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Why is keyboard mag so shallow


steinwaym

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Since this board is sponsored by Keyboard mag, I feel like I am looking a gift horse in the mouth, but....

I just finished reading the "feature" article about vintage keyboards in keyboard mag. The magazine used to take time and really develop the themes of the magazine. They barely skimmed the surface of actually utilizing one of the vintage keyboards and getting more in depth with various players and how they incorporate them into performance. It just seems like the publisher chooses a headline to get people in to read the advertisements. Does anybody else notice this trend? I rarely put the magazine down anymore actually learning something, because it just skims over the top of the subject, which is the knowledge that most keyboard players have on the subject anyway.

Thanks for allowing me to vent!

Mike

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Funny, but that's the feeling I had in the late 80's/early 90's about the mag so I let my subscription expire. All through the 70's and 80's the mag concentrated on players and equipment. When something wasn't right they stated it. I used to look forward to every new issue, but then it became more technically oriented, less player oriented, and I felt they were throwing out the wheat and keeping the chaff. I don't think I've purchased an issue in 10 years...
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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Not that I know of.

 

It's research/marketing/advertiser driven, not customer-driven. Their job is to shill for their advertisers - coverage of older equipment or technique discussions do not help them achieve their goal. The goal, as in any business, is to make money. Whatever formula they have seems to work for them right now. The complaints of a few individuals will not get much consideration.

 

In theory we vote with our pocketbooks; a drop in sales along with letters explaining why might change the magazine to suit its audience. The dark side is this: if sales would suddenly drop, they might pull the plug on the magazine due to a perceived "lack of consumer interest".

 

Originally posted by michielxp30:

I Agree,

Are there any alternative magzines? :P

Greetz

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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During the 90s, Keyboard became more of a keyboard/home recording magazine. You're just as likely to find a review of an audio plugin as a keyboard review. It seems to me that Electronic Musician now covers just about the same bases, though I tend to read EM's indepth articles more frequently. The nice thing is all of EM is online.

 

www.electronicmusician.com

 

Similarly, all of SOS is online with the exception of the latest six issues.

 

http://www.sospubs.co.uk/

 

Busch.

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Heck, I kinda liked this issue of Keyboard. Had more of an old-school vibe. The vintage keys thing was the cover story, which wouldn't be the case if the mag was a total infomercial.

 

I've been a sometimes contributor, and can tell you that people there really do believe in putting out useful content, and bust their asses to do so. Across the board in media, I agree that it's a different world today than in, say, 1979, or even 1985. Even in specialty media like the UEM publications. The largest part of this is the gritty reality that advertising has supplanted paid readership as the chief means by which magazines pay rent and keep the lights on. (Marvster mentioned this in another thread, but I forget which forum at the moment.)

 

Perhaps we should ask ourselves just what a higher standard of obectivity would look like, and then how much more we'd be willing to pay per issue to achieve and maintain it.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Magazine publishing today is definitely much different that when I worked in the field 15 years ago. There is the obvious problem that the bulk of revenue is derived from advertisers rather than subscribers, and this is a serious problem.

 

But there's a subtler problem as well, which is that distribution is monopolized by a few big bookstores. For a magazine that depends heavily on newsstand sales, like Keyboard, this is problematic because it costs a lot of money to have your magazine displayed on shelves, and this substantially increases the amount of money required to have a viable business. If distribution was free, perhaps you could cut your ad revenue by 60%, focus your content on what readers wanted, and still make money. But I doubt if Keyboard could do that even if they wanted to, they'd go broke paying for distribution.

 

:rolleyes:

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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I think they have lots of good articles and reviews, but it varies from month to month. Also, you have to realize that they have to gear some articles to novices if they want to stay in business.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I know that this is out of context, but it still seems apropos:

(Click here for the context.)

 

Originally posted by Anderton:

And while I'm in a pissed-off mood...

 

<< Same reason I don't believe in paying for magazine subscriptions anymore.

