CC photo cred: Ray Garcia via Flickr

The Pocket-Sized Recording Studio

The music industry is becoming a narrow window, and a lot of it has to do with the massive home recording craze. We are beginning to see the rise of what I call “The Pocket-Sized Studio”. Recording studios are being rented out in closets, and everyone is building recording rigs in every crevice of their homes. Everybody wants to be a producer. It’s not a bad thing, but history has shown that trends kill. What was once nearly untouchable has gradually become affordable and it’s changing the music industry.

CC photo cred: Chris Carter via Flickr
CC photo cred: Chris Carter via Flickr

These days, we can fit it all in a box.

The traditional music producer is far off from the “bedroom producers” of today. However, the idea of a producer, is beginning to become universal. The rapid growth of home recording is inspiring everyone to tackle it and pursue the lifestyle associated with industry-level professionals. Home recording is a new market that barely existed until the late 80s.

Recently, I wrote an entire feature on the legendary MPC and the legacy of the historic drum machine. It was a truly revolutionary piece that transformed a wide range of genres, in addition to the start of 90s era “boom-bap”. The MPC rolled on the scene right before Pro Tools began to steadily expand and test the limits of multi-track recording.  Fast-forward to today and now anyone can produce a record.

So, now there is all of this exciting growth in this vein of the music industry that ceased to exist. Unfortunately, cutting-edge consumer recording equipment is shrinking the professional recording industry one bedroom studio at a time. The professional studio staff is becoming obsolete, and pro studios aren’t being rented out anymore. Producers and engineers don’t need to be hired. Session time doesn’t need to be booked.  If you want to record, anyone can do it anywhere at any time.

Desktop studio

There are new engineers and producers springing up faster than the sunrise, and the term “producer” is now a one size fits all tag.

So, who are the new producers? They’re us, and I think we should embrace it with a grain of salt.

With all of the incredible access to technology, the limit of modern recording and production lacks a ceiling. The bar isn’t even visible anymore; however, to make good music we need so much more. A million-dollar mic doesn’t make a million-dollar record.

Today, home recording products are being sold like designer hotcakes from the biggest companies in the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some gear. It’s crucially important not to get carried away with the price tags and lust of owning great equipment. There is a massive home-recording community subtly preaching what you should own and how to use it effectively to make music sound good. That’s not what music is supposed to be.

Better tools don’t yield a better result. A shiny new drum machine won’t make your beats sound better. That’s what they want you to think. There was a time when creativity was the only tool in the business, and that’s a product not sold in stores.

CC header photo cred: Ray Garcia via Flickr

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