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Why are pop 'musicians' so famous and rich, and classical musicians not? (Read 11694 times)

Offline sv3nno

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I really, Really hate pop music. It requires little to no talent, while the classical genres require alot of talent and skill to do well... Yet, 90% of pop musicians are insanely rich And famous, while 99% of the classical musicians are the exact opposite...(yes, Lang Lang is the remaining 1%.)
I mean, Opera singers could EASILY perform ANY pop song, and it's the same
 with classical instrumentalists.
I think it's so unfair that those with much, MUCH more talent and skill can't get anywhere in the music industry...
What do you think?
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Offline thalbergmad

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I try not to think about it, it just makes me angry.

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Offline forte88

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Classical musicians often come from privileged backgrounds, can afford the Steinways the expensive teachers/ schools etc, while many pop musicians come from working class backgrounds, dysfunctional families etc, so for them money is more likely to be a goal than for classical musicians...equilibrium....Rags to riches and from riches to rags:)

Offline hfmadopter

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Classical musicians often come from privileged backgrounds, can afford the Steinways the expensive teachers/ schools etc, while many pop musicians come from working class backgrounds, dysfunctional families etc, so for them money is more likely to be a goal than for classical musicians...equilibrium....Rags to riches and from riches to rags:)

Don't kid yourself, the wealthy have just as much dysfunction as anyone else, they just have the funds to deal with it, bury it, fix it etc. In fact often it can be worse, just hidden.

On the other hand, I can't argue about the Steinway, except to say people do take out mortgages to own them sometimes.

I think you will find that pop musicians get wealthy because they are promoted to get wealthy and they don't call it pop for nothing. As in Popular, you won't make a ton of bookings playing non popular music.. People love it, the working class relates to it. Joe average beer drinker after work style families. There are way more of them than wealthy families anyway. The wife wants to let her hair down and rock out type families.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline forte88

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Dysfunctional obviously in the relevent sense, i.e. that which adds to their poverty.

Quote
On the other hand, I can't argue about the Steinway, except to say people do take out mortgages to own them sometimes.

They have to take a mortgage on their house to own one?? :o
I'm starting to feel sorry for those poor classical musicians, squandering their inheritance in such a ghastly manner. They should have been born poor and  become popmusicians then they would have been richer than they could have ever imagined  :'(

Offline Bob

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Marketing.

Accessibility of the music.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline pianoplunker

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I really, Really hate pop music. It requires little to no talent, while the classical genres require alot of talent and skill to do well... Yet, 90% of pop musicians are insanely rich And famous, while 99% of the classical musicians are the exact opposite...(yes, Lang Lang is the remaining 1%.)
I mean, Opera singers could EASILY perform ANY pop song, and it's the same
 with classical instrumentalists.
I think it's so unfair that those with much, MUCH more talent and skill can't get anywhere in the music industry...
What do you think?

Well, I think most of your statement is completely anecdotal and can not be backed up by any data whatsoever.  We havent  seen any classical instrumentalists pick up an electric guitar, therefore they know nothing about playing pop !. and the singers..forget it. You cant sing pop with with a wad of air always in your upper pallette - and being fat will get you nowhere in the pop world. People of all walks of life and music have tried to make it in the music industry and fail regardless of genre, skill, or talent.  But classical has even more of a challenge because you have to show skill on top of someone else who shows skill at the same piece. How are you going to sell your classical performance when so many others play it better than you? Pop genre is designed around creating new simple songs while classical is designed around who can play an old piece the best. Gotta be the best if you are going to make money.  

Offline quantum

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There was a recent ad in my town for a music director/conductor position of a local community orchestra.  Salary: $20k CAN per year.  

Very sad if you ask me.  To think all the training and experience one needs to build up in order to obtain the skill set for such position.  The said salary is just slightly above the poverty line.  Not to mention all the behind the scenes work and musical research one needs to do.  
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Did you know...

That out of every 100 pop songs, about 15 of them are the EXACT same?  Like legit, everything is the EXACT same if you strip the lyrics.

26% of all pop songs are in the same key.  