 

Most of the content is the same crap found in any industry-specific mag you pick up...month to month. >>

 

** DON'T YOU SEE THE CONNECTION?!? **

 

When magazines derived the bulk of their income from subscriptions, *they were beholden to the readers.* Magazines HAD to excel, because if readers weren't happy, they would spend their hard-earned money somewhere else. If a manufacturer canceled their advertising, sure it was a hassle, but a minor one. But losing readers was a disaster. In those days, *magazines competed for readers.*

 

Then "controlled circulation" magazines appeared. Because they were free, they had MUCH higher circulation than the paid ones. Advertisers, always seeking to advertise in the places with the highest circulation, flocked to the controlled circ mags. (Never mind that it makes greater economic sense to reach 10 experts than 100 dillettantes. Advertisers aren't always sophisticated enough to figure that out.)

 

*Now the magazines were beholden to the advertisers.* If they lost an advertiser, it was a disaster. If they lost a few readers...hey, who cares, enough freebie hunters exist to pick up the slack. Besides, you could always just send out 10 copies to a studio instead of 1 and make up the difference that way.

 

This is admittedly a bit simplistic -- in the old days, you still needed ads to make ends meet, and nowadays, if you don't have readers, no one will want to advertise, no matter how inexpensive the rates are. But undeniably, the balance has shifted.

 

Another aspect is the post office. The government used to believe that the free flow of information was a good thing, a free press was a good thing, and as a result, kept postage prices low so that magazines could stay in existence more easily. Postage rates for mags have gone up dramatically, and if the readers aren't willing to make up the difference...well, I think you can see where I'm going with this.

 

In spite of that, you still have magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, etc. that "tell it like it is" and take their lumps from pissed-off companies. But how long will they be able to survive if a) people fool themselves into thinking they can get the same quality of information from the net (PLEASE, don't tell me that all the people who post have the massive experience of someone like Jim Aikin), and b) people can't tell the difference between mags that bust their asses, and mags that ARE whores for the advertisers?

 

I used to edit a subscriber-supported newsletter in the late 70s. People were willing to pay to get honest opinions and reviews, untainted by any advertiser support whatsoever. They didn't care that it was "published" on a typewriter, and in black and white. It had CONTENT, it was valuable to people, and they paid for it. The mentality that allowed that sort of thing to survive is, I fear, gone forever.

 

--------------------

Craig Anderton

*free music available at craiganderton.com

Enthusiasm powers the world.

 

Craig Anderton's Archiving Article

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When is a mag going to go completely on-line only? They can dump all the distribution issues, have customers pay to access the site which would also include all the previous issues.

 

I don't bother with the mags these days, way to much advertisement, way to little content.

 

Sad really.

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Geeze, I really don't find Keyboard that bad. I like that the articles aren't all too advanced or novice. They can't please everyone with the featured artists as everyones taste varies. I think they are doing a better job than a couple years ago when all the articles seemed to be about computers and hardware. I like the balance now between actual keyboards and computer apps. Not to open a can of worms or anything but I do find the review section a bit biased. It seems like certain manufacturers are always getting the KB award. I think EM's reviews are more fair and, well, accurate. Just my opinion though. I'm sure there's keyboard staff around these boards and I don't mean to offend anyone. It's my favorite magazine with EM close behind (I get a bit lost in their tech world at times). ~nel

*

 

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But this, to me, is exactly the issue - there are TOO MANY KeyBuy awards! The mark of a shill.

 

I understand *why* they need to shill so much. And I still buy the magazine. Doesn't mean I have to like that they shill so much.

 

Originally posted by nelz:

It seems like certain manufacturers are always getting the KB award.~nel

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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In addition to synth reviews, Keyboard used to do cover stories on classical pianists. Alas, the reader has changed. To its credit, the magazine still has articles on keyboard technique and master classes in various styles.

 

Lately, I've been digging through old issues for the transcriptions. There's a lot to learn in those pages. To me, Keyboard has held to its traditions more than I would have expected.

 

At the same time, I won't be surprised when a turntable gets a Key Buy.

 

Bart Garratt

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The oldest I've ever seen a keyboard mag has been around 88. Still, the music theory info was much more extense, and it seems at a more advanced level. Come on, I don't know how many times keyboard has covered basic diatonic triads -

 

1. in something called back to basics

2. the lounge chords article

3. the chord review or whatever it was

.. and more that I can think of right now.

 

I really think we can focus on more than that.

