to gain a job back… It was incredibly stressful.
Thankfully, a legendary Reddit user posted the video “Sheet Music Boss has been demonetized” to /r/videos on Reddit, where it reached the front page and top 20 all time for that subreddit. Andrew even heard from a fellow creator visiting Vidcon that “everyone had heard about the demonetised piano channel” and was talking about it. Amazingly, due to this social media outcry and help on Twitter from users like TheFatRat, Dolan Dark, Rousseau, TwoSetViolin, NPT Music, Boogie2988, Musicnotes, and Grandayy, YouTube thankfully restored monetisation to Sheet Music Boss 16 hours after the channel was demonetised. What a relief! Samuel and Andrew resolved to see what they could do to help other YouTubers who were similarly demonetised.
ONWARD AND UPWARD
Sheet Music Boss amazingly achieved the seemingly unattainable goal of 1 million subscribers in early May 2019. Andrew even called his mum to get her to watch the Socialblade live count. Though Samuel and Andrew had enlisted the help of five collaborators (Rafal Bienias, MusiMasta, EpreTroll, Sir Spork, and LyricWulf) to make their super-fantasmo 1 million subscriber special, it still took a couple more months to be ready. However it was a very proud release!
At the time of writing, Sheet Music Boss has 1.1 million subscribers, still releasing a video every day and publishing sheet music! Samuel and Andrew couldn’t be happier working on this channel and love seeing people’s comments on their videos. It’s particularly special when someone says they were inspired by Sheet Music Boss videos to learn the piano. Kudos!
So that’s the story of Sheet Music Boss so far! Samuel and Andrew wonder how everything will look after 10 years of working on this. Here’s to that!
-Andrew and Samuel, August 2019
About Andrew Wrangell
Andrew Wrangell is a composer and arranger from Brisbane, Australia. He began adapting music for piano as soon as he began learning at the age of 5, playing his favourite TV show themes on piano. His personal YouTube channel is Andrew Wrangell Music. Andrew has his AMusA on piano and BMus (Hns).
About Samuel Dickenson
Samuel Dickenson is a composer and engraver from Brisbane, Australia. He regularly edits music for professional composers and ensembles. Samuel teaches music theory and aural studies at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and at the University of Queensland.