Music today is pretty complicated. People have so many options to choose from, and not just when it comes to artists. Digital distribution has changed everything. Anyone can see that. But what else is different? Digital production has been around for quite some time. Studios employ technicians that operate soundboards that look like they could give NASA a run for its money. The new development in music production is the democratization of the recording and mastering process.
Open source software and new consumer versions of professional tools has turned small home studios, into viable record labels. I’m not totally sure that this is exactly what we want as artists, musicians and music lovers. Live shows and live recordings are becoming more and more of a novelty for the highest paid entertainers of our time. We don’t expect most mainstream artists to perform without a back-track or other pre-recorded assistance. So here’s my question…Have we lost any of the craftmanship involved in making music? Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for using the new bells and whistles of music software to allow more people to make quality music. I just hope that our new music doesn’t lose integrity.
My brother and some of his friends from college recently put together an alternative rap album. He emailed it to me and I was blown away with what they were able to put together. He named it, Godfrey’s Journal: Struggle and Grandeur. I have no idea how they plan to get it into people’s iPods, but they certainly have plenty of options. Companies like CD baby make selling music through iTunes a reality for just about anyone. It’s amazing. Things have changed so much on one hand, but on the other hand, a lot has stayed the same. Just because your music is available digitally, doesn’t mean that people know about it. Major record labels still have control over millions of advertising dollars and radio airtime. You have to not only master digital production you have to master viral distribution as well. It’s a lot of work, but the tools are available. I guess determination, intelligence and luck will decide what digital dreams will come true.