The most common occurring chords are the V, IV, I, and VI chords.  By a large margin too.  Looks like Bach is in trouble here.  Hehehe... 8)

All pop songs are the same tempo.


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Offline sv3nno

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Well, I think most of your statement is completely anecdotal and can not be backed up by any data whatsoever.  We havent  seen any classical instrumentalists pick up an electric guitar, therefore they know nothing about playing pop !. and the singers..forget it. You cant sing pop with with a wad of air always in your upper pallette - and being fat will get you nowhere in the pop world. People of all walks of life and music have tried to make it in the music industry and fail regardless of genre, skill, or talent.  But classical has even more of a challenge because you have to show skill on top of someone else who shows skill at the same piece. How are you going to sell your classical performance when so many others play it better than you? Pop genre is designed around creating new simple songs while classical is designed around who can play an old piece the best. Gotta be the best if you are going to make money.  
Sorry, but there are way too many things wrong about your reply for me to even  consider thinking about it. I have seen many opera singers sing pop. My grandpa is an opera singer, and since his trained voice can reach anywhere from D2 to C5(yes, without falsetto), there is not a single pop song he couldn't handle. Also, Opera singers can sing with a straight voice if they want to, they don't always have to use vibrato.

Of course, if someone who plays classical piano music (like me) could not play the electric guitar. THAT'S NOT EVEN THE POINT! I was saying that, for example, i could, with 0% effort, play ANY pop bullshit there is. But i'd like to see any pop musician play La Campanella... lol.
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Offline forte88

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Classical composers(Andrew Lloyd Webber e.g.) can still be rich and famous so it's as pianoplunker wrote:
Quote
Pop genre is designed around creating new simple songs while classical is designed around who can play an old piece the best. Gotta be the best if you are going to make money

Offline j_menz

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Classical composers(Andrew Lloyd Webber e.g.)

 :o

Also, whatever his merits as a serious composer, he made his money out of pop.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline forte88

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:o

Also, whatever his merits as a serious composer, he made his money out of pop.
If musicals qualify as pop... IMO musicals are the modern version of opera and as such closer to classical than to pop. Unless of course the definition of pop is anything that's successful, but then successful classical musicians would be pop musicians

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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effort, play ANY pop bullshit there is. But i'd like to see any pop musician play La Campanella... lol.

Lady Gaga is no fool!

She's a pretty good pianist.
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline kevin69

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My grandpa is an opera singer, and since his trained voice can reach anywhere from D2 to C5(yes, without falsetto), there is not a single pop song he couldn't handle.

I think you are missing the point of pop and rock music.
Hitting notes isn't that important.
Getting an emotional response from the listener is what matters.
Opera leaves me completely cold: i can hear the good technique but it doesn't touch
me emotionally in any way, so for me its all a bit pointless. Portishead on the other hand....

Also, a lot of rock and pop musicians compose their own music and lyrics.
How many opera singers write operas?

Or maybe pop musicians are just smarter? :)


Offline iansinclair

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My goodness the generalisations are flying thick and fast, aren't they?  Amazing...

The first and worst is in the subject line.  Not all pop musicians (a difficult group to define) are famous and rich, although a few are.  Not all classical musicians are poor, either.  In my humble view of the musical world, the fraction of aspiring pop musicians who become rich and famous, and the fraction of aspiring classical musicians who at least become famous and comfortably well off, if not fabulously wealthy, probably isn't that much different.

It is quite true, of course, that there is a small number of pop musicians -- some have been named in other posts -- who have become very much more wealthy, at least for a while, than the rest, and than almost all classical musicians.  Again, in my view, a lot of this has to do with promotion and, in some cases at least (Michael Jackson comes to mind, as does Justin Bieber) flat out exploitation by promoters.  Do not be too jealous of this minority, though; the pressures from the fame and wealth which they appear to enjoy are extreme, and many of them find themselves in difficulties of one kind or another.

As to which pop musician or group gets lucky and wealthy, and which does not, there is a huge element of luck: the right place at the right time.  Any of the more honest ones will tell you that -- at least the ones I've known will.

Again, IMHO, this level of promotion is hard to achieve for classical music, most of which demands an attention span far longer than the general public is able to muster; thus the appeal of classical music is harder to put over in a sound bite or music video, and always has been.

