Few industries have undergone as much change as the recording industry, and Bobby Borg can tell you all about it.
“Earlier people didn’t have access to home technologies so if you wanted to record your own music it was a bigger drama – you had to go into a studio,
you had to pay money for somebody else to record you,” said Borg, an
instructor at Musician’s Institute and UCLA and the author of several music business books. “Now you can with tools on your laptop computer. With Ableton and ProTools and Logic
you can sit down and record song ideas relatively well if you know what you’re doing.”
Borg was on hand at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) trade show at Anaheim Convention Center earlier this year. NAMM is the nexus to chart evolutions in the music industry.
Workshops, classes available on home recording
Borg said it’s important to embrace and appreciate the tools that are available for recording. But he also advises users of the technology to take advantage of opportunities to learn by taking classes and workshops and
using online tutorials. You also need to be honest about your skill set, he said, and find a producer to work with if you need help putting out a professional product.
“I think that certainly with all the software that’s being developed and all the classes that are being developed you’ll see people looking into these
platforms and learning them and maybe a producer may feel he’s getting less calls than before,” Borg said. “But I think it’s going to balance out at
some point because there’s always going to be people that need the advice of somebody who has 20 years more experience. You can’t take experience away from people.”
Jacquire King, producer for artists like Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, Norah Jones, James Bay and Modest Mouse, also understands the value of experience.
“There’s always something that someone can offer you as a way of perspective and advice and help,” King said. “It’s knowing when it’s done
enough. Nothing’s ever perfect. It’s when you strike the emotional balance and put it all together so it reflects the intent of the song.”
In-the-box recording technology has become affordable, user-friendly
King said computers and digital work stations have held a significant role in the recording process for the past 20 years, but only in the last five years
has in-the-box computer technology become affordable and user-friendly, making it as good as many other options.
At NAMM, King was participating in demonstrations of Universal Audio Plug-Ins, hardware he employs to help with the mixing process. The line has
a wide array of products (priced at $150 and up) depending on what sound an engineer or producer may be seeking.
“The business has changed,” he said. “I think the artists make more money off of performance than anything else. Of course there’s still very successful
records, a tremendous amount of money, but it’s not the same as it was. The record labels are making less money, they partner with artists more. Things keep getting smaller.”
Having the ability to make records and sell the music is good because an artist doesn’t have to go through a big label to have a career. But it’s also
diminished the pot of money to go around. Still, King feels the industry will keep growing.
“There are so many people who are passionate about making music and there are so many resources now to teach people how to do it that I think
it’s going to continue to grow,” he said. “I think that the industry is going to become less of a super power, like there will be fewer big players.”
A starter home recording kit is available for $250
Yamaha purchased Steinberg 12 years ago and the union has led to an
established line of products for producing music – not just for professionals, but for the do-it-yourself musician as well. At NAMM, Yamaha was
spotlighting the Steinberg UR22mkII Recording Pack, an entry-level kit with all the basics needed for a home studio – an audio interface, headphones,
microphone and music production and editing software. …