Does fakery belong in music?

Does fakery belong in music?

You're watching a live music show on TV, but something doesn't seem right. Should live music be live? Or should we just expect it to be fake?

Audio Masterclass

I like live music, and I like recorded music.

Sometimes however, the distinction between the two can become blurred.

When I go to a live concert, or see music being performed on TV, I expect it to be live. That is that all the singers are singing and all the musicians are playing.

So if someone is playing a keyboard instrument, I expect to hear that instrument.

What I don't like is for the music to be coming from a prerecorded backing track and it only looks as though the singers and musicians are performing.

OK, reality check...

On many TV shows, this just isn't going to happen. I wish this wasn't so, but I understand economic realities.

However, when it is a dedicated music show, I really do expect all the playing to be live. (I will accept a loop in the background where it is appropriate for the genre of music.)

As an example, I choose 'Later', presented by Jules Holland on UK TV.

So there I am, sat in front of my 50-incher watching live music.

Live music...

Except that something seems wrong. The band 'Metric' are performing their song 'Gimme Sympathy'. In front, Emily Haines is singing and playing keyboard.

She is clearly a more talented keyboard player than I am because she is playing it with both hands!

But hang on... She's playing an old Sequential Circuits Pro One.

Which is a monophonic synth. Like many analog synthesizers of the era, it can only play one note at a time.

But she is playing it with both hands. Here is the evidence...




Hmm... There is definitely something suspicious going on here.

So perhaps the Pro One isn't audible in the mix, although it is plugged in. Perhaps it isn't switched on.

Whatever, when I see something like this it makes me suspect everything else that I see. What other fakery was involved in the performance?

The worst is, the wonderful Corinne Bailey Rae was also on the show, singing and playing a very rhythmic guitar. Then I noticed another guitar player's hands moving exactly in time with the sound of (supposedly) Corinne's guitar.

Corinne Bailey Rae

Could this be more fakery?

My heart says no. But when you have been keyed to expect fakery, it spoils one's enjoyment of a genuine performance.

So, do you have any other examples of fakery in live music, music that you would expect to be genuine?

The bad guys need to be outed!

Publication date: Wednesday June 09, 2010
Author: David Mellor



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Earlier discussion on this topic...

Deum, Nowheresville, Us Of A

I didn't know you could watch music.
Sunday August 21, 2011


If you think you can't cut your songs live, then do what Robbie Williams does, let the audience sing your lines for you, yes, and at all your live venues. simple. The lack of musical talent this days is so shocking, I laugh for fear of crying at the thought. I'm an engineer, and I'll tell you that its hard to get an intune vocal from great singers. And then I listen to motown, jazz and soul recordings and wonder where all the great musicinaship and virtuosity went, Has technology made us that lazy to work for perfection?
Tuesday June 22, 2010

Drew, Kc, Mo

Right on Moose! It's all "fake" except accoustic instruments and opera, but who expected it to be real in the first place? When you see a painting you don't say "That tree isn't real" it's the impression of a tree. If the people on stage are "creating" what you are hearing that is the expectation. Most R&B singers I have run FOH for in the last 5 years or so have sung to a cd!
Tuesday June 22, 2010

Moose, Richmond, USA

It's an old argument. Do you think Elvis was playing that guitar most of the time? Anybody remember when Hendrix unplugged Pete Townsend's reel-to-reel, leaving him flailing away on stage? People want it to sound good and they want to be entertained. We play to spoiled audiences. I personally don't like lip syncing, but I don't mind extra instruments or vocals added via media - as long as no one is pretending to play those parts... which has been going on for almost as long as there has been recorded media. So where do we draw the line? For me, if you act like you are doing something, you should be doing it. However, if you are completely against pre-recorded tracks or midi additions to an arrangement and consider that fake; then the only 'real' music is performed live on acoustic instruments with no mics or effects... and you get to hear music only when you go where those performances are; as it was before the advent of recording technology. Heh-heh, that would thin out the herd pretty quick, eh?
Tuesday June 22, 2010

