For those of us who grew up during the 90’s and earlier 00’s,the prospect of becoming a well-known musician, able to release music for public consumption and be recognised for it – was, for the most part, a pipe dream. During this time, physical media was the go-to, and being in a successful band or working as an independent musician full time was extremely difficult. This isn’t simply due to the process of writing and creating music, but getting that music out there into the public eye; especially as being signed to a record label seemed like the only option. In recent years, the ability to create, produce and distribute music has taken a whole new turn for musicians – especially as the reliance on labels has diminished. In this day and age, despite the cons of oversaturation, sharing one’s music with the world is a lot more likely.
What are the factors that have revolutionised the way we create and consume music, and how have they affected the music industry?
Home Recording | Bedroom Producers
A significant factor in how we create music is money, budget: a huge issue when it comes to the evolution of recording and production. In the earlier days, one of the only options for many musicians to get their music out there was via a demo, via record companies. Although bedroom production was obviously in existence, the main focus would always be on a studio-recorded demo or album; with the hopes of being picked up in the mainstream – sending out tapes, CDs to radio stations and labels excessively.
DIY culture has always played a big factor in building music scenes, but when it came to actually ‘making it big’ as musicians earning a living off of their passion; the odds were stacked against many.
Nowadays, paying large sums of money for short studio sessions isn’t the only way to create and record music as well as get it out there. This has had a significant effect on music culture. As technology has evolved, the ability to plug in, create and record from our own homes is accessible even to those of us too broke to buy large amounts of music equipment. Online recording and production programs allow the opportunity to create music, with minimal equipment, right from our living rooms. This is attributed to the rise in electronic music and the decline of traditional, rock-type bands.
Starting a (serious) band requires equipment, a lot of equipment – expensive equipment. They require a space to practice in which, unless lucky, requires rent for very specific locations – and for the most part, studio sessions in order to record and produce a quality record. With less reliance on labels, creating electronic music from home is not only convenient for creation and production, but for distribution; especially as physical media is on the decline.
One of the most important factors when it comes to accessibility in music creation and distribution is, of course, social media (and the rise of streaming services). With the ability to record music from our homes, it would be no good if we were still so reliant on physical media and record labels. Being able to create music, at home, with minimal equipment and without breaking the bank: with social media on top of it, suddenly we can share all of our music not only with our friends and family – but with the world. As they say, these days ‘anyone can become famous’ and with such huge platforms available to us, the likelihood of having our music heard is still difficult (and there is no denying that) as the very real concern of market saturation can be overwhelming – but seeing the rise of musicians hailing from youtube and instagram for example, is a possible reality for many.
Electronic music has created a space for musicians to be able to create, record and produce in ways they were never able to before; and although adapting to the times requires dealing with new issues that may arise, the accessibility of the genre allows for an evolution of creation and distribution – with more people able to follow their passions, the possibilities when it comes to new music are endless.
Words by Jenna Dreisenstock