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Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 11, Number 1 (2011)

Cautionary Tales from the Changing World of the Hollywood Film and Television Studio Musician

Simeon Pillich
Occidental College
Colburn School Conservatory of Music


The late 1970s technological boom marked a change in the music industry. For the first time, musicians were in many cases replaced with electronic sounds. This was particularly true for Hollywood’s session players. Drum machines replaced percussionists while keyboards consolidated entire string sections. Moreover, these changing times impacted the musicians unions, such as the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), with just as much tension. Thus, perfecting the technical craft of performance was not enough, musicians had to keep pace with the constantly changing business demands of their market. Although several could not keep up, several interviews were conducted in 2011 with musicians who did possess qualities necessary for success. At its core, these qualities express a need for exceptional entrepreneurialism, social and technical professionalism, and genuine respect.

Keywords: music business, music industry, musicians union, Hollywood, film music, television music, recording sessions, American Federation of Musicians, musicianship, music technology, music pedagogy

Pillich, Simeon. “Cautionary Tales from the Changing World of the Hollywood Film and Television Studio Musician.” Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 11, no. 1 (2011): 113-145. https://doi.org/10.25101/11.5

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