With recording software, mass-produced music is easy to make. You can record a hit song in an afternoon. It’s that easy.
The result is way, way more music being produced and almost no barrier to entry when it comes to making music.
“Just because today’s musician can pick up DAW recording software, their best laptop for music production, and their best microphone, and not face those same recording barriers that were present in years past, does not mean this is a good thing necessarily.”
Accessibility Of Music Recording Means Expensive Large Studios Shutting Down
Is mass recording killing the music business? In some ways, it’s at the very least changing how music is monetized.
The idea is the basis around which we debate the merits of recording accessibility in today’s music landscape.
As larger studios across Canada and the United States are shutting down, more musicians are going to laptops, mobile devices, and other means to record their music. You can even record music remotely. Which is great, yes. It’s a wonderful thing to know that anyone anywhere with some basic tools can record themselves and effectively become composers, producers, or musical artists.
However, larger studios are quickly disappearing. The actual business of recording music is almost dead, arguably.
The Dark Side Of Recording Software & Making Music With Very Little Resources
The dark side of accessible recording software is that, as much good as tech accessibility has done, it has also done some bad.
There are billions upon billions of songs out there in the world and on streaming platforms. How does an artist actually get heard among a chorus of literally billions of songs screaming for attention? They simply don’t.
When there are so many artists giving away their songs almost for free, how any artist can justify charging anything above $0.99/song, they simply can’t. Complicating matters further, Spotify revenue is incredibly minimal.
When it is so easy to plug into existing software and create tracks out of pre-existing sounds, does it make sense for any musician to invest hundreds of hours into developing better musicianship, better songwriting, and more original tracks?
It just doesn’t. You don’t have to. You can get by on production quality over melody or rhythm.
Will Consumers Ever Go Back To Paying For Music? Absolutely Not
Though there are some who might dispute this, it is unlikely that general consumers will ever want to go back to paying for music. Despite the fact that vinyl records sales are up across the board, it’s not necessarily a sign that the average listener is going to want to buy records as similar people may have done in the 1970s and before.
Some people are willing to pay as much as $5 or $10 for a cup of coffee that will be gone within minutes.
These same people won’t pay for an album of music that could change their lives forever. That’s how important music is or is not.
This is the truth. It’s not that accessibility to technology and recording software has killed the music business. It has just changed the way things are done. Barriers to recording have been torn down and in return, the accomplishment and prestige surrounding putting out a record or a single song has been erased.
The ‘music’ means as little as it’s ever meant, culturally speaking.
Though there are some who might dispute that, it’s fairly true.
How To Make Money In Music, i.e. Spotify, Selling Beats, Live, Online, & More
There are lots avenues to derive income from music, including with strategically-booked live performances.
Thankfully, those avenues and new avenues continue to exist, even in an age where recording music isn’t all that it was once cracked up to be. The actual content of recordings has become increasingly devalued because it’s so easy but besides that, you can set up an account on Spotify and reap revenues there. Production and beats can be sold online for profit. Live performances done strategically in the right places make money. There are so many revenue streams out there to make money in music if one is able to accumulate the audience. However, when it comes to the ease of recording, there is no money in it without a reason.
Because it’s so easy to make a recording, no artist needs to be at the top of their game on every track, either.
Drake is a perfect example. No matter what you might think of Drake, he generally puts out multiple releases every year. He can very easily assemble 100 original tracks fairly quickly. Though there are a few individual tracks that have resonated with general audiences, for the most part, Drake’s records have garnered fair, average critical reviews and, some might say, has only served as a way to continue featuring his brand in the spotlight.
Instead of taking the time to review every bar and every word, and putting out one great collection of songs, this is an example of someone who has put out three or four albums of ‘good but not great’ and they get rewarded for it.
It’s okay if you don’t agree with this assessment of Drake specifically, however, this happens all the time. It cannot be disputed that the pressure to hit a home-run with every track is not there anymore. You don’t need to.
All of this said though, this isn’t inherently a negative.
Music is a wonderful, amazing, ethereal thing in the hands of those who are willing to put in the effort to create the most interesting and artistic products. No matter how recording techniques or accessibility changes, there will always be musicians and artists who continue to rise above existing trends, and who continue to put out amazing songs, collections, and libraries. They’re out there.