Minnesota Twins phase out local music programming, amp up Top 40 hits

Categories: Local Music
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Photo by Andrea Swensson
With the first month of the Twins season completed, Minnesota baseball fans may have noticed something a little different about this year's home games: The music. That's because longtime music director Kevin Dutcher, who was with the team from 2000 up until last year's inaugural season in the new stadium, has been removed from his post and replaced by 96.3 NOW programming assistant Dan Edwards.

As Chris Riemenschneider at the Star Tribune points out, 96.3 NOW is owned by the Pohlad family, who also owns the Twins, so the new hire was likely business-related. But what does that mean for music fans?

For starters, we can forget about any local music programming in the stadium. Last season, Dutcher kicked off every game by spinning a song by a Minnesota band and displaying the band's name on the big screen. That tradition has been quietly phased out, only to be replaced by pregame "club mixes" by some of Edwards' DJ friends from 96.3 NOW. Additionally, the music played between innings and while the home players walk up to bat have taken a turn toward the mainstream.

In other words, if you feel like you're hearing the same batch of songs being played every game -- well, it's because you are.

Though it isn't entirely his decision, the music director does help each player to select their walk-up music. Some players, like Jim Thome, leave the decision up to Edwards, while others are more hands-on in the selection process. Here is a sampling of the Twins' walk-up music this season, which Edwards provided to our sports blogger, Peter Schilling, at the beginning of the season:

Denard Span CF: "Hustle Hard" by Ace Hood/"Not A Star" by Rick Ross
Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2B: "Spitfire" by The Prodigy
Joe Mauer C: "What You Know" by T.I.
Justin Morneau 1B: "Highway to Hell", "Stormy May Day", and "Ain't Noise Pollution", all by AC/DC
Jim Thome DH: The theme 300
Michael Cuddyer RF: "Til I Collapse" by Eminem/"H.A.M." by Kanye West and Jay Z/"One More Road to Cross" by DMX
Jason Kubel LF: "Brass Monkey" by the Beastie Boys/"Bleed it Out" by Linkin Park
Danny Valencia 3B: "All of the Lights" by Kanye West and Rihanna/"Over" by Drake
Alexi Casilla: "Si No Le Contesto" by Plan B
Delmon Young OF: >Poppin" by Ludacris (actually "Pussy Poppin", but you can bet those lines won't be heard in the ballpark)/"Racks" by YC
Matt Tolbert IF: "Ghosts N Stuff" by Deadmau5
Jason Repko IF: A guitar rift by his father
Drew Buterra C: "The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco

As for the music played between innings, Edwards seems to rely on the same limited set of Auto-Tuned pop hits that are in heavy rotation at 96.3 NOW, plus the recurring snippet of the Mr. C the Slide Man song "Cha-Cha Slide" that robotically insists "Everybody clap your hands." In other words, no more local music (like the Atmosphere and Hold Steady songs Dutcher would spin to rally the crowd last season), no indie music, no rock 'n' roll, no oldies. No variety, whatsoever.

So what's the big deal? Well, this switch toward Top 40 music programming goes against the grain of every other element of Target Field. The concession stands are decidedly Minnesota-oriented, and the limestone walls of the stadium were mined from Kasota, Minnesota -- symbolizing the stadium's commitment to honoring the cultural and geographical heritage of our state. Taking away the local music element seems like a slap in the face for anyone who cares about the complete experience of a baseball game, smells and sights and sounds included.

As of today, requests to interview Edwards about the changes to the Twins music programming have gone unanswered. So to acquaint ourselves with the new music director, we perused his Twitter feed for some of his musings on the music in his life. Here are a few examples: 

Kesha amazes me. "Blow" is #3 in America right now, on the way to #1...and is a repeat of her last 3 records.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

On my way to the park blasting LMFAO...perfect way to start a day!less than a minute ago via Twitter for Android Favorite Retweet Reply

Looking at music research right now...music is so strong and so diverse right now. LOVE it! Usher, Kanye, Britney, Enrique, Cee Lo awesome!less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply


To be fair, this isn't a criticism of Edwards specifically. After all, he didn't hire himself. And who knows, maybe there is a chance that he could expand the playlist a bit as he adjusts to his new position. But at this point in time, a pleasant sunny afternoon spent taking in baseball will be accompanied by blaring club hits, and something about that just doesn't seem quite right. 

What do you think? Does the music played at Target Field affect your enjoyment of the game? Or is music just background noise for most people at the game?

UPDATE: I spoke with the Minnesota Twins VP of Marketing Patrick Klinger about these changes, read our discussion here.


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64 comments
guestt
guestt

WHAT ABOUT BEN REVERE???