Incidentally, I quite agree that some (not all) more recent musicals are very much operas; from the composition standpoint, that is.  They are not quite the same from the performance standpoint, however, as all the singers and orchestra members are miked and amplified (which is not to detract from the performance, just to state the case; most singers in musicals are better actors than most singers in opera, although there are exceptions).
Ian

Offline sv3nno

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I think you are missing the point of pop and rock music.
Hitting notes isn't that important.
Getting an emotional response from the listener is what matters.
Opera leaves me completely cold: i can hear the good technique but it doesn't touch
me emotionally in any way, so for me its all a bit pointless. Portishead on the other hand....

Also, a lot of rock and pop musicians compose their own music and lyrics.
How many opera singers write operas?

Or maybe pop musicians are just smarter? :)
1). Writing a short pop song consists of writing a short, repetitive 3-minute melody and lyrics. Now, an opera is a long, 2-3 HOUR piece of music, and the composer has to write music for all the instruments(15-20 lines) and lyrics for all the singers (anywhere over 10 singers). Do not EVER compare writing a short excuse for a piece of music o
to writing an opera.
2). Just the reasons i gave above, and the fact that those who can understand classical music, which is Much, much more complex and deeper than pop music, proves that classical musicians are much smarter than pop 'musicians'.

[/quote]
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Offline timothy42b

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Sales of classical music recordings are 2% of the record industry.

So there's most of your answer right there.

One group is providing what 98% of people want, and the other group what 2% want.  If you were McDonalds would you rather sell 98 hamburgers an hour or 2? 

But wait, there's more.

It sounds simple to write pop music.  Just give the masses what they want, write for the lowest common denominator.

Well, that isn't all that easy.  It takes a kind of genius to understand what the masses want and write what will satisfy them.  To do it consistently requires the same level of genius as to write great symphonies.  It's not the same type of genius, of course, it relies more on intuition than education, but it's there. 

Tim

Offline pianoplunker

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Sorry, but there are way too many things wrong about your reply for me to even  consider thinking about it.

I thought the same thing about your post, but couldnt help replying.


[/quote] I have seen many opera singers sing pop. My grandpa is an opera singer, and since his trained voice can reach anywhere from D2 to C5(yes, without falsetto), there is not a single pop song he couldn't handle. Also, Opera singers can sing with a straight voice if they want to, they don't always have to use vibrato.[/quote]

That is great, but it does not change the fact that opera is a completely different than pop. It does not make an opera singer a great pop singer just because the music has more complexities.  

[/quote]Of course, if someone who plays classical piano music (like me) could not play the electric guitar. THAT'S NOT EVEN THE POINT! I was saying that, for example, i could, with 0% effort, play ANY pop bullshit there is. But i'd like to see any pop musician play La Campanella... lol.
[/quote][/quote]

you said "I mean, Opera singers could EASILY perform ANY pop song, and it's the same
 with classical instrumentalists."   The reason I brought up the electric guitar is because if we are going to compare instrumentalists, might as well compare the instruments too. If you are talking about piano, fine. Most pop piano players get union wages. Even those who play for the Justin Biebers of the world.  Assuming that they can not play La Campenalla just because they play pop is just as bad as  saying they could play pop because they can play La Campenella.
If you hate pop, then you hate pop. I hate some forms of pop myself.  But only a few have ever made decent money. No middle class in any genre.

Offline ajspiano

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lol at the concept that pop writers/performers are talentless.. you're obviously not obligated to like them (I sure as hell dont) but they are absolutely not talentless.

Before you crap on about how hard la campanella is and that you could play any pop song no trouble..  go play some pop songs, and by that I mean play pop songs that you wrote for an hour and a half straight,  singing  aswell, in front of at least 2500 people. If more that 100 of them don't like and you don't sell an album to everyone you lose.

oh wait.. you wont be able to get a crowd of more than 20 to begin with. better slog it out for 5 years before you do my test.

Offline iansinclair

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Some really good comments just above this -- and below my previous.