Quickiekeys, Rancho Viejo, Tx, USA

This is FRAUD! Just think of Millie Vanillie, a few yrs. back! My, My, how we've changed! Although I do agree that in some circumstances it is necessary for these performers to fake their way into the hearts of their auciencies, these people should work for their money just like the rest of us. These breed of fakers are rampant in all genres of music and it really makes me sad that many real musicians are being shoved out of making a living by greedy rats that don't evan play a real instrument. Think of "midi files, backing tracks, and countless other forms of trickery," instead of hiring real musicians, one guy/girl sing all night and they sound like a twenty piece orchestra. They charge less, take up less space and so on, and so on. You know what I mean. GOD help us all. "F R A U D S AND F A K E R S BE W A R E, the E N D is closer than you think! There, I've said it! :) Thanks
Sunday June 20, 2010

Sujan, San Jose, California, USA

In my mind, fakery is fraud - especially when a full-on show is acted out with all the hands on stage. It doesn't matter whether its on TV or at a venue, the person on screen/stage is a professional and I expect that person to earn what's due by doing what's worth it. That's what performing arts is all about - PERFORMING the art, not faking it! Growing up in the 80s, one of the bands I'm now nostalgic about is A-ha, and I went to see them recently in LA - their last-hurrah 25-year Anniversary tour. I was very very apprehensive about whether I'd find out if they're just acting - and I can tell pretty quickly if someone is faking, nay, defrauding me. To my utter relief, everyone who had an instrument actually performed their parts live (though there were some pre-sequenced parts to some songs, especially the rhythms). In fact, Mags missed a note during the last Take On Me interlude, and made up for it the second time round by playing a harmonized version of the popular riff with two hands. All the guitars by Pal were live, and he improvised A LOT.
Friday June 18, 2010

Drew, Kc, Mo

When it comes down to it, with the exception of classical orchestra, and some opera, it's ALL fakery,of one sort or another.For example, is the sound coming out of a Marshall stack REALLY what the guitar sounds like? When you sing through a mic, a mic pre, a comp, a reverb, a delay maybe a little chorus whatever, is THAT fakery? When a girl wears a pushup bra? When Mick Jagger dies his hair? When people claim Keith Richards is NOT a Mummy? I say it's ALL A FRAUD!! LOL
Thursday June 17, 2010

Dar Mcwheeler, Toronto, Canada

Folks, it's television. Television! It's not real. Not *any* of it. Not the music, not the so-called reality show, not the "I'm smart now because I watch Discovery/History/Learning channel". Not even the news. According to the people who produce TV filler (the shows), as it's called in the industry, it's all "entertainment", nothing more. But you all want TV to be real. Don't you. Survey says you already believe most of what it says to you. I worked for a long time in telvision. They refer to you, the view, as mindless slugs. Repeat after me: TV is all fake. So, dear suckers, turn off the bloody TV and get a life. Now, actual live music that's sync`d/faked, well, that's another story. A story that starts with the sentence, "These TV watching slugs won't know the difference and won't care. They just want to feel those emotional highs and lows. That's what they're *really* paying for." Please, dear reader, throw away your TV and get a life.
Wednesday June 16, 2010

Ken Randall, West Australia

Yea great reading here great topic created lots of interest... I guess Faking is an art in itself... True live performance should be so but its a changing world and we have to change with it and accept change. I buy a crab stick to eat and there is supposably no crab in it. As long as the performance is slick does it matter. Do we even live in a real world what is real...If the band leaves you guessing was it live or not they must have done an excellent job of faking. If your looking for tiny details to prove it then really you couldnt be truly there just to enjoy the show.
Saturday June 12, 2010

Chris Cuber, Montreal, Canada

I remember seeing a band a few years back at a live venue. The music was jumpin' but there was something about the vocals that seemed "off". They were a little too perfect. This then made me notice that the drummer had headphones on the whole time, with no apparent loops or sequenced accompaniment (modern ska-ish affair with guitar, bass, drums, small horn section). I then consciously studied the guitarist's hands and caught what I believed to be small rhythmic inconsistencies between what I was hearing and seeing. Last straw: I got up to have a look at the bass player, more specifically his rig. He was "apparently" playing through a small Ashdown stack, the ones who proudly sport those old-school VU meters on the front. Needless to say, the VU's needled wasn't jumping along with the bass player's fingers. I walked out.....
Friday June 11, 2010