Tim
Tim

I'm not sure whether the writer of this piece is unaware that the "300 theme" is actually a song of Nine Inch Nail's The Fragile, or if she thinks we are.

Mphilly
Mphilly

If it's any consolation, I know I heard a Free Energy song at one of the games this year. So at least that's a start.

Spikeinlf
Spikeinlf

I enjoy the MINNESOTA music at MINNESOTA'S new ballpark! The music enhances the experience and thus, local music adds to our unique culture and way of life, here in the Great White North! Bring back the Burbs, Prince, Dylan, the Replacements, Soul Asylum, the Jayhawks, Atmosphere, Gear daddies, et al. Make Target Field as special musically as it is visually!!! Remember, there's NO crying in baseball... and NO place for top 40 pop music, either, not in OUR house! GO TWINS!!

P.S. I've been to two games this year already, and have tix for eight more! Word! ;}

Geoff
Geoff

The "sing along with T.C." song at the home opener was a lady gaga song. Everyone on the video board was just standing there with no one singing, that should tell you everything you need to know about the new music this year.

Troy
Troy

I think local baseball fans should be "phased" out of the game then too! The Twins want the local fans but don't want to support local entertainment, WTF?

Andrew Bryz-Gornia
Andrew Bryz-Gornia

First, I'd like to point out that Dan mentioned to me on Twitter that virtually every batter chose his own music this year.

Second, if he's on Twitter, I can't see why you can't just make some suggestions to him about what you'd like to hear. Complaining about it publicly is awfully passive-aggressive.

By the way, if I'm listening to music, I couldn't care less about the origins of the band. If I think it sounds good, I'll listen to it. I'm not interested if the band is from Florida, Minnesota, or friggin' England. I'm definitely not a fan of the Top 40 hits though... considering my favorite bands include Thrice and Dream Theater, two bands that will likely never have their music played in a sports arena, I already know what it's like to not hear my favorites in the ballpark.

FSN already tried promoting a local band when they had that GB Leighton song last year, and it bombed horribly. Maybe that's a reason why the Twins are shying away from local music this year?

Tvpmd
Tvpmd

Hate it, hate it, hate it. If I wanted to listen to that "stuff" I'd pay my $10 cover charge and go to some dance club. The article touched on it. Target Field is a place that Minnesotians can embrace and call their own. The local music just fit. The "walk up" music is fine. Whatever helps 'em get jacked up. And God knows...they need help at this point. The music is unbeareable in the Metrodome during Vike's games. Now we have to put up with it at Target Field? Great. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

jasonk
jasonk

I LOVE the new music format at Target Field. Go Dan!

Al
Al

Whatever happened to only organ music at ballgames? There are enough distractions at Target Field, now we have to get columns about the music? Sheesh... play ball!

Dusty Punch
Dusty Punch

"Looking at music research right now...music is so strong and so diverse right now. LOVE it! Usher, Kanye, Britney, Enrique, Cee Lo awesome!"

This guy is a complete and utter douche. If Dan Edwards is listing all of those artists as reason why today's music scene is so diverse, he is an even bigger douche than I had originally thought.

50 Cents
50 Cents

Rich get richer, poor get poorer.

Ostpp
Ostpp

This change is just another poor decision by Twins management. Last year the music gave the game a more fun twist. This year feels more commercial. I doubt I'll take in any more Twins games this year

Sparky
Sparky

Anything but that ghods-awful thing from GBL last year. Sheesh.

Mac
Mac

Ugh. Another reason to skip watching the Twins at Target Field. Love the Twins & the stadium, but it's hard to watch them right now. And now it'll be a pain to listen as well.

Drguano
Drguano

I've heard better music echoing out of the white porcelain bandshell after an evening of bean burritos and cheap beer. Typical Pohlad business decision.

Ffchamp22
Ffchamp22

Dan is the biggest tool alive...I don't know how he got this job...Real Dan Edwards? REALLY? that moniker says it all about this guy...

Mrs. Hogue
Mrs. Hogue

i will definitely NOT be going to any Twins games with that garbage being foreced into my head No thank you.

lover
lover

They need to play "Don't Call Them Twinkies" at every game. I don't know how a twins fan could listen to that and not get a little teary-eyed. That song should be the twins anthem.

Pragmatic1
Pragmatic1

I just love how everyone on here thinks they are a music expert. I love music but I couldn't give a care what's playing at the stadium I'm there for the game and if you can't support your team because you don't like the music in the park you should re-examine your loyalty to that team

mickey
mickey

You don't see Fenway blaring top 40 back to back hits; they have one of the biggest fan bases and it is because there is culture that comes along with the team & bands like Dropkick Murphys are big part of that. They embrace the local fare and whether people have heard of the bands they grow to love them because they are homegrown. Give fans another reason to feel like this team is actually theirs please.