On opera singers singing pop.  Well, there are a few who do a fairly decent job.  One or two who do a very good job.  Most opera singers can't sing pop decently, in my opinion, but it's not to be wondered at -- the styles are too different, and the vocal production is very very different (a voice which, unamplified, can easily fill the Metropolitan Opera or La Scala is going to be a lousy fit in a cabaret -- and conversely, a Joni Mitchell or Gordon Lightfoot have wonderful voices, but not the volume.  etc.).

On giving the masses what they want.  Well, yes -- in a sense.  But the pop songs which last do take real genius to write and put across effectively.  Because it is different from the kind of genius which can write opera doesn't make it better or worse -- just different.  I would point out, however, that the composers or singer/songwriters of the popular songs which do last are precious thin on the ground.  No more than half a dozen, perhaps, in the last half century.  The vast majority of pop music is pretty horrible, no matter what genre or how you look at it; I'll certainly agree with that.  Some of it, however, is assuredly not.

On wealth.  As was noted, the only person in a popular music show who makes any money at all is the front man or woman, and maybe not even them.  The rest of the folks make union scale, as noted, and, my friends, you aren't going to get rich gigging on union scale.  Been there, done that.  Couldn't afford the tee shirt.  If you really want to make money in the music business, be the promoter.

On talent and mastery of the instrument.  Some of the instrumentalists in popular music have stunningly good mastery of the instrument.  Electric guitar?  Try Eric Clapton.  Piano?  Elton John, Joni Mitchell.  Drums?  Ever heard of Ringo?  Voice?  Listen to Roy Orbison someday.  Those are just folks who come to mind right away.

And I might add that some of popular music instrumentals (and vocals) is just plain flat out difficult, at least on the top end (yes, most decent classical pianists can handle a cocktail bar gig, although they may not get much feeling into it -- and they may find along about the fourth 45 minute set that they are running out of inspiration, but a good cabaret show?  I very much doubt it).

Bottom line?  There is some formidable talent in pop music.  It's not necessarily the headline acts; certainly isn't these days.  A few of them... a very few... make some good money.  And a fraction of the fraction who make good money survive the stress and pressure to make it into their forties.  One may not necessarily like the style of this musician or that one, or this type of music or that, but one needs to recognise talent wherever it is found.

Ian

Offline j_menz

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If musicals qualify as pop...

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar unashamedly do.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ajspiano

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar unashamedly do.

..there's a lot more than that.. hairspray is a bit unashamedly pop. Or were we only discussing lloyd webber?

Offline j_menz

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Or were we only discussing lloyd webber?

I was, but your point is well made. And, of course, there's nothing wrong with pop musicals per se - many of them are great fun.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ajspiano

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As mentioned by you, J.C.S. is arguably the most pop musical ever - given the recent stage production that cast a 'spice girl' as Mary Magdalene..

ofcourse its equally anti-pop..  it also cast tim minchin.. who is of course a prime example of a top piano player that usually concerns himself with quite 'simple' popular type music..  Talentless fool he is.

Offline j_menz

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As mentioned by you, J.C.S. is arguably the most pop musical ever - given the recent stage production that cast a 'spice girl' as Mary Magdalene..

Over Grease4, Hairspray and Rocky Horror?  :o

I won't say who I saw as MM when I first saw it.

Talentless fool he is.

He speaks highly of you, too.  :P

 ;D
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline quantum

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J.C.S. was billed as a "rock opera."  It was an album before it became a stage production. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline ajspiano

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He speaks highly of you, too.  :P


No doubt..  its probably a bit competitive see..   given that while he's been in JSC, I've been in Joseph.

Offline steinway43

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Sales of classical music recordings are 2% of the record industry.

So there's most of your answer right there.

One group is providing what 98% of people want, and the other group what 2% want.  If you were McDonalds would you rather sell 98 hamburgers an hour or 2? 

But wait, there's more.

It sounds simple to write pop music.  Just give the masses what they want, write for the lowest common denominator.

Well, that isn't all that easy.  It takes a kind of genius to understand what the masses want and write what will satisfy them.  To do it consistently requires the same level of genius as to write great symphonies.  It's not the same type of genius, of course, it relies more on intuition than education, but it's there. 



