With technology changing so rapidly, when working in the creative industries, you have to keep up with the current trends and changes and how these affect our work.
When it comes to Music Production, there have been a vast array of technological advances that have transformed the way we not only produce, but listen and work with music.
How we consume Music
Digital Streaming services such as Spotify, Soundcloud and YouTube have allowed us to listen to a wide variety of styles and genres of music anywhere, at any time. Musicians can upload music in a click of a button and have people listen to their songs from all over the world without the need for a distributor or record label. The availability of these technologies finally takes music out of the hands of record labels and into the hands of the musicians if they know how to promote themselves. However, there are downsides to this instantaneous streaming, including artists earning less from their music- a battle that has changed the landscape of the music industry.
Digital software has arguably been the biggest game changer in the production of music, allowing musicians of all abilities to write, record and produce their own songs to a reasonable quality. Digital audio workstation (DAW) software such as Avid Pro Tools or Apple’s Logic Pro – the engine-rooms of most recording studios – allow users to simultaneously edit more than 100 audio tracks, adjust pitch and timing and add an infinite variety of effects.
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
Since MIDI came along, you no longer need to bring in a full brass band to get that effect on a track. Songwriters can now compose elaborate arrangements through synthesisers and music production softwares, offering artists more creative freedom and the ability to work with instruments they may not have had access to or the skills to use previously.
The Future of Music Production?
Nobody can tell you exactly what will happen to the way we produce music with technology constantly changing, but we can make some good guesses. Co-founder of CTOm SoundCloud Eric Wahlforss told Wired Magazine
that he thinks, "Mobile is going to be the key growth area in music over the next ten years, for production as well as consumption. The ease of use of many modern tools has lowered the barrier for entry, which may have been prohibitive to aspiring musicians not so long ago. The social web has also changed the way music is promoted and consumed. Creators can discover fans, interact with like-minded people and collaborate on new projects."
Futhermore, Artist and creator of Bears by Girlz Erin Barra agrees that,
‘Tech has significantly lowered the barrier to music-making already and I believe that will continue - we'll see much more activity in schooling for all ages and even more saturation in the field."
The importance of learned skills
With the entry of such easy-to-use technology into the industry, many people are questioning the need for Sound Production experts and Audio Engineers. However, a producer can really help make or break a musicians studio sound and can be the crucial objective viewpoint of someone not emotionally invested in the material. Furthermore, just mixing your music using DAW software isn’t enough; you also have to make sure the track is mastered properly to create a smooth and finished sound. Professionals who possess these skills are so important in today’s industry to keep the high production value and quality alive in a time where DIY is rife and musicians that opt for professional advice can really stand out against the crowd.
JMC Academy Audio Engineering tutor James Raper argues that, ‘with the rise of the digital age and its enormous affect on music production, more music is being made than ever before - there are many more artists recording these days that would not have had the access to studio facilities in the past. Recording equipment is more accessible and affordable than it was 40 years ago, and this is not without its pitfalls. With the mass of music being produced, quality of both musicians entering a studio and the overall end result have certainly taken a hit. Given the current state of the industry, advancements made in recording technology certainly out weigh these negatives. That being said, there are still high quality musicians performing in world class studios and releasing incredible music every year.’
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