Please share your insights and opinions on how the music business climate is changing, where you think it is headed and any suggestions you may have for improving how we earn our livings. I am most interested in how everyone is adjusting their business practices to deal with the move to home based and internet based recording and production. The home recording issue has been with us for a long time but with new technologies and affordable computer based recording systems, plus the growth in distributed production, ie; file sharing and transfer, how does one stay competitive in today's market. It is my belief that there is still plenty of work to go around but I have to be more creative in finding it and more selective in the technologies I choose.
I have mixed thoughts about it. There is a huge up side for artists. They can take there time and be more creative without the studio clock ticking. However, I mourn the loss of engineering knowledge. Engineers are still working, but the assistant position has dwindled as we all work at home, or in the studio without assistants with the exception of tracking dates. There are decades of engineering knowledge not being passed down to the next generation, and that is sad. After all, this is more of a trade than something you learn at school. -Jed
I agree Jed, I think the same is true for other disciplines such as studio musicians and artists. Everyone is pretty much doing their own thing and not learning from each other as much. Hopefully we can fill that gap a little here at NMP. It's a dream anyway...
So far the consensus is that schools aren't really preparing people for the music business. What does that mean? How are they letting students down? (this is another forum topic)
There are a few people on here that work or will be working/teaching at those schools, so I am interested to get their input on these issues...
I'm not sure there is much you can do to teach anyone what you need to know to be a good engineer in a school setting. You can try, but this has always been more of a trade, like carpentry, than something you learn in school. You need to apprentice with a good engineer to learn the tricks of the trade. That's just something you don't get in school and since we have all split up to our houses, it doesn't happen much anymore. There's just nothing like standing behind a great engineer and witnessing recording and mixing day after day. Now we are off topic again. oh well...-Jed
Is this not a change in the music industry as well...? I don't think we're off topic. It's all inter-related. I think anyone who wants to enter the field of engineering needs some level of basic theory, just as musicians need music theory and practice to become a professional. I don't disapprove of audio engineering schools because they can give a foundation that would take quite a while to get from standing behind a professional engineer but you are right, the finer points of mixing and the business side of engineering have to be experienced.
I agree with Jed. As much as real engineering is becoming a lost art form, the role of assistant engineer or even usable interns are going away faster than the term "Be Kind, Rewind"............ Most of the interns I have met with in the last couple of years feel that they can jump right in the mixing chair from day one........ Is it the same way with plumbers and carpenters, just because they own the tools can they build a house that will stand the first day on the job, Can the plumber assistant snake that drain on the first day. No, they learn these skills from someone that excels in that area..........
hey i know we are getting off subject,
but i agree with just about everything being said here,
i tell my clients the same thing"trained monkeys could do what I do"
the difference is people skills, we all turn knobs and push buttons,
but what keeps me working is the ability to communicate, and put smiles on the faces of the artist and the producer..
kids ask me what should i really study at school to become an engineer/producer
i usually laugh and tell them to take a psycology couurse...it cant hurt...as most of you know...
now back to the subject...
if good people work together and do good work only good can come from it,
the payoff may take longer but i can wait...good music is art and doesnt come from a mold of last months hit...(insert Glenn Spinner comments here)
i am currently doing a new record for Loretta Lynn (good people doing good work)
SHE HAS NO RECORD DEAL can you believe that....but the end result will be Real Art.
the way she wants it, not the way some bean counter at a major label wants....
it is a perplexing situation with our industry...but this to shall pass.
i plan to just hold on and keep making the best music i can,
regardless of record sales....Good Music will always survive...it's still out there ,
just in different places, and we all will evolve, so we can keep doing what we love..
OK Chuck, your post really brings it back home. I admire your commitment to creating art, but how do you balance that with making a living creating said art? Do you do other things while you're waiting for the payoff or do you keep your nose to the creating art grindstone and let your financial situation just be what it may? I wrestle with this all the time. I want so much to solely concentrate on music and engineering but it's difficult. In the past we have looked to record companies to have successful releases so they would hire us to work on or make their products. With the fall off of CD sales, record companies are working with smaller and smaller pools of outside creative people. I can't tell you the last time I was actually hired by a record company. I used to get put together with producers by A&R guys and so on all the time but that rarely happens anymore. I have been fortunate to stay busy with different types of music projects but find I have to keep more irons in the fire to keep up my standard of living and take care of my family. (Just laying all out here).
I think there will always be a need for good audio engineers, especially ones with good people skills, and the same is true for other creative types like producers, graphic artists, musicians, but the challenge lies in creating your own opportunities, adapting to technology and they way people want to work today. How can we do that better?
I here you Bret,
I to have a family and all that goes along with it, and it is hard to keep up sometimes.
But i have faith and have never gone without anything i need (need not want)
"but the challenge lies in creating your own opportunities, adapting to technology and the way people want to work today. How can we do that better?"
Just like we always have-WORD OF MOUTH
do good work with good people and it will come
that applies to everything - doesn't it? technology doesn't change that does it?
Need and FTP setup - you call your buddies recomendation
Need a website setup - you call your buddies recomendation
Need a BG singer - you call your buddies recomendation
Your buddy needs a couple of songs mixed - he calls you!!
Your buddy needs a some piano tracks - he calls you!!
This is the best i can come up with - it's worked for me anyway....
I agree with Mark. I see these young guys right out of a school with a so called "Pro Tools Certification" and they think that is some kind of a license to start making big bucks. Sure they want the nice cars and nice homes and all that goes along with it. And they want it NOW. I have been doing this for over 30yrs and I never had any of that until just in the past few years and they are not that nice. They don't undertand it is a new day....
But sort of along this topic I sometimes wonder if what we do is all that skillfull. Most of my friends do what I call 'manly man' jobs and they have no concept of what I and most folks around here do. They just don't understand it. They have learned a specific trade that has been around forever and that is what they do. I tell them it is the same for us. It is just what we do...But why is it that so many folks want to know what WE do and I don't care to really know how to do what they do. I guess it is just the thrill of the music business...yeah right...
I tell a story often that I always thought was funny. I do maint. and consulting for a big Baptist church in my hometown in KY. One of the soundmen there is an anesthetist at a local hospital. One day I was trying to explain something about the console to him and I could just see this look of frustration on his face. I said to him that I know it is hard to figure this out sometimes, but it would be like him taking me to the OR and showing me how to put someone to sleep. He looked and me and grinned and said "Oh, that's easy, I could teach you how to do that in 2min. This audio stuff is just too hard". I just cracked up. But he was a little bit serious....He said that you can learn to do that in just a short schooling time. His point was that what WE do takes so many years and years or learning and still you are always trying to get it right and better. We always feel like we're not doing it as good as we want to. And the tools keep changing and we're always having to use different ones to try to get it better. They pretty much use the same tools all the time and have been for years... I guess in some ways maybe it is harder than just learning how to put someone to sleep....and hoping they wake up...And those guys make big bucks even pretty quickly after they learn how...My mama always wanted me to go into medicine, but I thought I was not smart enough....I wanted to make music....