 

It's weird. I don't consider myself a very advanced player, yet I find a lot of the articles to be too basic. I'm sure I don't understand theory/play better than I think I do (I wish :rolleyes: ), I think it's time to expect more from players. For $5 you can buy dozens of book to teach the basic - that stuff has been around for years. The more advanced stuff is more interesting, and has a lot more variety.

 

I would like them to focus on licks, techniques from specific players (which they already do to a certain extent), but if all they compose with is triads with different inversions maybe some very basic open voicings, I really have a hard time believing that is really necessary.

 

Hell, since keyboards right now have so many different sounds, cover topis like voicings for 'wind instrument' type sounds, for instance.

 

As far as the reviews, I kind of like them being pretty broad, and covering more than keyboards. It's hard to think of the synthesizer without thinking 'home studio', I think, and I believe keyboard is following this trend.

 

BTW, cool article this month on vintage equipment, I just picked up a copy.

 

I second the vote on SOS as well. Good content, I think their reviews tend to be overly positive sometimes, but informative neverthless.

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

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It is not really a "keyboard" magazine anymore. Maybe because you don't need to excell talent wise on keyboard to produce popular music anymore. Sample, cut, past and warp. If you need a good lick, buy a sample or hire a real musician. It happened to Keyboard Mag because, well, how many guitar workstations and samplers to you find on the market?

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.
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Originally posted by Anderton:

if

 

a) people fool themselves into thinking they can get the same quality of information from the net (PLEASE, don't tell me that all the people who post have the massive experience of someone like Jim Aikin), and

 

b) people can't tell the difference between mags that bust their asses, and mags that ARE whores for the advertisers?

 

This is the actual point.

 

Perhaps the magazine has changed. There are some Classical Pianist mags around. Keyboard has always been into the technology thing and that's why I'm one of their readers.

 

I wish I could find more Craig Andertons and Jim Aikins around... lots to learn from them.

Músico, Productor, Ingeniero, Tecnólogo

Director de Ventas, América Latina y Caribe - PreSonus Audio Electronics

 

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Hello,

 

It's me, Ernie Rideout, Keyboard magazine Senior Associate Editor, here to give you another viewpoint on these topics.

 

1. On the topic of shallow vs in-depth.

 

I wrote the Vintage Keys cover story specifically for readers who are interested in getting into using the beasts, but who may not have a clue as to what's involved. The "how to" info I provided was the result of talking with many techs and repair folks around the country to find out what the most common repairs were that users could do themselves, rather than having to reach for the phone to call a tech. There's no way we could print entire service manuals in the space we have.

 

Similarly, how many great artists are there who use vintage gear? Tons. We get the perspective of lots of artists on their vintage gear on a regular basis, and we continue to do so. I wanted to introduce Brian Mitchell to the readership because he's an amazing artist, and a total evangelist for the real deal. The guy goes to great lengths to make sure he works only with the real thing.

 

Sure, I could've interviewed any number of artists, from ten to 100, to get their perspective, tips, recommendations, and road stories. But that's what Keyboard does every month. This feature had a target. There was no way I could turn the article into a service manual or industry-wide survey.

 

I read EM every month, every word, cover to cover. I have for years. I don't think anything they've ever done comes close to the kind of depth we provide routinely in our articles. I use all the gear that they write about, I do all the tasks they write about, and to be honest, I can't believe how many times they'll gloss over a feature, function, or application that I find to be critical in the music making process, from recording to performing, from scoring to copying parts. A big "round up" feature on every gizmo or software title in a category sure looks like it may be in depth. But if you're a pro with any experience, it's unlikely that the article will answer all the questions you would've asked if you were doing the research. Not that they don't publish articles that are well done. Quite often I find they are. But in-depth? By and large, EM's articles are the ones that are lacking in musical applications and advice.

 

2. Key Buys and Advertiser Influence.

 

I can't believe my eyes everytime I read about a perception that we at Keyboard give good reviews and Key Buys according to who buys advertising and who doesn't. Talk about meaningless consipracy theories.