MnGrrl
MnGrrl

I can see both sides- However, I will say that I think a combo of new music and local music is a fair deal. Keep the local band opening the game and mix it up during other breaks. Somtimes a Top 40 can Rev up a crowd a little more than a local band just because its familiar, however- use some of the local bands more often at each game so fans become familiar with it as well- and always put the local bands name up on the Jumbo so people know who they are.. I do enjoy the Top 40 and will agree music "these days" is pretty pointless and the DJ mixes of some of them at the game are pretty bad..

Nik
Nik

I want to cry. Replacing our extremely diverse and talented pool of local artists we can all be proud of and support, with club crap that you can hear anywhere??? Who ever is in charge seems to not get it ...Speaking of support ... Wasn't it local people (artists included) who just built you a new stadium?

Rdraeger626
Rdraeger626

This is really sad. Minnesota is the birthplace of a lot of great music! We should be spending this opportunity to feature Minnesota bands for the Minnesota Twins instead of further promoting the monster that is consumer/Hollywood driven pop music that, while good music, not locally grown. Plus, what happened to good old fashion Hammond B3 organ music? I know for me, personally, nothing get's me in the mood for a baseball game then a hot dog and some organ riffs.

Karijo84
Karijo84

While I will say I am disappointed by this change, it's kind of irregardless of my music tastes. As a Minnesota transplant from Iowa 5 years ago, one thing I really love about the cities/this state is their local pride. I loved how Target field, when it opened, really culminated that sense of pride into a physical location- Minnesota Limestone, Minnesota food vendors, Minnesota music. Are you ever going to please everyone? No. But I feel if we start giving in to what other stadiums do, it seems like we're losing a little integrity- and I'm fairly sure that through simple searching, you could find plenty of local artists who have more of a "top 40" sound than an indie sound (if that's what you wanted), you'd have a sound you thought more fans wanted while still keeping it local. Hopefully this can be resolved.

Hipster Beater
Hipster Beater

It's ironic that Hipsters eschew anything that is remotely mainstream,yet they have no problem pursuing acceptance of their music by the masses.

bb
bb

His comment about music being so diverse made me laugh hard when I read the acts he listed! Mainstream and nothing diverse about themPlease bring back Minnesota Music!

Gary
Gary

Almost worse than the lack of variety is the stentorian volume. They've upped the level by about 30 decibels this year. I don't know if they're trying to recreate the ear-bleeding atmosphere of the Dome or the faux excitement and blaring bombast of a T-Wolves game, but it sure doesn't feel like a day at the park. It's more like a night at the disco or a high school "sock hop". I actually enjoy a lot of dance music for working out, but if I wanted to have to yell over the music to talk to the person sitting next to me, I'd go to a Taio Cruz concert, not a baseball game. Can't we just eat our snacks and watch the Twins lose in peace?

NotStuckin1993
NotStuckin1993

I never once noticed that they were playing or promoting local music last year. There are 3000 other places I can go to hear local music. I'm also sure the Cysco food truck is delivering plenty there, which is the food version of "top 40" music. And of course they got the building materials in MN. It's expensive to haul. Duh.

Last time I checked indie music and rock & roll ARE oldies. How many of these creepily too white, overly liberal arts educated, whine fests can the city pages write? It's mind dulling. I am beyond bored. It's just pop music. I hear it at every single other national sports event in America. I mean really...

JollyGent
JollyGent

It's too bad that they picked GB Leighton to be the headliner- that song is even worse than Top 40 dredge.

F Harijoto
F Harijoto

BRING BACK DUTCHER!!!! You guys are crazy to let him go!

beans
beans

Do Twin fans actually listen to to local music? It seems the players sure don't.

Alex
Alex

Man, this guy seems like the worst. Anyone who speaks positively of LMFAO should not be in any position with "music" in its title.

Troy Harrison48
Troy Harrison48

Gotta rember who pay your salary? ( Mn twins) YOUR FANS!!!! why don't you ask fans what they like? If you piss fans. off revenue goes down! ALL EMPLOYEES. LOSE PLAY GOOD. STUFF 80-90. LONG TIME BEER MAN!

darkfold
darkfold

As a local band we're definitely disappointed. Plus, with the fragmentation of music over the last 2 decades mainstream pop music is really not that "pop" anymore; there are so many other genres and options for finding music that people don't rely on top 40 radio to find music anymore. It's interesting that the Twins are going in the opposite direction of music fans everywhere, who are embracing the iPod-shuffle-ification of music and the randomness that results. Now we have ONE genre getting represented. Yuck. So much for diversity and exploring new music. Luckily, the Current is still going strong.

4everChubs
4everChubs

Kevin Slowey's is "Slow Ride" by Fog Hat. Best one on the team!

