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wishing to break into recording

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by jasonthomas, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. jasonthomas

    jasonthomas Guest

    Hi, my name is Jason and I'm from new York. I'm looking to go into the recording business but to be honest I don't know where to start. My chosen genre is techno/ dance and my hero is Moby (also a New Yorker) I have some questions and maybe someone here can help me. Do I need a university degree to work in the business as a engineer? Are community colleges any good? I hear a lot of stuff (good and bad) about mentoring/ apprenticeship programs, what is the deal with them? I'm working part time so should I be putting money aside to pay for private tuition? Sorry for the barrage of questions. Thanks in advance.
  2. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Member

    Start by doing your own homework. Use the search button above. You will find lots of similar threads and the general consensus of the mature members here is that this is not a great field to get into right now with studios closing in record numbers in the last few years. If you want to learn you're at a good website and an internship is very valuable if you can find one. Reviews on the university degrees are very mixed for this field. Most will steer you in the direction of an electrical engineering degree that can pay the bills to afford this expensive hobby.
  3. MadMax

    MadMax Member

    Studio Owner/Musician
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Reminds me of the 3 fella's that went together and purchased lottery tickets....

    They hit the jackpot!

    When interviewed about what each would do with their share of the money, the first guy said that he wanted to become a professional golfer.

    His plan was to study under Jack, Tiger and some of the other greats of the game. Study golf course businesses and course design, then open his own business.

    The second fella' said that he always wanted to become a professional artist. His plan was to study the great masters in Europe and hopefully become a successful artist.

    The third guy was a studio owner. He said he wasn't gonna change anything... he'd just keep running the studio until the money ran out!
  4. Spase

    Spase Member

    IT Professional, Research Technician, live sound/r
    Lol... good one Max!

    Hows the studio going BTW?
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2010
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Banned

    audio engineer/video engineer/producer
    Washington DC Virginia suburbs
    Home Page:
    Thankfully, technology has made it much easier for you to " break-in" than it was for us 20 to 40 years ago. There were no recording schools. No degrees in moving volume controls or playing video games. Back then, breaking in meant doing all that menial stuff that's required to keep the broadcast and recording industry running. Reading meters. Making cassette & reel duplicates by the thousands. Staying awake all night and not falling asleep on the air. Now, all you need to do is go to Guitar Box and buy yourself $500 of stuff and you are a recording studio. If you're good? You can make marvelous recordings on the cheapest equipment. But just like it was years ago, competition is stiff. So you really need to read up on all that you can get your hands on. If you want a decent introduction to the recording arts and sciences, I'd rely on the community college. Their pricing is reasonable and you will learn what you need to know. If you want to impress somebody and tell them you have a bachelors, a Masters or even a phony baloney PhD, you need to spend a lot of money for a completely uncertain future. Even the titles of all of the positions once held by engineers & newscasters at NBC, ABC, CBS, CBC, BBC, Fox et al. have in recent weeks all been changed! Now, we all try to make livings at this. Some do so better than others. Others have to rely on this as a professional hobby while they hold down a viable, actual income producing career and/or job. So like many college-bound folks, you may want to consider a sensible income producer. Remember, what we do is ART. And like most artists, many don't make a living at this. And we'll keep on doing it until we drop. Because that's what we do.

    You know you're old when you're not looking at new equipment but prospective clients instead.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. jasonthomas

    jasonthomas Guest

    Thank you, I didn't realize things were so bad within the business. You mention apprenticeship, I did a little checking and found a company called recording connection. They say they have something called a mentor program which sounds good for me because I would much rather learn within the studio setting than in a classroom one. I am going to look deeper into this option. Thank you for your help and sorry for starting up another thread.
  7. bigtree

    bigtree Staff Pro Audio RESOURCE

    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    What do you love about the music business, or music itself? I would love to hear why you are interested in this business?