 

This is how it works. We choose gear to review that seems cool and interesting to readers and to ourselves. We ask the manufacturers for review units. We use the stuff on gigs, in recording sessions, on remix projects, in rehearsals, in practice sessions, in our home studios, in professional studios. If a piece of gear rocks our world, seems like it's something we'd recommend to our friends, is innovative, and/or is a great value, it is likely to get a Key Buy. Or it may not; if it has a serious drawback, it's likely not to get the award.

 

Sorry to disappoint you, but absolutely no other considerations come into it. I know. I'm in every one of those meetings where we discuss it. Advertisers aren't there. Non-advertising manufacturers aren't there. Even our own sales and publishing staff aren't there. Nobody puts any pressure on any of us at any time to recommend anything that our own experience doesn't lead us to want to recommend.

 

Anybody who says anything else doesn't have a clue.

 

3. All gear, no music.

 

I've been putting a music-packed master class and at least one how-to-play column in every issue of Keyboard for the past *eight years*. The reader who I'm trying to reach varies from month to month because we have such a wide range of readers, stylistically speaking, as well as in terms of playing skills. Sometimes I target an article towards beginners, sometimes at advanced players, but I always try to put something for everyone in each article, as much as possible.

 

Sometimes the articles are application oriented, sometimes they're theoretical, and sometimes they present the stylistic approach of a particlular artist in a particular style. Tom Brislin, keyboardist with Yes, has been writing the Keyboard Basics column, which starts folks off with the basics. Harold Danko, jazz piano prof at Eastman, has been talioring the Solo Piano column towards novice improvisers for a couple years. There is basic musicianship information in every issue, as well as material for intermediate and advanced players.

 

If you haven't actually read Keyboard for a nummber of years, I can see how you might think that there isn't any how-to-play or musicianship information in it. But if you do in fact read it from time to time these days, you'd see that it's there, every month without fail.

 

I find it hard to believe that the theory, applications, and innovations in the master classes on Clare Fisher, Herbie Hancock, Loris Holland, and Larry Goldings are too basic for most players. ;-) And even though the recent master classes by Andy LaVerne, Mark Harrison, and Jeff Gardner start out simply, they get into some very interesting material pretty quickly.

 

And this is just the stuff in the past 12 issues or so!

 

My recommendation: Put Keyboard Magazine on the music rack of your keyboard or piano every month when it comes in the mail and *play through* the master class. I bet you'll get something out of each one. If you don't, then just wait until next month: You can bet I've got something totally different in the works.

 

It's true that we used to cover classical pianists a great deal, and that we no longer do so. Here's the reason: the classical world is vast. To do it justice would require a magazine devoted to it. We could do it; I'm a conservatory-trained player, after all. It's true that we miss out on recent innovations in the classical world, which in the past would've been "columnized" by William Fowler, David Burge, or the late Jeff Pressing.

 

But I spend a lot of time talking to keyboardists and pianists, some of whom are Keyboard readers, some of whom are not. And I can't say that I find a lot of interest - even here in New York City, the capital of new music - in the current classical composition world. Most composers themselves are interested in what's really new about music, which does in fact have quite a bit to do with new technologies. But I also find that players are really interested in learning about what makes other players tick, musically speaking.

 

Another recommendation: If you want to see something covered in Keyboard, drop me a line. a lot of the master classes have been created in response to specific reader requests.

 

And let me know what you think in general. I'm certainly open to talking with anyone about my work. I'm not so interested in getting flames from folks who haven't read the magazine in a few years, though. ;-)

 

Play your asses off,

 

Ernie Rideout

Keyboard Magazine

Ernie Rideout, Private Citizen

Gee, that was quick.

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i also got this problem with trinity

i did some tracks with it ,sang and added more with softsynth ,the tune nearly finished just to find that many tracks are out of tune and it's very hard to figure out which one started the mess

but i thought it must be the tri

so i decided to start all over now with all tracks from soft

Anyone know how to solve it on trinity?

thnx

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Originally posted by Markyboard:

Ernie: Quit being so defensive and just feature a Master Class by Eric McWhirter. This should silence the evil ones.

:D

 

Eric McWhirter !

 

I have not read anything about him in years. It was an interview by Dave Stewart where Eric said "MIDI, what's that?"

 

... now ask him about what does he think on Soft Synths...