You're exactly right.

And yes, the song is the key. A great voice comes to nothing if you don't hear a song you fall in love with and instantly remember forever. And writing that is NOT easy. It takes the same kind of genius to write a great catchy song as it does to write anything else.

There is something odd going on in mainstream culture, though, in that for the last twenty years there has been a trend of deconstruction happening. Less melody, more rap and just plain noise. That element seems foisted onto the public as if they're being trained to accept less and less that which is a logical mental process, but that's a whole other topic (really for a different forum).

I love classic rock and pop. I can listen to Stairway to Heaven and Brahms second piano concerto in the same sitting. No problem.








Offline timothy42b

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On opera singers singing pop.  Well, there are a few who do a fairly decent job.  One or two who do a very good job.  Most opera singers can't sing pop decently, in my opinion, but it's not to be wondered at -- the styles are too different,

And they sometimes ignore the basics.

Remember the famous attempt of Joshua Bell to do a subway busker gig?

He utterly failed - and had the audacity to blame it on the audience.  In fact, he arrogantly failed to do his homework, had no idea to pull off a busking gig, and did everything possible wrong.  He is a superb classical musician, but stepped out of his lane. 
Tim

Offline caliallye

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I have long acquaintance with "pop" music, although I personally prefer classical, renaissance, jazz, folk, etc. with "pop" or maybe death metal coming behind.

BUT, don't kid yourself.  Most of those folks are highly trained.  Maybe not the hip hop guys so much, but the musicians they hire to back them surely are.

And they work very, very, hard.

My son plays trumpet, which he didn't actually pick up until fourth grade, after violin, drums, and being taught "people are strange" on the piano by my friend when he was 4, after whish he learned it in all twelve keys before the night was out.

But he had natural embrochure for trumpet and he learned jazz improv, and that was all she wrote.

He was accepted at the YoungMusicians Program, at UC Berkeley when he was 11.  Every summer, for seven weeks, he studied music - classical mostly and jazz - from 8:30 to 5 pm five days a week.  He did Jazz band, was accepted in the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble as a freshman, was lead as a sophomore, played San FRancisco Jazz All Stars, Monterey Jazz All Stars, and was asked to be in the S.F Youth Symphony (also Oakland) but just didn't have time.

Got a World Scholarship to Berklee, which he chose over New England or Boston Conservatory, and, two days before leaving for college, had a farewell, benefit concert, where a couple decided that they were going to pick up every single expense he had that wasn't covered!

When this enabled him to graduate in three years, they offered to stake him to a master's at Juilliard, but, as he explained, he had never had a summer off since he was eleven.

Yeah, most of the times, his lines are buried and could have been played by a synth, although his flugelhorn solo in the second season of "The Boondocks" in the "invasion of the Katrinians" was pretty, and BTW he barely got minimum scale, no residuals, etc., on Mary J/ Blige, and others, just "play for pay" and stiffed (last I heard, maybe it's changed) by Bruno Mars.

But when they played the Grammies, with 105 players "in the band", His horn section, "The Regiment Horns" (Kevin Williams,trombone: Sean ERICK, trumpet: Leon Silva, sax) plus the addition of Rashon Ross, trumpet)   the precision and exactitude, the unisons, had the same demands that any "classical" symphony player has.  Go check it out.  I challenge you to hear the slightest difference in the unisons.  I was actually impressed, whereas I just couldn't see al the praises there were being made by the critics about the horn lines, actually saying, "can you imagine, all the education and practice that went into those six notes?"

And then there are the hours, and the travel.  The first year, touring with an American Idol winner, the management was so bad that they  left emails after midnight to tell the musicians to be in the lobby at 8 am.on Tuesday morning. In his hurry, my son left behind his phone charger, so he had it Fed Exed to LA. Only to discover that "management" and i use the word loosely, flew them back to do a Good Morning America on Thursday morning, because it was cheaper to sly them home for a night than pay hotel and per diem. They stayed in the same hotel!


And with Justin.....well,, Jay Z tried to get them to play in his band for no extra money!  I don't know how they worked it, if he gave them more or they are not playing, but as a mother, I hope they don't have to take on any more.  They have been sooooo busy.

