The Past, Present, & Future of the Music (Audio) Industry
July 3, 2019
What was, what is, and what will be. The landscape of the Audio Industry is a wild and exciting one that is magnetic to those that have a penchant for Music, Sound, and Audio. The career field is extremely broad when you take into consideration the fact that “where there’s sound, there’s a gig!” From making Music, to Broadcasting a NASCAR event, to dealing with Live Sound Audio, to making explosion effects for Video Games, to doing Audio Dialog Replacement for a Movie, and all aspects in between, SOUND is the thread that connects it all.
Most people that desire to enter the Audio Industry mistakenly only refer to it as the Music Industry. While the “music” side of the Industry is the goal, the truth is that the Music Industry “lives” inside the Audio Industry. Those that thrive in the Audio Industry are those that are prepared for the entire width of its opportunities. More on that later, but, for the moment, let’s focus on the desire to be in the “Music Industry.”
In the earliest days of the Music Industry, there were only three parties involved: The Artist, The Technical Team, and The Business. Understand, because ultimately it’s a “business,” the goal has always been to prosper financially from an Artists’ music, that is captured and reproduced for the masses by The Technical Team. All three parties, in theory, are experts in their contributions to the overall project. Historically, Artists were allowed to “create” the music, and The Business people would hire Recording Studios staffed with Technical Experts (Audio Engineers), and all would be held accountable in “producing” a “product” intended for mass consumption. (Wow… saying it like that certainly takes the fun out of it, right?!) Even so, that has always been the “base truth” of our fantastic industry. Definitively, there was an obvious distinction amongst the three parties, and their roles never spilled into the others’. The Artist was just that: The Artist. The Technical Team, same. The Business, well…
Obviously, throughout time, roles and responsibilities have evolved, as has the technology to accomplish the same goals, as before.
From “what was,” The Technical Team started assuming not only their original roles of harnessing the technology to capture the Artist’s music, but also lending themselves (on occasion) to the development of the music. Artists recognized that The Technical Team had vast experience in having dealt with MANY Artists, that the Artist started leaning on them to help “produce” the best possible “product.” From this was born “The Producer.” Now, the Artist had a “translator” that could communicate their musical intent to The Technical Team, and finally get what they wanted… accurately.
As evolution goes, The Producer role was smeared amongst The Business side of things. The Business now had an ally in the Recording Studio that could artistically and technically satisfy the wants/needs of both The Business and The Artist.
As time went on, the previously mentioned roles evolved even more. It’s hard to believe, but there was a point in time where you HAD to book a Recording Studio to do any kind of recording. Artists became more proficient in their musical abilities. The Technical Team morphed into Audio Engineers that concerned themselves with the minutia of each placement of each microphone, every setting on the console, the levels of the recorder… the “thinking side” of music, as it were. The Producer became more musically “hands on,” while relinquishing most technical responsibilities to “the thinkers.” Records became more complex, and time intensive. Greater efforts were placed on “creating” a “product” that was GREATER than the last one. This “race” forced technology to evolve, as well. Audio gear was developed based on the insight of the Audio Engineers. Devices became cleaner, faster, and more accurate. Even “size” was taken into account, and has helped develop the RECORDING STUDIO THAT PROBABLY LIVES IN YOUR LAPTOP AT THIS VERY MOMENT!
What will BE:
All of these changes… well, they’ve CREATED YOU. See, I know you’re here because of your interest in Music, and that interest… has turned YOU into THE FUTURE, hasn’t it? Chances are YOU are a Creator, Collaborator, and a Contributor, right? The 3C’s. YOU see yourself working with Artists (if not yourself), in professional settings, on projects that are bound to BLOW UP, right?!
It’s an exciting world knowing that YOU can be “part” of that community, isn’t it?
Trust me, I want it for YOU, as much as YOU want it for YOU, but… well… we’re going to have to have a chat. If YOU are going to be the FORCE in the industry that you DREAM of being, I have to clue you in on a few things. Cool?