Simon Wood, Uk

Great topic David We once played a festival and went on straight after 4 mimed acts (girl power pop type stuff) they all had their own wireless mics that were turned down during the playback mime and then turned up 3 seconds before song end to allow the girls to say "thank you" etc. the crowd received a studio quality sound delivery and the illusion of LIVE was pretty good considering there were at least 4 singers that could cover any gaps or lip synch errors. When we went on (2 gtrs, bass, drums 2 vocals) there was no time for a sound check, and the sound guy literally turned the wireless mics up to full, laid the mics on the floor!! next to the amps and a couple near the drum kit, then went off to get a beer as we strike our first chord. The people thought we sounded shite and we did, but in comparison to the mimed girl bands it looked and sounded even worse. as horrible as that was, I still believe that at least some of all live performances should be live. I would have felt very uncomfortable miming to our CD. kicked in samples, synths with 30 strong strings, it's all fine with me but it should be obvious to the audience, simply trying to palm a mime session off as live is not good and breaks the musicians code it clearly ignites passion in many people
Thursday June 10, 2010

Nurredin, Las Vegas, USA

While you and I don't like it, the music buying public(what's left of them) either doesn't know or doesn't care. I just bought software for my laptop that plays a sampled real horn section. When the keyboardist is playing this,you hear real horns but they're not on stage. I think it's fakery,but I can't afford six horns on stage with me here in Vegas. Same goes for a real orchestra. Got to talk to celine Dioone's keyboardist,and I thought she had a hidden string section. It was him with a Garritan plug in on a laptop. He said there was no budget for 30 string players,so there he was. Is it wrong? I think it is,but the realities of being on a budget force us to do things like that.In the case of someone faking to play chords on a monophonic synthesizer,who in the record buying public is going to catch that? There are even singers using Autotune in live performances now,so you don't have to have any talent,just stand there and look good. It's sad,but that's just the way it is.Those of us who spent years becoming proficient on an instrument or two may just have wasted all that time.
Thursday June 10, 2010

Steve West And The Latitude, Esperance, Western Australia

I, along thousands of other performers in the world use backing tracks, either MIDI or prerecorded mp3, in my duo at my live gigs, which are mainly covers at pubs and clubs etc. This is what my intended audience know and expect from us. We also play a lot of acoustic live material in our sets so that the audience know that we are "for real". By the same token if I was selling out concerts in arenas for thousands of people I would definitely have a LIVE BAND!! Horses for courses hey?
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Wayne Morris, Sydney, Australia

Not self respecting muso would fake it on stage. It sorts the talented from the talentless. I think its alright to have the odd backing track, But if you are miming to your own vocal or instrument track then you have no cred in my book. When I see a live show I don't want it to be like the CD, I like a bit improvising.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Derek, Darwin, Australia

Saw Van Halen on Youtube once doing Jump live and the pre-recorded synth part was played back in the wrong key and the band kept going but the lead sounded awful over the top of it all as did most of the song. At least they were playing live even if the synth was]nt.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Dennis @ Digitrax Studio, Schererville , USA

I Read recently that RUSH was asked to perform at the last Olympics and declined because they wanted them to play to prerecorded music. Hats off to them for sticking to their principles.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

David Topple, Exeter, UK

The one that always gets me is the appearance of a band on stage with, among other instrumentalists, a guitarist and a bassist, but no guitar or electric bass in the recording.
Wednesday June 09, 2010


Isn't it possible that emily haines needs both hands to play a monophonic part? For example, if she wanted to play a high note, and then a much lower note right away? The fact that she's pressing two keys at the same time doesn't change that either, you get a very distinct sound on some monophonic patches by playing two notes and then lifting one of them. Seriously, David, this is the stupidest argument I've ever seen published by a music industry professional. I'm a synth player, you can't imagine how pissed off I would be if somebody accused me of not actually playing because I was using two hands with a monophonic synth
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Tom Hartman, Boca Raton Fl, United States