And somehow, when the played at the White House, "A Tribute to Memphis Jazz" they played as the house band, not just for Justin, but for the whole show. This after Super bpwl pre game, the grammies, SNL, a whole week on Jimmy Fallon, a concert in Austin the next day and a live hour long broadcast performance two days later.  They deserve to get paid.

My son turned 28 last week.  Since he was 21, when he graduated, he has done an average of8 to 9 gigs a week, yes, usually going from recording to a live gig at night at least twice a week, and being at church (just outside LA) at 7 am to play two services every Sunday, even when they were playing a Friday and Saturday Night gig in Las Vegas for over three months, driving "home" after the last performance.

So don't either begrudge, or think those sidemen are wither having it easy, or are under educated.  Like the film business, where probably over half the crew will have a BA or an MA, but no one talks about it, those dedicated men and women who provide backup have had, up to a point, a very similar musical education to yours.

Why do they play as sidemen?  It's a choice.  When asked if he wanted to be recorded, to put together a group, as a teenager, my son replied, "No, I just want to be the guy who shows up, plays the music, gets paid and go home."

When his teachers said he could go as high as he wanted in music, all I could say is "Well, he has world class talent, he just doesn't have world class ambition."

But it seems he's on the world stage, anyway.  And last time I talked to him, he told me, "I really have to start stepping up my game."

And the names, well, they have to be very, very, very, healthy and reliable.  Never make a mistake, always make it seem fresh, always seem happy, no matter how sick they might actually feel.

Sounds like doing classical, doesn't it?     



Offline sv3nno

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oh wait.. you wont be able to get a crowd of more than 20 to begin with. better slog it out for 5 years before you do my test.
wait... you don't even know me, and you're already telling me i couldn't get a crowd of more than 20 to begin with?...
wow, just wow...
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Offline ajspiano

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I mean in a competitive environment, as an unknown. Because that's how pop musicians get out there.. they have to go play in places where no one knows them.. as in make people choose your gig in a big city where there's a hundred other options on that day alone.


Also - You're 16. You're not even old enough to play in an adult environment without supervision...  that's not meant as an attack by the way.. just saying, that's why I think you probably wouldn't be able to draw in 20 or so adults you've never met as a pop/rock musician playing you're own original material.

Offline j_menz

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I really, Really hate pop music.

Frankly, if you can get 20 people to turn up to listen to you play something that you hate, then that's 20 idiots.

Still, there are quite a lot of idiots out there......
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ajspiano

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Frankly, if you can get 20 people to turn up to listen to you..

I've definitely had a larger number of idiots than 20 at one point or another..  *sigh, pub gigs  ::)

Offline ajspiano

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wait... you don't even know me, and you're already telling me i couldn't get a crowd of more than 20 to begin with?...
wow, just wow...

also, you kind of need to expect some blunt retorts when you post something so full of ignorance..

90% of pop musicians are rich and famous? Really? you believe that..? 

99% of pop musicians are flat broke and unknown.

Offline j_menz

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99% of pop musicians are flat broke and unknown.

Then how did you estimate their number.  ::)

Not that I disagree with the sentiment, but that smacks of being one of the 74.5% of statistics quoted on the internet that's just made up.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ajspiano

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Then how did you estimate their number.  ::)

Not that I disagree with the sentiment, but that smacks of being one of the 74.5% of statistics quoted on the internet that's just made up.

Its as equally made up as the OP's  ;D

More seriously, I guess its probably based on my experience of the industry in melbourne.. I know how many muso's (good ones) are busting their arse to get 10 people in the door.. and that 'successful' is the ones that get a few hundred.. which is certainly not enough to be considered 'rich'.. since that might happen once every few weeks, and they get like $300-400 for that by the time everything gets split between the multiple bands that played.

In addition, I know a few people from the cat empire via a friend of a friend type thing.. and I know that after successful national tours in a few different groups that they work with, albums that did sell ok etc. they didnt make much money, and in the cases of a couple of them are totally broke and/or owe money for the production of recordings and such..   they live on other incomes.