    I wonder what the new generation is moved by these days. The glamor or the ART and magic of sound.
  8. LCpl_Read_DE

    LCpl_Read_DE Member

    I'm 23 and in the Marine Corps, currently in Afghanistan. I'm looking to master two arts, which are sound and writing. I realized early on how unlikely producing fame and fortune for myself from writing is, and so I began looking into the much more realistic form of writing: technical writing, which produces more income than the creative sort.
    You wonder what the younger generations are moved by. Speaking for myself of course, the only way I can say it is to say that most people put on music when they have work to do. I find work to do so I can listen to music. I'm fascinated by music and all the little interchangeable parts that create it. Then there's the hurricane like eruption of emotions good music can cause. I like at some or a lot of most every genre. My main goal is to use the remaining two years on my contract to learn what I can about software, gear, and recording, andwhen I get out set up a basic studio and find amateurs to record, like people that sing and play in bands for fun. I want to do this because I know I'll love doing it. I've been playing with FL Studio here in Mehtar Lam learning the features, making beats, and pestering the army looking for amateur rappers to record. I don't expect to earn a living at it, I just wanna see the inside of a studio some day.

    All BS aside, without a degree how can I ever get inside a studio without a degree or any experience whatsoever? I don't care if its to sweep floors as long as I can be in the same room with recording artists and all the mixing gear.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Member

    Studio Owner/Musician
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    In my humble opinion, what we're seeing is something that those of us in the "business" for awhile, have a regrettable position to observe from.

    "We" understand the entirety of the real "gig" is not based upon the value of the gear which is owned, but more on the value of what we have come to do through bustin' our butts, just to be lucky enough to afford a nice beer in a relaxing chair... and BE HAPPY!

    The glamour and allure of gaining income from selling your "stuff" to the masses is a pretty damn good lure ( if you ask me!) All you gotta do is find a niche' hook, and you're set. But it's a mighty small brass ring to jump for, that's for sure.

    But to be honest, that's not what those that are reaching for the brass ring think it is, in terms of actually taking the time to understand the importance of knowing exactly the details of which knob really IS the suck knob.

    When you're talking about new gear that in many ways is superior to anything made even 10 years ago.... and at half the cost to purchase... it's no wonder that anyone with 200 bucks and an internet connection are jumping on the recording bandwagon. For simple stuff... yes. A lot of this stuff is ok. Fortunately, a few things translate very well into higher end systems.

    But here, we're simply talking about the understood aspect of operating any gear in a "professional" atmosphere.

    On a "professional" level, you are expecting to either deliver, or receive goods and services in a timely manner, in accordance with standards that you must hit. Not once, not twice... not even 7 out of 10 times... You have to deliver products to a real standard for duplication, every single time. You will get ONE exception... then you won't get any more work. You can't always see that on a 2 buss meter. It's a bit more technical than that.

    For an education program to deliver students in the market place who have the technical savvy to actually run a KEF on a line array on Tuesday, and cable wrangler on Friday night... THAT would be good. But that cannot be all they know. At least not when they come out of school.

    Gimme a guy who can wind cable straight with no kinks and can keep from lettin'' his mouth overload his ass, and I'll put his butt to work before I would someone who walks up to me lookin' for a job with his hands in his pockets.

    Which reminds me... If you don't like coilin' cable... don't make your life miserable.. get out now. You'll be coiling cables for the rest of your life.

    In looking for a program in either a certificate, AA or BS degree... Ask how many production's you get to work on. The more, the better.

    If you get the bug for real theater, IATSE's got a good program for training guys to do the gig the right way. (Though, no two locals are exactly the same.)

    Push some trunks around, in between beers... builds up your muscle, and you need the exercise anyway, right?

    Crawl around under the hood on top of a Cat400 at 3am, slippin' shifter bearings around, then make the gig at 7am and rock the "IN" until soundchecks at 5pm, doors at 7, downbeat at 8, knockemdown @11, truss down by 2am and on the road to the hotel at 4am... back up at 9am, lather, rinse, repeat a few dozen times... It wears well on ya'!

    But in answer to bigtree's question, I really don't think that this current "generation" of recordists reason that the process of capturing the natural sounds of the world around us is as important as sampling the natural sounds as a secondary standard. There is a full generation of not knowing the true sound of an instrument. Only what they are told it sounds like.

    Think about that for just a minute.

    So, natural sounds are just sounds. It's almost like any sound they hear, has no more importance than any other sound. It's the added visual sensation that is multimedia brainwashing.