Cher used AutoTune as an EFFECT, not to help here sing better. Cher can sing just fine.... TH
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Bill Horn, Lakeland, USA

Ashlee Simpson's performance on SNL comes to mind. The guy at the controls played the wrong song, and the band didn't know what to do. Ashlee didn't know the words, and it was a complete disaster. I personally have a problem with faked performances. When I go to see someone live, I'm going to hear them perform the music live, not pretend to do so. I feel cheated when that happens. I am fine with supplementation of instruments that are on the record but not in the band in a loop, but that is a different story than someone not actually singing their own songs live or playing their own instruments live. If you can't play, please don't pretend. Be yourself. Don't try and deceive us all concerning your actual lack of talent.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Gauge Studios, Salem, Or, USA

Now a days there seems to be a difference between being a high caliber musician or artist vs being an entertaining performer. There are quite a lot of people that are in the music industry because of a hot body and coincidentally they have an "interest" in music too. Some label found them and they are over produced and "made". This by its self is very deceiving to an ignorant audience. With this group of performers their career depends entirely on how entertaining their live performance is. if they are a mediocre vocalist, for example, then it would be potentially devastating for them to give a performance below par. SO... They fake it. Here is the thing...I could take a mediocre vocalist and work with them to get the best takes in studio that will represent the best of their voice, given enough time, but that does not make the artist any better a vocalist or musician then they were when they walked into my studio. If they were mediocre when they came in they will be mediocre on the way out only now with a great sounding album. That mediocrity will bleed over into any live performance that they do. I wonder what music would look like if engineers and producers had a unanimous agreement to not record and produce artists that could not perform live...? I think there has been a prestige lost in the music world. I love studio tricks and I am a good engineer but sometimes it is still misrepresenting. To me there is nothing more cool then seeing a show where this no name band/artist is up on stage performing really really well! There is a magic to it that is hard to define. I think that the art of live shows is becoming more and more gray. Where did the ART go? When was PASSION replaced for MORE money? I kinda feel ripped off when I see fake shows. Maybe this is a bad analogy but its kinda like going to a convenient store and seeing the chicken strips in the hot bar thinking that sounds good and then come to find out its dry and flavorless or that they gave you the ones that were in the back that had been in there all day when there were perfectly fresh ones in the front... just not right... just not right... I would rather see a bad performance from some one then see a fake one! I value integrity and musicianship. If you don't have BOTH those things in the music industry you are offering a product that is not only beneath YOU (of which you ARE capable of offering a higher quality product) but also is disrespectful to the fans as THEY deserve better! With letting "Fake" slide it takes away from the necessary drive of an artist to get better and perfect their art. I think we are at fault for letting the lesser do. Don't settle! Make Great Music!
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Juan Ignacio Fellay, Zárate, República Argentina

It may not be the subject of debate, but I have no recollection of seeing ugly musicians, or some bodily characteristics do not go with the aesthetics of this globalized world. Where are the musicians we see in our towns?
Wednesday June 09, 2010