The reality is that your DREAM is VERY POSSIBLE, but we have to be realistic about it. I chat with people just like you every day, and they tell me that they want to learn how to “Mix and Master.” Being an older (but still very hip) guy, that phrase boggles me, because I came up in a world where you HAD TO RECORD SOMETHING BEFORE YOU COULD MIX IT, AND, AFTER IT WAS MIXED, THE MIX GOT MASTERED. I have since reconciled the fact that YOU have always had “sounds” in your computer. Want to make a beat? NO PROBLEM! Chances are you have a massive sound library that you can just pick and choose from, right? Honestly, I’m envious of that, because my musical ability was born from the instruments I learned to play, so, needless to say, my musical imagination is limited. YOU, though… Yes, ENVIABLE YOU. YOU grew up in a world where the technology IS YOUR INSTRUMENT! GOOD FOR YOU! I’ve heard some records, recently, that blew my mind, because of the sonic exploration that the Creators, Collaborators, and Contributors used. Serious, this is a very exciting time for an older (but still very hip) guy like me!
The issue is this: Ever gone hunting for that perfect Kick drum sound, and you spun your wheels and wasted the day not finding what you wanted? Have you ever thought about the fact that you’re trying to be creative with SOMEBODY else’s sounds? So, why not have the skills to CREATE YOUR OWN SOUNDS? Ever felt that you were limited with the “gear” that you have and you just can’t get the sounds swimming in your head to make their way to your ears? Honestly, let’s be real here… don’t you want to be RECOGNIZED FOR YOUR SOUND?
This is why YOU have to have a redeemable skillset, buddy! Imagine having the musical expressiveness AND TECHNICAL ABILITY to MAKE HAPPEN what you and your clients NEED TO HEAR!
Seriously, BOI1DA has HIS own sounds available on SPLICE for YOU to buy so that YOU can CREATE, CONTRIBUTE, AND COLLABORATE with other people using HIS SOUNDS!!! First thing, GOOD FOR HIM! That’s a GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT for him, and his successes with Drake and Rihanna are no flukes! Even so, those are HIS SOUNDS. Where are YOUR SOUNDS? Seriously, YOU are only as CREATIVE as the SOUNDS THAT YOU HAVE ACCESS TO?! Nah, I don’t buy! MAKE YOUR OWN SOUND! YOUR SOUND IS YOUR SIGNATURE, and that’s what clients will be seeking!
I know this next statement is going to sound like an “old guy” thing to say, but, ultimately, BIG RECORDS ARE STILL MADE IN BIG ROOMS, and if your DREAM is to work AT THAT LEVEL, then you better prepare yourself with a knowledge that will get you there.
Want to record a Bosendorfer piano for what might be a HIT SONG? What’s better for a Hip Hop vocal, U-89 or an RE20? Hey, Pharell is pulling up to the studio and wants to record a High School Marching Band, set it up. The beginning of that song needs a calliope on it… I know, I know… I lost you at “calliope,” right? See, that’s my point… IF YOU DON’T KNOW then your clients will seek out those that DO KNOW!!!
Honestly, that DREAM of being the Creator, Collaborator, and Contributor is ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE, but on your way there, you might get hungry, and you’re going to NEED a way of being able to feed yourself. So, why not combine YOUR 3C’s with an Audio Engineering background, and be MORE FIERCE than you originally wanted to be? Don’t you see that working with others IN EVERY CAPACITY will excite new ideas within YOU, and that when it’s YOUR TURN TO SHINE, you will have the skills to burn bright? Truly, take it from an older (but still very hip) guy, YOU CAN BE A BIGGER SUCCES THAN YOU THINK YOU CAN BE… all it’s going to take is having more SKILL than the person that already has the gig that YOU WANT!
Now, brass tacks… Yeah, that’s an older (but still very hip) guy thing to say, but YOU NEED AN EDUCATION!
The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences (CRAS) is the kind of place that will give you the Audio Engineering background that YOU NEED TO WORK AT THE LEVEL YOU SEE YOURSELF AT in 36 weeks! Think about that… think about being taken seriously by serious clients because they KNOW THAT YOU TOOK YOUR EDUCATION SERIOUSLY! Within 13 world class studios focused on every discipline of Audio, top level Industry gear, award winning instructors, 24/7 access to the facilities, and a 280 hour internship in a city/facility of your choice. No Gen Ed classes, just 36 weeks of immersive education that leaves you PREPARED for TOP OF THE INDUSTRY!
YOU ARE THE FUTURE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, but your skillset will determine how much of that “future” is AT THE TOP OF THE INDUSTRY. Creating, Collaborating, and Contributing… you’re already there. Take no offense, but that “there” isn’t where you want to be, right? You have your sights set higher that “there,” right?