Mizzou’s music (marketing) man

Randy Beck moves up the charts at Yamaha.

portrait of Randy Beck

Photo courtesy Randy Beck.

Published on Show Me Mizzou August 19, 2021
Story by Tony Rehagen, BA, BJ ’01

When Randy Beck was 5, his mom bought him a drum kit at a garage sale. She set them up in the basement of their Florissant, Missouri, home, plugged in a radio and encouraged her son to try to play along with the tunes.

That gift pressed the play button on Beck’s lifelong passion for music. He went on to play percussion in middle school and high school band, then Marching and Mini Mizzou. Now Beck is vice president of integrated marketing for the music arm of the Yamaha Corporation of America. While the journey from drumstick twirler to peddler seems like a natural arc, it was not.

Beck arrived at Mizzou as a performance major with dreams of going pro, but soon, fearing music wasn’t a stable career, he switched to finance. He stayed behind the kit at basketball and football games, but after graduating, he followed his diploma. After a few years in the business world, Beck decided to move to Los Angeles and give music one more shot. He set out as a studio and touring drummer. That’s when he had an epiphany. “An artist will fall on their sword for their craft and forgo life’s comforts and securities,” Beck says. “I realized that while I might be a decent drummer, I’m not an artist. And I still needed numbers. So, I went into brand marketing.”

Now, after stints with Campbell Soup and Nestlé Purina, Beck oversees all product categories of Yamaha’s music division, including keyboards, guitars, headphones, recording equipment and sound systems. He’s essentially in charge of getting the drums in front of tomorrow’s musicians. “Having been a musician,” he says, “I think about where I am right now, and in some ways, it’s connected to the fact that, years ago, I picked up some drumsticks and had a life-changing experience.”

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