Some of us are old enough to remember another era of music production. Not only did we create and mix music differently, but we distributed it in a way that kids today would consider completely alien. That’s because today you can record, mix and share music before breakfast, all thanks to cutting-edge technology. Gone is the need for a large label holder, just like the standard 4 or 5 piece gang. We are on the cusp of a technological push in the music industry that will decide the future of music creation, as well as how we share, consume and enjoy music.
The history of music production
World Wars I and II were largely responsible for what we think of as the modern music industry. Radios became commercially available for families, and it wasn’t long before they became the main source of entertainment. By 1923 the first radio advertisement had been broadcast, and after World War II music became popular on the radios and so an industry began where music could be paid for by radio stations with advertising money.
In the 1960s and 1970s, FM radio was in full swing, as record players became household items and record sales provided a new source of income for artists and producers. At this stage of music production, tracks were mixed during live performances in specialized recording studios. This is also when the major record labels began to dominate the music industry. Record labels would support many artists, in the hope that a few of them would become money-making superstars. Together, the artists and labels produced and announced records, released them on the radio, and planned live performances.
The relationship between label and artist developed out of necessity; mixing a commercially viable recording was difficult, technical work that required monetary investment – not to mention the cost of physically producing the recordings. It may not be a perfect system, but for decades it was the only one available to musicians.
Live Mixing VS Multitrack Recording
These days, expensive recording studios and endless hours to get the perfect recording are no longer the only option for a musician. The technology has become small enough in size and cost that much of the hardware is accessible to anyone with a basement, and the software can be taken with you almost anywhere in the world. You can find everything from acoustic guitars to MIDI controllers, and receive it at your doorstep within one business week.
The reason we may be moving from the recording studio to our basements is due to the transition from live mixing to multitrack recording. With multitrack recording, instead of mixing a recording like during playback, you can record multiple tracks at completely different times, combine and mix them later. This means you can record separate instruments on individual tracks, then take the recordings to create a complete song, while retaining the ability to tweak a track’s finer details long after it’s played.
Along with this advance in recording technology, it has become easier to use. There is music editing software today, or digital audio workstations (DAWs), that can be bought for less than $100, learned in a week, and used 100 times more than a soundboard. traditional.
There are a host of gadgets available for the modern musician, from DAWs and synthesizers to social media and music streaming services. The availability of these technologies is finally taking music out of the hands of record companies and into the hands of musicians, with the new challenge of how to take advantage of them.
Today’s technology makes it easier for a musician to produce their own music, but used correctly, it can also help a musician promote themselves and earn money. There are even some advantages, such as the fact that a musician no longer has to compete with other artists for shelf space in a store, or worry about distributors or producers. Physical record sales become less viable over the years, but a musician can make money by streaming music, earning royalties and signing licenses, or even teaching music through an online tutorial.
By eliminating the need for a third party (the record company), musicians are now able to deal directly with their audience. This brings benefits and conflicts, as creative control is returned to the musicians, they also find themselves responsible for the business side of the music industry. Self-promotion has never been more important, but it has never been easier or cheaper. Social media and online advertising are powerful sources for entertainment players.
The future of music production
It is up to this generation of musicians to decide the future of music production. Until now, necessity has spawned all the music technology we have today, from microphones to acoustic panels, and each new technology changes the activity of music. More music is listened to, shared and sold today than yesterday, and it’s a trend that won’t stop. It’s up to musicians to decide how best to get their music out there and make money doing it. Will the future of music be based on streaming services, or the sale of digital files, or something completely different? Only time will tell.