Music has developed over the ages, and even though many say it started to stagnate with the development of technology, there are still many artists who show us otherwise on a daily basis. What makes these artists able to show off our progress is technology. No longer must a musician pay thousands of dollars to record a mere 30 minutes of music. Today, recording can be done at home, as well as music production. Here is how technology changed music production.
Recording – From Expensive Studios to Basements
Once upon a time, you had to pay a lot of money to enter a studio and rent their equipment for a while, to record and mix your own music, hence the term, mixtape, as it was recorded and mixed on tapes. You would have a limited number of tries before the tape ran out. Then you would either have to pay money for more or settle for what you recorded already.
Today, purchasing a microphone is not that expensive, depending on the quality of the microphone, but for a new composer, the most expensive equipment is not necessary.
Multi-track recording, which is what is used today, means that you can record multiple takes of a single segment, of any instrument, and then mix all of that at a later time. This allows composers to spend much less and have complete control over their recording.
Production and Mixing – From Analog to Digital
Once, mixing had to be done on site, in a studio, almost always by a professional. Today, buying software, or even downloading free, open-source software like Audacity, can be enough to mix different recordings and create a song. Other software can be used to polish a song if it is necessary, but almost everything can be done with open source software.
That does not mean that professional producers are out of business, quite the opposite, even more of them are able to find work today, as the availability of products and software does not mean expertise.
Creating Music From Scratch On a Computer
Production has improved, as well as recording, but a musician can also create all of their music on a computer. There are plenty of programs which use presets and existing sound banks of instruments, allowing musicians to simulate anything, from organs to flutes, even triangles. This means that a musician does not have to have all their friends come over and record tons of instruments if they want to create a single song. Quite the opposite, a musician can use software to create their own song.
This way, saving even more money is possible, even though at the expense of quality and perhaps, emotion.
Learning to Create is Easier
Where once, learning to create music took time and effort, not to mention learning to produce music, applying yourself to become a sound engineer, today, going up on YouTube and checking out a couple of tutorials can easily get you started. Looking up more advanced tutorials can lead to you learning more and being able to do most of the stuff yourself. Being able to be independent is another great thing brought to us by the advance of technology.
With the change in technology, the shift was made from the studios to the artists themselves, giving them the power to learn, record, produce and create on their own.