Many acts either lip synch or do what is called a "plus-one" where the singer is singing along with their recorded tracks. Or the backup singers used on the record do not add up to the same number hired and present at the live show. American Idol does this during the group numbers on "results night." The voices are pre recorded tracks of the contestants. The performers can't be on time and on key while moving about the stage at their “amateur” level and the production looks more polished by going the lip sync route. The back up voices on these group performances have often been not just the group's but professionals added to enhance the sound of the recording. Technically, mixing so many mics weaving in and out during the choreography the contestants perform can cause problems for the mixing engineers mixing for both FOH and TV. Paul McCartney was always concerned about what his performance was going to sound like coming over a small TV speaker and declined to perform on a TV show where he had no artistic control, so I've read. This was back when average television broadcast for audio, their amplifiers and speakers was far from audiophile quality of a home stereo even for those times. Although Ed Sullivan was a stickler for live performances, there has been at least one famous live Sullivan performance that was lip synced. Record companies feel that sales are affected by an artist's live performance if it does not sound as good as the record so will insist the artist lip sync or at least plus-1 a live performance with the live vocal buried under the recorded track. There have been a few good famous singers who have resorted to this technical poetic license. The Carpenters have lip synced on the Johnny Cash show where Karen had to play drums while singing. The tom hits don’t match the hits she made “live” and her vocal is too clean and dry without the high hat bleeding into her vocal mic. Superbowl night in the US hosts many top notch groups where the music is prerecorded and maybe just the lead vocals are live. I say maybe because the jury is not out on the vocals but I have seen one Superbowl performance of The Who where it does appear Daltrey goes off sync or his mouth shapes don’t match the sound coming out of the speakers or Townshend's windmill guitar moves are not visually what is on the track. Producers do this to preclude any technical malfunctions that would cause the show to falter, creating millions of dollars worth of damage to the sponsors of the game's broadcast or in case an act decides to extend a chorus or solo that was not planned for in the timeline and delay the next part of the event or, for some reason, sabotage the entire event by choosing to be political at that moment, as has happened during other televised events in the past. The producers are prepared then for this by insisting the performance be prerecorded. They want to have complete control of anything that has to do with the event. MTV's 1997 video music awards night Fiona Apple's "Go With Yourself" speech is one incident where the artist decides to take the fate of the producer’s sponsors in their own hands. Sinéad O'Connor's 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live where she shifted plans of singing about child abuse to a rant against the Catholic Church by tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II on camera, is another. Clearly the control of the show is in the producer's hands and if they are spending the money then they need to keep things on track and not leave it to some broken guitar cable or wayward artist going rogue or an off night by the talent and crew. Today it's about a performance that has more to do with a total overall sound rather than just an artist's ability to perform live. Once an artist has an image, that image must be upheld and people do expect that the artist sounds just like their records and only because average listeners have no ideas or interest in the technical aspects that make someone a star. This is many times impossible just from the way things are recorded today with so many editing and mixing techniques used, slicing and dicing vocal tracks' every vowel so they sit over the music as well as can be done by 25 Pro Tools editors over a period of months that the production becomes the sound of the artist. There are artists that can duplicate their sound live as they thought ahead if the song would be performable after the record comes out. In the case of Britney Spears, many of her fans do not care if she lip syncs. They just want to breathe the same air she does seeing her live. Prices for live concerts have gone up over the years. The more an artist has to spend on his or her live show performance, these costs will end up at the ticket office in increased ticket prices. It is difficult to find talent and mass appeal in one package. The machinery that creates the star image demand like the Idol shows or Star Search where Britney evolved from, have to take things as they come. After all these stars are only human and can't be good at everything all the time. It's just a show and live performances all have their own ups and downs. The trick is witnessing when a particular artist is in good form. This does not happen every night for most artists. You Tube is full of hit makers sounding like garage band versions of themselves. After viewing these performances, you realize that the recording and record producer had a lot to do with the artist's success.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Rat, Mexico City

Setting everything up for just a couple of songs is a lot of work and many shows can't afford it. But in the examples above, I don't think it's musically deceiving. Someone is actually _playing_ a guitar, just not the one you were expecting. Then the so-called performer would be cheating, but the music would still be enjoyable. I also think it's lame when a rock band can't perform their own recordings. Of course some recordings can't really be reproduced live (or would be too expensive), but some acts can't even play or sing the part. Would you rather have them playing badly, or have them faking it while other people plays well? Maybe if they're cute?
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Er, Nashville, USA