    I just wish people would get together more and actually listen to music made by musicians in a performance environment. Advertising shoes, underwear and makeup is one thing, but actually playing in front of a coupla' hunnert folks is when the magic really happens, and you actually "experience" a performance.

    But the masses are being sold a lot more than reality. A LOT more. So much so, that the line is now blurred between reality TV, news, entertainment and pablum.

    If you work anywhere in a market where you are on staff, you will be working with millions of dollars of equipment, facilities and salaries. You're NOT gonna walk in and sit down at the biggest console in the building after the 2nd or even 3rd year and impress ANYONE.

    You've got to either own the gear, or you gotta earn the respect of those who do own it, to let you near that investment.

    So, "we" know on our end, that going for the highest quality we can afford is a necessity, while the next generation is diggin' on much lower standards... by like... 50%!!!

    Which begs the argument...

    Should we all just forget the craft of recording and just join the masses o consumer's???

    Or are we going to commit the greatest of all ineptitudes and claim that the standards of the listening environment is shite and should be upgraded?

    But the economy is in the dumper, and Clear Chunnel is makin' another land grab at the US public airwaves, thereby sewing up the public from being exposed to regional artists.

    So... you gotta make a decision as to whether you wanna' be workin' for love of music... or whether you're looking for a ride.

    If you're looking for a ride, don't hang out at my place... your ass is gonna work, or somebody who does wanna work, will be right in that spot.

    If you're willing to eat plenty of Ramen and peanut butter, you might just make it.

    ...and THAT'S the glamour part.

    If you're an artist... then don't get into recording... it'll break your heart when you find out how much is BS on the other side of the glass. There really is a lot of tech stuff that will break your spirit... primarily the money involved. Artists should know how to record at least basic tracks without overloading a mic. That's hard enough in most cases.

    Artists need to be able to create and save their basic ideas. If it's basic enough, a simple recording is often quite adequate for final production. So, it's important enough to get a basic understanding of mic placement and simple recording processes.

    After that, IMHO, an artist should go to a trusted professional to be the other half of the recording process.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Member

    A/V Installation & Production
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    << I can almost hear Robert Goulet singing, "To Dream.... the Impossible Dream....." as the underscore to Max's post.>>
    (If you're under the age of 45 I would invite you to search for the rest of the words yourself.)

    One of my favorite quotes on the glam Glam GLAMOROUS music business:

    "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

    - Hunter S. Thompson

    And a new contender:

    - Don Quixote
  11. jasonthomas

    jasonthomas Guest

    In all honesty I would have to say the art and the magic of sound. 10000% I know it sounds cliqued and trite but to create something out of nothing and have people wanting to listen to it. I have no time for producers who churn out shit just to make a quick buck. Conveyor belt music turns my stomach.
  12. Ryan Edward

    Ryan Edward Member

    Nothing wrong with a bit of honesty. I'm Black and very proud of it but the rap scene is beyond a joke. The music has become so stereotypical and crass and has been reduced to shock tactics. I agree with you 100% about the music becoming conveyor belt music performed by people with zero talent or charisma out to make a fast buck or die trying. I'm on a recording connection program and when I complete it I would truly love to work with people who actually care for their craft and record because they love and respect music. Maybe I'm being naive now.
  13. jasonthomas

    jasonthomas Guest

    I hear the recording industry is going through a bad patch at the moment. Due in part to rap artists using home studios, is this true?
  14. MadMax

    MadMax Member

    Studio Owner/Musician
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    Yes, and no...

    Sure, rap artists are part of it... but that's just it... they're only a small PART. But it's really due to the advent of cheap recording gear, and such things as Garage Band...

    The advent of the home recording studio on the cheap, sampling, lack of respect for intellectual property and p2p sharing has been a large part of the counter culture revolution, since the major labels have been outed for screwing the artists as bad as they have.

    With today's technology, one doesn't even need to be accomplished in any facet of traditional music making to produce "listenable" music, to be enabled create a "salable" product that is deliverable en mass.

    All you need now is a reasonable amount of skill at editing, software and an internet connection.