...

never mind the "famous" pop stars who don't earn what they appear to because they have zero rights to their music, and their lifestyle is funded by a record company who may drop them at any moment if their records stop selling.

Offline j_menz

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based on my experience of the industry in melbourne..

It lines up with my experience too, which is not quite as up to date. 

As I recall, even a band with the profile of Queen didn't actually make any money for many of their early years for the reasons you state. Lots of pocket money/gifts, but no ownership or stable income.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ajspiano

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It lines up with my experience too, which is not quite as up to date. 

As I recall, even a band with the profile of Queen didn't actually make any money for many of their early years for the reasons you state. Lots of pocket money/gifts, but no ownership or stable income.

The recording industry has been screwing naive musicians for a very long time..

Offline nystul

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I think you are missing the point of pop and rock music.
Hitting notes isn't that important.
Getting an emotional response from the listener is what matters.
Opera leaves me completely cold: i can hear the good technique but it doesn't touch
me emotionally in any way, so for me its all a bit pointless. Portishead on the other hand....

Also, a lot of rock and pop musicians compose their own music and lyrics.
How many opera singers write operas?

Or maybe pop musicians are just smarter? :)

You have pretty much nailed it.  We have to understand that real talent is the ability to capture the audience rather than the ability to play a grade 8 piece at 130 BPM without a wrong note.  When I go to the local jazz festival here in the summers it is amazing how the simple pop/rock covers really get people going.  The crazy bebop solos just don't tend to have the same impact, even though people presumably came to listen to jazz.

Pop stars are one in a million type phenomenons.  They have to put on the biggest show on earth.  Sure, they got a help in terms of marketing, musical production, etc.... but they don't get that stuff until *after* they have convinced a label that they are the next big thing.  That takes some combination of real musical talent and showmanship and some sort of cultural appeal that stands out (having your own message and writing your own music being a part of this).  A hundred thousand try out for American Idol in a year and almost all of them are still on the outside looking in.  I'd bet most that miss the first cut think, how can this be... I was the best singer in my entire high school.  There are tons of garage bands and bar bands but few are ever able to generate a real following.

I think as musicians or wannabe musicians we should know better than anyone how hard it is to entertain a room full of strangers and have them wanting more.  It's something most people in the world simply cannot do.  Your parents and friends are one thing but the real world is hard work.  Shoot, aside from all of the time crafting the art, it takes a lot of self-promotion just to get people to take 2 minutes to listen to a track on the internet and post replies!  And that's when you are giving it away!

Offline pianoman53

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An opera singer would probably sing pop as badly as if a pop singer sang opera. The same with instrumentalists... Don't look down on then just because they need differwnt skills than we do. As a classical musician, we need to play our instrument. In pop, you'll need to know other things, and looks are far more important than for us.
They also appeal to the masses. Far from every pop band has that ability. Just like classical musicians, most people in pop and rock will end up teaching... Soo...

Offline johnmar78

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well, classical music is always the classical, we play the same music except the interpretation may be different. Also, with Pop music that you have more rooms for creating your own lyrics,,,compositions. The set up cost being able to sing is much cheaper than having a decent piano. This is why lots teeagers like pop music. By the way Justin Beaber makes lots lots more money tahn a classicl pianist- a true facts. Mor etahn Lang Lang too  ;D

Offline kakeithewolf

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Take some glitz, add some autotune, toss in some gimmicks, dump in some tasteless dysgeusic lyrics, pour it into the shape of a cookie-cutter marketable face from a crowd (or a bizarre aberration of nature for best effect). Hurl the concocted being into the blender know as the media and have it spat out into nice, formulaic servings to the lemmings of our society.

That is the recipe for a Hollywood starlet (serves an average of 100-200 million portions).
Per novitatem, artium est renascatur.

Finished with making music for quite a long time.

Offline harusame

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pop artists are not necessarily less talented than classical musician

pop music often includes more aspects of art than just music, such as dancing, poetry, stage performance, lightning
this is actually not as simple as one might think

but of course we have really talented pop artist (such as norah jones, although she has a very broad musical genres spectrum), and then we have such thing as justin bieber

Offline davidjosepha

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lol at the concept that pop writers/performers are talentless.. you're obviously not obligated to like them (I sure as hell dont) but they are absolutely not talentless.