Music? There are those you can and those you can't. It's interesting this television thing because recently I did a record tour and believe it or not many if not most of the major TV stations were NOT set up to do live sound. Even if they had the audio equipment to properly record artists appearing on the show they did not have the "in house" audio engineer to make it sound good especially over TV. Most of the time the "Audio guy" was some intern or recent graduate from the local college who had a communications degree and little sound experience. I experienced the throughout the tour. City after City they wanted you to lip sync to track - even singing live to track was marginal because of their audio processing skills, many didn't even have a reverb box that they could patch into the performer vocal mic. You'd think in this age of technology they would have at least a 24 or 16 channel Mackie with audio efx - but most of the TV stations didn't have was bring your own instrument ( I play keyboards and had to slug a portable controller around with me just to have a prop on camera that I could play during while being on the air.) Most stations didn't even have a piano on site and most admitted "up front" that they weren't equipped to do "live sound." So there you have it the artist needs the market exposure and to direct traffic to their website/my space or whatever but the medium of Television is NOT geared for live least in most markets. Of course if you do Lettermen or Leno they have the best of the best but take it on the road to Atlanta, Birmingham, Des Moines, Tulsa, even Nashville and believe or not they don't even have skilled audio engineers in the work force pool to assist with making you sound good - they are on deadline - you got three minutes to do your song and if your really lucky you got 2 more minutes to do the panel where they interview you about your song. For the most part if you can't sync to track youre gonna suffer badly over the air not because you Can't cut it live - but because they can't capture it LIVE and really could care less - you're just another artist promoting your wares, tommorrow another one arrives or maybe next week or month. Moral - Be prepared - audiences do NOT understand the logistics or technical aspects of seeing you they only see the FINAL outcome - even if you sound GREAT LIVE in the TV Studio - and the sound SUCKS over the TV Speaker ....guess what ....YOU SUCK. So be over prepared not to SUCK take a full blown track with you.....make it simple hand em' a CD - set up your guitar.....lip sync as perfect as you can and give em' one hell of an interview....then chances are you won't SUCK no matter how good you are. ER
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Roger Renwall, Tammisaari, Finland

Everybody I know from my start at 1965 think that sing- and or playback is bull. I still think so. I don't recall if Supremes or other groups at that time made at least singback. I think maybe it's possible. The criterias were expensive. The artist just had to play his best on every gig. No backdoor support. Think about all those BigBands who played night after night the same tunes over and over. I really wan't to pay my respect to those guys. The were professionals. The leader could say, "tonight we play the B-part in these tune synchopotating". Everybody knew what it ment.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Macvee, New York, USA

Mmm I guess if you can use auto tune on tracks,build up any artist not on talent but on looks alone and have the audience go ga ga anything should be permitted. Once Cher got away with using auto tune on stage and Milli Vanilli lip synced for such a long time without detection I knew it was a rap. You cant really fault the so called entertainer or production teams of today for being lazy to that end most of them have no real talent and don't want to work hard to achieve their best performance on stage like the entertainers of the past. You can and should blame the public for acceptance of today's low budget(feeling) performance acts where being cute is all you need to fake it. The public has accepted what ever and call it entertainment,they don't know or don't care that they have been had even though their souls keep yearning for that ultimate connection between it and the body. We seem to always go back to past music to quench our souls thirst and redeem it,when it should be an ongoing process. If the record labels want their sales to go up they need to stop signing up people on looks alone and go back to when talent alone was the overriding factor. You can fool the eyes but you cant fool the soul and when it not hungry for what it has listened to it will not ask you to stick your hand in your pocket. Your soul needs and want real food. You see your soul would rather starve and go into hibernation till it can be fed right.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Alex, Uk

Regarding the Pro-One. Was she playing chords, or holding notes down to play Legato lines.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Michael Buchbinder, New York, United States

Everyone has a valid point! However, so long as artists and bands sell tickets and there is a demand for them, fakery or not, it's gonna go on for as long as they can. The common person can't tell the difference, and if you're a music person and holding front row tickets and detect trickery no doubt it's gonna spoil it for you, but it's kinda expected nowadays so you go along with it. But that's true for pop shows with big budgets! if I was to go I'd probably be enjoying the event rather than focused of what's going on musically. I would absorb the whole show as a performance rather than individual effort. When I wanna see real talent I go to see Jeff Beck in a small cosy club.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Michael, Shreveport, Louisiana, United States

i believe cheating is wrong. i believe faking is wrong. is it not deception? isn't deception wrong? isn't it equally wrong to pretend to perform live when You are syncing with a track? must everything these days be virtual? we must be in the end times folks!
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Ciro, Barcelona, Spain

I'm a solo acoustic guitarist using loops to make live shows, and I think it's "acceptable" in this context because they were crafted for this purpose, but definitely I'm playing while I use them..
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Swen, Loerrach, Germany