    Granted, the argument can be made that it takes a level of creativity to make these edits into something, but from a traditional aspect, it takes little skill to learn to edit waveforms, as opposed to say, learning the craft of playing a piano to an intermediate level.
  15. soapfloats

    soapfloats Member

    Recording/Mixing Engineer, Studio/Business Owner
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    I wanted to post a reply quoting Phil, Remy, Max, Hawk, and the young Marine, but I'll let their words speak for themselves.

    My own words:

    I was a bassist. I was pretty good, but wasn't sure I wanted to commit myself wholly to performance.
    I branched into this business, w/o an EE degree (regrettably).

    For me, it's about participating in the creation I knew as a musician, but from a different angle.
    One in which I am committed wholly to to being the best d@mn engineer, studio manager, etc I can be.
    I've learned a lot, and have a lot to learn.

    Sadly, in my area (and many others), the chance to intern or mentor is nonexistent these days.
    And has been mentioned, "recording" schooling is suspect.
    Give yourself skills for life: people skills, business know-how, and anything else that might be pertinent to being a recordist, mixer, producer, or whatever...
    and let your work speak for itself.
    This business is contingent on two things: reputation and referrals

    In the end, it's all about the work you do, and how you treat the people you work for, and the people that work for you.
    Constantly prove yourself to be a quality person that provides quality work and service, and you'll have a much easier time than disproving that you're the opposite.
  16. Ryan Edward

    Ryan Edward Member

    MadMax. So basically the major labels screwed themselves up the ass by taking advantage of up and coming talent. No sympathy there then, but it is sad how the recording industry seems to be churning out dross, songs that simply steal riffs from songs we knew and loved. I utterly despise it personally.

    Soapfloats Thats just why I want to do the mentor program with say recording connection. Work alongside pros, prove your stuff earn a little respect then at the end of the program your mentor and/ or the interning studio will hopefully be happy enough to recommend you to a studio or best case scenario take you on themselves. Like you just said reputation is everything in this business.
  17. MadMax

    MadMax Member

    Studio Owner/Musician
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:

    It really would be nice if it was a simple as being able to pick one "thing" as the fall of the recording industry... but it isn't that easy.

    It's really a combination of things.

    Not that I'm any kind of authority, but here's what I've experienced, seen, read and discussed by/with quite a few long time professional's in our industry;

    Recordings in the early days of technology, were remarkable. In that there was a way to share the love and joy of music beyond the few who could afford, or were in proximity to centers of performances. Records were a novelty that were really an expensive substitute, but at least they were an affordable commodity for those with nominal affluence.

    AM radio was able to bring music to the masses at a nominal cost. The people who were backing the radio broadcasts realized that they could sell advertising to the listeners. The music was just a way to get folks to hear the ads... but the music was still such a "novelty", that it drew all kinds of listeners... kids, teens, adults, and seniors. People listened to the same station and were entertained by the diversity of the program content. Content was primarily local oriented and a few "national" programs... but many national programs were tape delayed... e.g recorded, and either sent via courier, or were mailed around the country. Eventually, this was replaced by direct network broadcast... and thus, "nation wide" advertising and national brands became a norm.

    Because the post WWII era brought about a lot of economic prosperity, younger people (e.g. teens) had a new found disposable income. They really liked music, and as consumers, music pretty much became a social phenomenon that presented recordings (45's, 33's and even 78's) as a commodity that could be exploited by those that could capture some of that disposable income.

    So, record companies decided to focus more on finding performers that could entertain the masses. What they did was to create an environment where they would "invest" in an artist, and what they did was to create a contractual obligation to financially back the artist. In return, they "loaned" the money to said artist, and in return, the artist got to become popular, but they would continually be in a loan cycle of indentured servitude.

    With the advent of FM radio, and eventually television, mass exposure to music and entertainment meant a wider range of diversity, as the post WWII era kids grew up and their tastes changed with the social climate... still... all the while, the record companies kept looking at "records" as a financially lucrative commodity.

    They found that wider exposure meant greater revenues, and that hey could actually promote artists to cult status and continue to extort huge profits from their investments.

