Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yamaha Behind the Scenes: This Is…NOT American Idol

Once again, we're very pleased to present some behind the scenes insight on from our PianoSoft insider, Cathy. Today's topic: American Idol, and how you can help decide what songs end up on the next PianoSoft album. Enjoy!

I am a member of the department at Yamaha called Content Research and Development (a.k.a. CRD). Among other activities, our department coordinates the development of musical content for Disklavier pianos, Clavinova keyboards and other MIDI keyboards.

I work on a small development team which decides which songs will be produced. This team assembles and assigns PianoSoft projects and songs for the ‘sound alike’ category of the library. You’ll find the ‘sound alike’ songs under “MIDI FILES” and the “Yamaha Play Along Songs” on

A lot of thought goes into the selection process. We don’t simply say, “hmmm, that’s a nice song.” The team knows which songs are Billboard hits (past and present) and which ones are hits or not in terms of sales. We also want to know what songs are played on some of the most popular television programs.

That’s where I come in with one of the happiest assignments.

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Don’t be jealous but here’s what I do for the team. I watch American Idol and Dancing with the Stars and report what music was played, who composed it, and who the original artist is or was and whether the song would work in our formats. The team then analyzes the report and assesses the songs that have potential for our use. Many songs are performed frequently and both of these shows feature guest artists performing their biggest and newest hits. In our business we call that a clue in determining popularity.

OK, I’m kidding around a bit but I am completely serious on the subject of the type of research that is involved in content selection. Let’s go a step further. We can’t think of everything and would really like to know what artists and songs or pieces you wish were in the Yamaha MusicSoft library. Here is a dedicated email address where you may send your suggestions:

You can really help us with product planning so your comments are welcomed. In the meantime, watch for some terrific new collections coming soon:

PianoSoft Solo:

The Lyrical John Williams featuring: "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial Theme," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer," "Theme from 'Jurassic Park'" and more.

"Midnight Cowboy" - Fabulous Film Songs including: “Somewhere in Time,” “Body Heat,” “A View to a Kill” and much more.

Celebrate America: This is a terrific collection just in time for the 4th of July: “You're a Grand Old Flag,” “God Bless the USA,” “Ballad of the Green Berets,” “God Bless America” and many other greats.

PianoSoft Plus:

“In My Life” – Beatles 1965, with hits like: “I've Just Seen a Face,” “In My Life,” “Day Tripper,” “Yesterday” and more.

“This Is My Country” – Songs of America, also in time for the 4th: “This Is My Country,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and others.

Don’t forget to send those emails! We look forward to hearing from you!

- Cathy