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Who is pulling the strings in pop music?


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Someone said in the thread on Keyboard magazine "So it's no real news that you cannot fill a keyboard magazine with younger guys. Today's popular music relegated the keyboardist to a faceless role that's the easiest to replace with backing tracks."

 

This thoughtful observation inspires this: WHO is in charge of this shuffling of pianist/keyboardists careers to the back of the bus?

I am clueless about such a large question, but I imagine we will be told "it's all about supply and demand.. the younger audiences want this music so we supply it."

But not to go into conspiracy territory, but I feel very manipulated by all of this.

Maybe I am late to the party, but I am really feeling taken advantage of by large, lawyered up to the max, faceless, unidentified people, who dictate so so much of our outer lives; from keyboard parts that are without a lot of soul and personality to every mall in USA looking amazingly like one another.

 

So, WHO is dictating the music of today, the folks or someone else?

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Someone said in the thread on Keyboard magazine "So it's no real news that you cannot fill a keyboard magazine with younger guys. Today's popular music relegated the keyboardist to a faceless role that's the easiest to replace with backing tracks."

 

This thoughtful observation inspires this: WHO is in charge of this shuffling of pianist/keyboardists careers to the back of the bus?

I am clueless about such a large question, but I imagine we will be told "it's all about supply and demand.. the younger audiences want this music so we supply it."

But not to go into conspiracy territory, but I feel very manipulated by all of this.

Maybe I am late to the party, but I am really feeling taken advantage of by large, lawyered up to the max, faceless, unidentified people, who dictate so so much of our outer lives; from keyboard parts that are without a lot of soul and personality to every mall in USA looking amazingly like one another.

 

So, WHO is dictating the music of today, the folks or someone else?

 

Ask this question to the cats who played keys for acts in the 70s/80s like Clapton, INXS, Motely Crue, Aerosmith, Dire Straits, Stones, etc. Keyboards were often distinctly *not* in the spotlight, even if they were sometimes a big part of a song.

 

As for "who" is dictating the relative importance of keyboards... clearly it is the Lizard People.

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx8GJHz30e4

 

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....

 

So, WHO is dictating the music of today, the folks or someone else?

 

Actually it is mostly keyboard players. They make the best producers.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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But not to go into conspiracy territory, but I feel very manipulated by all of this.

 

Why? Aren't you a 60-something-year-old jazz pianist? What possible difference would anything happening in pop music make to your life? :confused:

 

Were you also non-plussed in the mid-to-late 90's when grunge hit the scene, and keyboardists in the rock/pop world were all relegated to scrounging for work in the jingle scene?

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But not to go into conspiracy territory, but I feel very manipulated by all of this.

 

Why? Aren't you a 60-something-year-old jazz pianist? What possible difference would anything happening in pop music make to your life? :confused:

 

Exactly. Who cares T ! Work on your music , your chops , do your gigs and put that whole scene out of your mind. It has always had, and always will have - ZERO to do with real music man.

 

Go take a 2-4 bar section of Bird or Bud Powell solo through all 12 keys , come back in 45 minutes and you'll feel much better about the state of the world. Guaranteed. :)

 

Personally the only thing I worry these days about is whether I should have went with the Moots Rogue Ybb 650B Mtn. bike over the Potts 29er. The Ybb gives that extra cush in the rear that a 60 something needs on these hard, dry, super rutted SoCal trails that have been affected from the extreme drought. Basically I really need 'em both. :cool::thu:

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Dave and SeVen

Your points are true enough. Thank you for the Bud Powell suggestion. Frankly though as much as jazz and blues are a part of me... I maybe in error but I am thinking about keeping the wolves from the door; and thinking about more commercial people pleasing.

At what point is it unwise to be concerned about anything outside your immediate pond.... I am not sure... but just to sit back and have our fannies ( idiomatic for being dominated ) taken over, I don't know. Many of us are supposedly civic minded we are concerned about the environment and the topics du jour. Kindly tell me how the STATE of MUSIC is not maybe some of our business? (I am not just a jazz pianist- edit, I am barely a jazz pianist.)

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Sven...re Tee A (just a) jazz pianist: I am one of the most versatile musicians I know. Versatility has its drawbacks... as I admire people who persevere in one style.. sometimes to amazing effect.

Though I lost out on cutting edge Coltrane tenor as a kid, I learned about Jamerson and Jaco, and Gene Harris and Grover, and Gadd, SRV, Moody and Sting and so on. My music world is broad and that s good.

I have played bass in 2 Latin bands

I have subbed with the Lester Lanin band where knowledge of 1000's of songs is a prerequisite.

Studio work on bass

Organ with a new forgotten pop group

I am now an unusual combination of all this experience!

 

I would very humbly suggest that, despite these credentials, and the fact that you are a bad dude (I've heard you play as have others on this forum and we all know you're a great player) this doesn't make you that versatile in today's world.