Tolbert used to have "Regulators"... It was awesome because the clip was from the beginning of the song, which was "I Keep Forgetting" by Michael McDonald.

Brent Snyder
Brent Snyder

It's no coincidence that the Twins are playing as horribly as the music selection at Target field. Like the music, there seems to be little inspiration at this time at Target Field. By the sound of Edward's tweets, he may need to spend some quality time at the Dutcher house and learn a few things about diversity. With diversity comes growth and that's exactly what the Twins need right now.

Goparks
Goparks

I think I have actually heard the beginning of "Metropolis-Part I" used rarely at some sports events, etc... so there is someone out there at least aware of DT. The only music I distinctly remember from the three games I went to (and all the others I watched on TV) was the pre-game intro with the beginning of Floyd's "Time". THAT better not go awa

BringBackMNMusic
BringBackMNMusic

I think you're missing the point with your defense Dan. The reason a lot of the people on here are complaining isn't because of the taste Dan has in music, it's the taste he doesn't have. Twins and music fans who have been going to games for the past decade were quite honestly spoiled by Kevin's freedom to play whatever he wanted. Sure there were times (WE fest sponsorships come to mind) where he played to the masses. No one is ever going to be 100% happy with what gets played at a baseball game, but he was good at what he did. But he could play a top 40 hit followed up by a band like the Replacements. Last year with the opening of Target Field, he had an even bigger and fresher audience. I recall interviews on The Current, in CP and other publications. All praising his relationships with the local music scene. Then after the season, the Twins decide to make a change. They hire Dan, who I'm sure would even admit couldn't tell the difference between Husker Du or The Hold Steady. Dan is a human and i'm sorry that people are choosing to pick on him.. but the music at games this season (I've been to 7) is comparable to the Twins removing all the great food venders and going back to what they had at the Metrodome. I'm not even a fan of the Current, but it's a great example of how people in Minneapolis have embraced more eclectic (and sometimes local) music. The Twins embraced this last year and then for no given reason completely abandoned it.

Also.. the GB Leighton comment.. That song, I believe, was commissioned by FSN and not the Twins. It was a complete bomb. Comparing that to what Kevin did isn't even close to fair. There is a difference in asking a local commodity with suburban ties to write a (crappy) song about the Twins and Kevin playing a song by the Hold Steady.

If that's the reason (i doubt it) for "shying" away from local music.. then the Twins are even dumber than people think.

I've been tweeting at dan for a week now.. and still haven't gotten answers to any of my questions.. @TwinsCritic:twitter

lover
lover

I agree, in a lot of other places around the country and around the world people actually chant songs at sporting events. I think twins fans need there own songs to rally around ... like "Don't Call Them Twinkies" as said below.

Pragmatic1
Pragmatic1

A real fan wouldn't cry about the music in the stadium they would be crying about the fact the team is struggling the way they are. Its about baseball not music so suck it up!

Scoops
Scoops

I thought it was really cool that the Twins incorporated local music and local food items at the Ball Park. Whats wrong with being proud of local art? I remember being amazed when I heard brother ali being played at the twins stadium. Totally made me proud of Minnesota. Also, Im so tired of people bashing "hipsters" . What the hell is a hipster anyways? Someone who doesn't like top 40 music? Whats wrong with that? Of course these bands you refer to as "hipsters" want the masses to hear their music. Why wouldnt they? Making fun of "hipsters" is pretty much the new "hipster" thing to do. Get some new material!!

Spikeinlf
Spikeinlf

It's SYSCO foodservice, first off. Secondly, can you be a bigger baby? It's freakin' Minnesota, not NYC, LA or Chicago. That's what makes it special. We can AND do march to a different drummer, literally, than the rest of the country. Your suggestion would keep us listening to the same pathetic crap as the rest of the country. Well, I for one, take pride in being different. I know that that notion might be scary to some (you?), but to us life-long MinneSOtans, that which makes us unique is also that which makes us special! Join the team! We promise not to shock you too vividly..., at first!!!

Rob
Rob

There is also 3,000 places you can go to listen to pop music. Why must they eliminate local music all together? Why not mix the two?

Hipster Beater
Hipster Beater

spoken like an angry frustrated douchebag hipster!

NotStuckin1993
NotStuckin1993

Cause so few people care? I was responding to the article author's question. For me, it IS just background noise at the BASEBALL game. Whatever local music they were playing last year had to be pretty snore worthy if it wasn't even noticed. I bet this article wouldn't have even been constructed if the Twins weren't sucking so hard..

Scoops
Scoops

i know you are but what am I?

ulysses
ulysses

Just because you didn't notice it doesn't mean nobody else did. You also didn't notice that "local" is not synonymous with "indie" or "old."

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