Some years ago, I saw a german hardrock band on TV, first in an interview telling how much the hated electronic music, because sampling and looping, and a lack of musical competance of its makers. Then the played a "live" Song without even using the right cords on the guitar, they didn't even pretend to. They didn't use the 7"single version of their song, but a version that had been "streamlined" to sound live (a little faster with some more reverb). And the singer interacted with the TV-studio crowd to "perfect" the illusion..... I think its about "who" is presenting "what". When a "mainstream-popband" is performing in a TV-Show, I understand economical reasons. When a TV-broadcaster tells a blues-guitar player to do so in a music related show, this is nonsense- and when its done its a fake, because you would not expect this to be playbacked. Íts, as always, a very thin line between "Show" and "Deceiving".
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Douglas Baldwin, Sound Beach, USA

Music is the performance of sound. Theatre is the performance of appearance. Let us try not to confuse the two, although one may be presented as the other.
Wednesday June 09, 2010


You are wrong for excpecting things on TV to be real, TV is TV and reality is something different. I think is ok to fake something but I'm not sure if faking only one instrument is worth it, but it's ok, we got to eat and this is not a trick for musicians, this is for the people, keep the illusion and sell records.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Tim Bc, Maidenhead, England

Whilst I agree with your comments about the veracity (or lack of) of artists and band singing/miming to playback, it is worth remembering that probably 99% of the audience won't notice or even worse, won't care! Who remembers the days when bands like Status Quo used to perform on Top Of The Pops with mics and guitars that weren't plugged in? I must be showing my age or my cynicism!
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Shumon Rahman, Stoke, UK

I saw a heavy metal band which I wont name, having paid alot of money for a packed arena, the drummers rig goes upside down while he plays the most technical of drum lines. Only - its obviously a trigger on the pads. Was dissapointed, but then I think its important to view concerts as an experience for the visitor. Not everyone goes along to see the musicianship and ability (like I do), they go for an experience. Certainly nobody I could see in the arena cared, it was "mostly" live......
Wednesday June 09, 2010

John Greenland, Phoenixville, USA

The most troubling thing related to this issue is how few people care. Fake, instant spectacle are God, and the rest - things like talent - are non-issues. This has been true for 40 years in the visual arts, why not music? Thank you, Andy Warhol.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Lanny Papp, East Haven, USA

In my opinion, most of the artists who are all over the tabloids and the radio (raking in mega-bucks and monopolizing the industry like a fast spreading fungus) aren't good enough to cut it "live" - and neither is their music. They over-produce the material in the studio, and are then forced to incorporate these extravagant live "shows" into their "concerts" in order to make it all interesting enough for us to want to listen to / see. Let's face it David - decadence and controversy have taken over as key selling points in the music industry nowadays, and it can only get worse in a business that is now driven solely by money.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Jean-guillaume Birot, Paris, France

The most ridiculous things (in France but i'm sure that's same in others countries) is that if you want to see real live music, you have to watch music TV contest ("La nouvelle star" the french version of "American Idol") with poor artistic value. Actually we have a few talk-shows with real live performance (except for american pop singers such as Lady Gaga), far from the quality you can find in UK, and a pair of good musical show fully dedicated to live performance. Fakery is only for non-musical show who have musical guest sometimes. I think we are in a better situation than it was in the 80's where everybody use "playback" on TV. And we were shocked when Madonna invented the full "playback show" (because she could not dance and sing at the same time) in the early 80's. Now it turns to Britney who doesn't even try to move her mouth during her live "giant video clip" show.
Wednesday June 09, 2010

Antonio Carlos Coimbra, Santo Andre, Portugal

It isn't fakery. It's a way of "framing" a canvas. On TV the sound is very important but the picture isn't less important. If someone is going to present a song on TV, sometimes it isn't practical to bring along and set the paraphernalia that is necessary for a live show. So, they make it look as live as possible, if the vocals are live, it's good enough. On a live show, however, things are VERY different. When you pay a lot to watch people that pretend to play or sing(Britney Spears comes to mind, she did something outrageous in my country, full play-back...) than I believe that they shouldn't get any payment at all and receive a lot of exposure in the media as cheaters, instead.
Wednesday June 09, 2010