    Then, a few shrewd (greedy bastages) figured out that if they had "friends" who could control as many stations as possible, they wouldn't have to shell out as much payola to get their artist(investment) on the air.

    They sought to form alliances, and started the land grab for the US airwaves. Because these alliances had enough influence, and politicians are all about the same thing, they sold out the American people and rewrote the FCC rules concerning the responsibility of radio broadcast companies generating local content... which has cleared the way for corporate monopolies (Clear Channel; et al) to limit the ability of new artists to become "discovered" by the public.

    Now, you have at the same time, a technological revolution which allows music content to be created cheaper and cheaper... to the point that almost anyone with a computer can be a "rock star".... e.g. "just another pop commodity"... sadly.

    This has served to cheapen the pool of the actual musicianship required to create music, in the traditional sense of a mechanical skill that is acquired through repeated playing. (How do you get to Carnegie Hall??? practice, practice, practice!) This is not an indictment against all musicians... just a good number of them.

    You couple in the lure of big money, artists getting screwed, fame and a limited outlet of exposure, and the gear manufacturers start salivating as well... They'll sell millions of dollars worth of "stuff"... mostly cheap... in knowing that the vast majority of that which they sell will just get lost in the shuffle... because the odds of making in the music business are less than that of being struck by lightning (which I HAVE, btw) or winning a multi-state lottery.

    Now, you need to tack on another nasty little bit of American culture pollution.... MADD.

    As a means to control society (and we're talking about a LOT of people, and money), MADD has had more of a stifling effect that you can imagine. (I'm absolutely NOT advocating drunk driving, I'm just pulling back the covers on the reality of the effect of draconian legislation.) But what better way to control society than to scare them into being less social? The fear of getting a DUI has closed more venues, and/or caused more venues to stop having live music. Mainly, because as people traditionally dance more with live music, they drink more... and bars exist to create a profit from sales of beverages.

    In most states, venues are now held legally responsible for the patron who is intoxicated and is involved in an injurious accident. This makes it far less desirable to take that risk... and thus, there is little chance for artists to learn the craft of performing and entertaining.

    There's another "evil" concept that is now around... and that is that intellectual property is free for the taking. How this got started is beyond me, and I have had this discussion with a few people that are also scratching holes in their heads trying to figure this one out too. Samples, ripping, and theft of another's property seems to be just fine for an entire generation.

    The latest ineptitude to come out of Washington seems to be those siding with the destruction of Net Neutrality... The players with the money want to take equal access out of the hands of everyone, and make it fine to limit the accessibility of content to those than can afford it.

    When you couple than continued land grab of the public air Waves and the bottlenecking of bandwidth by the tech giants, the artist who actually cares about creating music has an even narrower window in which to potentially make a living as a performing musician.
  18. Ryan Edward

    Ryan Edward Member

    I agree with you 1000,000% MadMax. The greedy bastardos had it too good for far too long and now they are gonna get crucified by the home studio clan.
  19. MadMax

    MadMax Member

    Studio Owner/Musician
    Sunny & warm NC
    Home Page:
    The major's may get/are getting crucified by the home recordists, but the vast majority of home recordists will likely never have a chance to have their music earn much more than a few pennies of income. There is such a proliferation of those producing music and too few outlets for artists to perform music.

    While the internet does allow for anyone with an internet connection to get their music to the masses, there is little hope for artists to even continue that avenue, if the major internet service providers have their way, and choke the bandwidth down to give priority to the players with fat wallets.

    So, the "greedy bastards" are just changing faces from the loan sharks of the majors, to that of the tech giants.

    To quote from one of rock's classic songs; "Meet the new boss... The same as the old boss."

    IMHO, artists, studio owners, publishers, songwriters and fans alike, ALL need to be contacting their congressional and senatorial representatives in Washington and being extremely vocal about Net Neutrality and not letting the likes of Clear Channel, Google, Verizon and Time-Warner have their way in monopolizing the net and the public airwaves.
  20. Ryan Edward

    Ryan Edward Member

    To be honest as soon as I finish my recording connection program I plan to stay with friends in the UK and maybe try working there instead. Dance and electronic is much my my thing anyway.

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