Músico, Productor, Ingeniero, Tecnólogo

Director de Ventas, América Latina y Caribe - PreSonus Audio Electronics

 

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A note to Ernie:

 

I can only speak for myself, yet I bet a few others will agree...

 

I will bitch unmercifully about my favorite magazines. Constantly. To anyone who will listen. I'm a reader, that's what I do. :P

 

However, whenever the latest edition of Keyboard arrives at my house, the ritual never varies. I immediately put down whatever novel I'm reading, whatever computer book I'm reading, and the various periodicals that clutter the various places where I stash periodicals -- and read Keyboard from cover to cover.

 

I subscribe to four other print magazines, and regularly read several on the web. I cannot say the same about any of them.

 

Keep being a mag that I'm willing to bitch about. ;)

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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As the guy who started this whole thing, I do appreciate having a senior editor replying to the post. But by the same token, come on, I have spent quite a bit of money purchasing every single issue of your magazine, and the last thing that I deserve to hear is a rant session about how I don't have any basis for my opinions because I don't read your magazine. I guess maybe it is time that I don't.
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Ernie Rideout wrote.

 

My recommendation: Put Keyboard Magazine on the music rack of your keyboard or piano every month when it comes in the mail and *play through* the master class. I bet you'll get something out of each one. If you don't, then just wait until next month: You can bet I've got something totally different in the works.
Yep. This was one of my favorite things aboiut the mag when I started reading it (1982?) and still is. That's how I finally got the intro to "Minute by Minute" by Michael Mc Donald, which I'd been puzzled by for years. :)

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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i'm sorry i misplaced my reply with the other thread

here is the right one

hi Ernie

20yrs ago Keyboardmag got me started in writing ,arranging scores by publishing MChammer's musicguy ( sorry, can't remember his name )tunes" the rhythm...."after that it still continued to teach me more with

Dave Stewart's inside the music,i really appreciate that

Now that you stop to focus on arranging good music i think you miss half of what keyboard 's all about

Please if you can't find great new arranger to contribute,maybe reprinting old Dave's stuff will bring back great harmony to the musicscene today

cheers

istyle

www.mp3.com/istyle

thnx

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I am a guitar player, just dabbling in Keys and synths, but I really like the magazine. It just wouldn't make since to me, if I am the kinda guy they are targeting, being that I just dabble. I would like to know a little more of the basics, like how does some of the "riffs" they print in the master class is developed. The theory, and thought process.
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I have read (and subscribed) to Keyboard since the first issue. I stopped for a period in the 80's when I was very poor and reading about all the cool and very expensive new synth stuff just made me frustrated. I picked it up again in the 90's and still continue. The mag today seems striving to keep contemporary and mostly succeeding. I noticed a trend to more generic articles when they merged into Music Player group. One issue even had a review of a guitar amp. I use guitar efx and amps on some keyboards to get a specific effect, so it wasn't totally useless, but it was a definite change. I don't think the reviews are as hard hitting as they used to be. I remember 2 in particular. Many years ago, Keyboard ran a comparison of all existing samplers. They even did frequency response plots and pitch shift analysis! Several expensive and highly regarded samplers were exposed as actually being pretty bad in comparison. It caused a pretty big ruckus at the time. Another article compared the MIDI response timing of quite a few synths and ROM playback units. I remember that the E-mu Proteus timing sucked. They are still defensive about it in their ads. It would be nice to see this kind of great information presented again. This technology stuff is getting so complex it would be very valuable to see detailed analysis with real scientific measurement to help us make decisions. Of course, even the AudioPhile Stereo Review type mags no longer do measurements. I really miss that stuff because it much more objective.

Gregg

Without music, life would be a mistake - Nietzche

QSC K10, Kurz PC3, K2500x, K2000R, Korg Z1, Roland A80, Roland S-750, 1970 MiniMoog, Synthi AKS, bunch of old rack modules.

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My two cents: As a musician first and magazine editor second (not for a music-related publication), I have nothing but praise for Keyboard magazine. It consistently does a fantastic job of covering an ever-broadening subject for what I'm guessing must be an increasingly broad readership. It blows the competition away in subject matter, editorial integrity, layout, writing, editing, etc. Great job, guys!
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