 

A versatile keyboard player today needs to know Jazz, Blues, Latin styles, and be fluent in all pop keyboard styles from McCartney to Coldplay to Sara Barielles to Rami Jaffee and beyond, know how to sound design on Romplers and know a thing or two about production and sound design in a DAW.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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....

 

So, WHO is dictating the music of today, the folks or someone else?

 

Actually it is mostly keyboard players. They make the best producers.

 

:thu::cool:

 

Yup, CEB is right. In probably 90% of pop live shows, the MD is a keyboard player. On any given recording you can bet the keyboard player will have a producer credit (and the associated royalties! ;) )

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Actually it is mostly keyboard players. They make the best producers.

 

Agree 100%, but I will add that it's the keyboard players because they allow it to happen. If they're going to stick you in the back, in the dark, and unheard, walk away. Don't take the gig.

 

Unless you LIKE being a musical doormat.

 

..Joe

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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Bobadoshe

I am sorry I came across the way I did...I was clarifying about not merely being a jazz pianist.. I certainly know stronger jazz pianists ! I have removed that part of post.

I had said versatile "musician", not keyboard player.

 

As usual, I am engaged in a topic that does not resonate with most. Maybe I expressed it poorly?

I see more involvement in issues like the effect we have on our weather -fuel, water. air, the earth in general including less eating of meat- than 50 years ago. But is not the state of music a very valid area to be involved in?

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Actually it is mostly keyboard players. They make the best producers.

 

This, or more accurately, today's producers are keyboard players. I would also say that it's also the songwriters ("hired guns") that pen most of the tunes for the Rihannas and Katy Perrys.

 

I think it all has to do with the software instrument plug-in / DAW / ITB revolution.

 

"Producers" as a term started to mean a different thing - usually meaning a guy who does everything: composes the song, creates the beat, plays all "instruments" (on a keyboard), records and mixes, and supervises the studio session (if there is such a thing).

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MorayM Says it's the keyboardists themselves who are responsible for the current state of degradation in pop music. So keyboardists saw the opportunity and said.. to heck with musicality, get me the money! Does this sound closer to the truth of my head scratching question?

 

 

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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So keyboardists saw the opportunity and said.. to heck with musicality, get me the money! Does this sound closer to the truth of my head scratching question?

Not really.

 

Things change over time. Technology allows folks to do more with less.

 

30 years ago, MIDI-based technology made it easier for all types of musicians to go into a room and bang out a record. It has been a staple of Hip-Hop and R&B music production for several decades. It is a cheaper way to make records.

 

Now, electronic music production has flooded the world of Pop music too. Genres like Rock and Country and a few others are hanging on to a traditional style of music production i.e. bands, session musicians, real instruments, etc.

 

The folks pulling the strings of the music business have always been older men. The middle-aged folks are the handlers and producers of the music. The younger folks are the face of the product and consumers of it.

 

In every genre and style of music, there are the fringes of Pop where artists, bands and musicians, old and young have to carve out an existence for themselves. Many folks do very well there i.e. Jam band scene.

 

IMO, it is better to be on the fringes of a genre/style of music rather than waste talent, time and money buying Lotto tickets in trying to infiltrate and/or keep up with the world that is Pop music. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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There is that: the integrity of earning your tuna sandwich lunch, and eating it, by having an effect on contemporary popular music.

 

Maybe some traitor from the forests of God knows where forgot that growing his or her brain to get traction in musical life should at least be accompanied by growing some flowers out of his (or her) hair. Maybe it is the revenge of the uninspired or ginger heads, maybe it is a deep philosophical matter about raising totem poles for certain musical styles rapid like a rabbit, or slow like a snail who will say ?

 

All we seem to know for sure is the state of modern music doesn 't invite young people doing a better duck-walk or please the musically experienced better since the quest for better productions has become a role of the IT department instead of tube amp designers.

 

Sure, there is progress, but luckily older, obviously much tastier music is becoming available through modern means, too. Clearly the new "production goods" require at the very least a solid amount of audio de-bugging before they can decently profit producers of past quality level. And it seems to me no I.T.-er can do the bug squatting, and no uninspired musician the true betrayal.

 

So there's a bit of luck left to hope for musicians that will lead their own musical loaf making.

 

T.V.

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But is not the state of music a very valid area to be involved in?

 

Sure, but pick your battles. What you're discussing would seem, at least outwardly, to have very little impact on you personally or professionally. If I'm wrong, my apologies, but it doesn't seem to matter one iota whether you can see the keyboard player from Katy Perry's band on the stage or not.

 

Now, if jazz clubs start featuring sequenced piano parts, or Latin bands go with tracks for bass & drums, then sure, that should get your attention... but were you crying foul when Aerosmith, Guns'N'Roses or U2 toured with hidden/understange keyboardists?

 

Seems like just so much tilting at windmills, frankly, and I'm far more directly affected by this (if your argument has any merit) than you are. This continues to be my career, and how I make most of my living, and my target demographic is changing every year, but whining about it doesn't change the tides or the rising of the sun. You adapt, reposition your marketing efforts, and continue on.

 

Or not. YMMV. :2thu:

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