Thank you. The elitism in this thread is making me cringe.

The reason classical musicians don't get paid as much should be obvious: there is much less demand for classical music than for contemporary music.

Really, though, I have no problem with that. I have a lot of respect for classical musicians. There is a ridiculous amount of work and talent put into getting to the point they are at. But, to be honest, it's kind of silly. We have hundreds and thousands of pianists, all with impeccable technique, trying to play the exact same pieces in the best way possible. And sure, to us, we can all tell the difference between pianists' different interpretations. But that's because we are familiar with all these pieces, and because we are familiar with every piece of technique used to create a given interpretation. I'll let you all in on a little secret: almost no one else notices these differences, and even fewer people care. If I'm going to be completely honest, we have enough recordings of Fantaisie-impromptu to be getting along with. And any given Chopin etude, and Rach's 3rd, and pretty much every other piece you can name. Don't get me wrong, I love recordings of classical music. But I play the piano because I find it immensely enjoyable and rewarding, and I think that aiming to be a professional pianist just so you can add one more interpretation of Moonlight Sonata to the world's collection of media is ridiculous.

As for performances, again, performers are a dime-a-dozen. I could probably find 5 people in my city who are ready to perform Chopin's 2nd sonata tonight. Again, interpretations vary, blah blah blah, but the average person really doesn't know enough to care.

So what are professional classical performers really bringing to the table? Nothing that hasn't already been done a hundred times over. What is Justin Bieber bringing to the table? An image, and new music. Yes, new music. I know it's the same 4 chords over and over again. But it sounds different to the people who are listening to it, and that's all that matters. After all, you could argue a lot of classical music is pretty much the same, albeit on a different level than pop music.

Offline timothy42b

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Well said, davidjosepha.
Tim

Offline mwtzzz

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It's all about the rhythm, man.
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Offline harusame

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Thank you. The elitism in this thread is making me cringe.

The reason classical musicians don't get paid as much should be obvious: there is much less demand for classical music than for contemporary music.

Really, though, I have no problem with that. I have a lot of respect for classical musicians. There is a ridiculous amount of work and talent put into getting to the point they are at. But, to be honest, it's kind of silly. We have hundreds and thousands of pianists, all with impeccable technique, trying to play the exact same pieces in the best way possible. And sure, to us, we can all tell the difference between pianists' different interpretations. But that's because we are familiar with all these pieces, and because we are familiar with every piece of technique used to create a given interpretation. I'll let you all in on a little secret: almost no one else notices these differences, and even fewer people care. If I'm going to be completely honest, we have enough recordings of Fantaisie-impromptu to be getting along with. And any given Chopin etude, and Rach's 3rd, and pretty much every other piece you can name. Don't get me wrong, I love recordings of classical music. But I play the piano because I find it immensely enjoyable and rewarding, and I think that aiming to be a professional pianist just so you can add one more interpretation of Moonlight Sonata to the world's collection of media is ridiculous.

As for performances, again, performers are a dime-a-dozen. I could probably find 5 people in my city who are ready to perform Chopin's 2nd sonata tonight. Again, interpretations vary, blah blah blah, but the average person really doesn't know enough to care.

So what are professional classical performers really bringing to the table? Nothing that hasn't already been done a hundred times over. What is Justin Bieber bringing to the table? An image, and new music. Yes, new music. I know it's the same 4 chords over and over again. But it sounds different to the people who are listening to it, and that's all that matters. After all, you could argue a lot of classical music is pretty much the same, albeit on a different level than pop music.
well said but i dont think justin bieber is the right example for an exceptionally talented pop artist

Offline mwtzzz

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Classical musicians are fine for what they do, but since most classical musicians are unable to improvise and don't understand harmony, they are not "complete musicians." If you want to be a real musician, you learn to play not only from sheet music but also by ear. Criticism can also be said about pop musicians who only know one or two pentatonic scales and some simple chord progressions.

For people who are musicians (rather than consumers), there should be no classical versus other argument. You should be focusing on developing both sets of skills.
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Music and Jazz Education
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