Skip to main content

State of Major Label recording

Member for

21 years
Hey guys, been snooping around the forums for a little while and have an important question for you.

I am considering going to Berklee college of music in a year or so and I am torn between double majoring in Performance and Music Production and Engineering, or Performance and Music Buisness and Management. I Would MUCH rather double in Performance and Music production because I find the Music Production aspect of music more interesting then the business side. My question to you is: Would it be a wise decision to depend upon getting a degree in music prod. and engineering from Berklee and be able to get a job at a recording studio once out of school? Is that a reliable job source? I know that the state of the major label recording industry is poor because of the advent of technology which allows for people to do it at home and not even bother with going to a major label.

Would a job at a recording studio in LA, NYC, or Boston, MA be a good thing to fall back on if the 'Performance' side of things doesn't quite work out? I need something that is full proof so I don't wind up on the street.

- Nick


Member for

21 years

Member Tue, 01/23/2007 - 09:08
It's an interesting question, and while top recording studios and record labels may close their doors in time due to the increased competition from independent online channels, good bands will always seek the assistance of a producer/engineer who knows what they are doing. It may be cheap and easy to mix your own songs at home, but every band that wants to sell themselves should always invest in professional studio time.

I'm sure if you could get some experience in live sound engineering as well, then your skill set would allow you to diversify within general music production. Bands may not feel like they need recording studios, but they always need a sound engineer when playing live!

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 02/07/2007 - 12:37
davedog no one is perfect, be a good christian. if you would like to constructively "call me on acting like a pompous ass" there are many other ways to do so without an outright declaration, which requires immediate defensiveness from everyone involved. besides the topics have nothing to do with me or you, they have to do with the idea in discussion.

and if you feel the need to be very direct with your declarations, then you can't expect a rebuttle of the same caliber to be not tolerated.

that's the law of the jungle man.

Member for

19 years 9 months

Davedog Wed, 02/07/2007 - 14:42
Each jungle has it own set of rules. Its always a good idea, when you're traipsing through someones' jungle, to abide by those rules.

I have given you a glimpse of those in this jungle.

As far as being direct.....I'm not a person that sees a melon and shouts " Look Mommy, a Petunia..."

Direct is one thing and cruel is another. Cross that line and the jungle will shat upon you.

I'm done with the banter. You have your warning and your guidelines.

This subject is now closed.

I would like to see the subject matter back up and bringing in new thoughts on it.

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Fri, 01/19/2007 - 12:12
Dear Nick, the state of the industry is in a huge flux as you have already observed. Those large studios that you mention in NYC, LA, etc., are largely closing up and some of the biggest powerhouses have already gone out of business. It's sad.

Although I don't think it's completely unrealistic about getting a job in a studio, it's more important to be resourceful. Most of us have built our own studios, or know somebody else who has. So again, it's a lot of " who you know". You still need to be very good at what you do and be competitive. You need to make sure that your "eye's" are crossed. And your "titty's" dotted. Do the math. 22 divided by 7. Let me know your answer?

Still, if you want to make an impression, "I need something that is full proof so I don't wind up on the street." FOOL! That is the proof! Poof! You're the fool and already on the street!

36+ year veteran fool, in from the cold.
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 05/16/2007 - 00:37
This is What i think we should do

Well if the times are changing and we see it coming then we have to change with it. Folks we all know that its not the building its not the speakers, its not the mixer, its the man behind the technology that sets him apart from the rest. I have never worked in a big huge studio i was the guy trying to get clients in there for 40 bucks an hour and gave him block rates. as if 40 wasn't cheap enough. To make a long story short i didn't make it and it wasn't how cheap i was but how disorganized i ran my operation. Too many chiefs and not enough indians when you do business with friends. but with all the experience i have learned over the years, has now let me freelance without having to be confinded to one place. This theory back then was crazy but now travel where the money is if you have the right connections. Even though all these people are learning and doing there own music, they still need professionals to finish the job.

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://ironworksent…"]Pro Audio Matrix[/]="http://ironworksent…"]Pro Audio Matrix[/]

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Wed, 02/07/2007 - 18:21
One thing that IMHO bears a lot of influence on, not only the quality of music but the willingness of people to pay for it, is (I know this is asking for it) the degradation of values and ethics in general.

1-The degradation of the ideal of what music and art are: People no longer put boundaries on what qualifies as art. Art now is defined by it's accessibility to the viewer. If a person cannot comprehend it, it is viewed as technical jargon. Boring. I'm not opposed to minimalism but any reference to 4.33 irritates me to no end.

2-The degradation of values: (I can feel the flak already) Seriously though. Rebel ideals are so glorified that having any sort of value system causes people to grimace. Now I don't mean religion necessarily, I mean simply having a point of view as to what's write and wrong. The world has a wild west/mob rules mentality. "It's okay as long as you don't get caught." No concern over consequences. Then when they find themselves desiring to be content creaters, all of a sudden they want compensation.

Alright. Bring on the onslaught.

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 02/04/2007 - 13:00
no doubt the music industry is going or has gone (but hopefully not) to shit, though why is it such a tragedy for people to want to do some variation on "home recording?" it is to which the level of this variation occurs that is the important aspect. i admit that certain digital recordings are alright, i have heard many that are in all honesty good recordings (off the top of my head a perfect circle, green day - warning, joe satriani). but the experiences i have even with a cd that was recorded on reel to reel and converted is so much better and more wholesome.

no doubt vinyl is awesome, but i have no problem with the way cd's were created in the late 80's and early 90's. the career titles associated with a recording studio mean nothing, its not rocket science and its much more about having a keen sense of producing any form of music rather than technical ability. people whom i feel are good are those like eddie kramer (his work is harbored on hendrix, who arguably did more groundbreaking recording techniques than the beatles though it was never translated to the mass reproductions of his stuff and kiss, a band who is never respected nearly as much as they should be for their recording legacy), jimmy page - self produced musician, bob rock - probably doesn't know a whole lot about "engineering," but knows how to produce music.

i often find it interesting that people like alan parsons, and george martin never really worked with that many people, and i consider them to be quite lucky to work with the musicians that they did.

there is nothing wrong with bands wanting to produce their own music. how many people have technically "home" recorded in the past? red hot chili peppers recorded in jimmy page/aliester crowley's old house was it? judas priest recorded in ringo starr/john lennon's home studio. bat out of hell was recorded in todd rundgren's studio. the beastie boys were recorded in rick rubin's college dorm. as long as the artist pays attention to the physics and psychoacoustics of sound its all in fair production. besides i blame the widespread acceptance of rap (even though i like plenty of 'genuine' rap artists) for the advent of synthetic music, not necessarily the advent of home studios.

Member for

15 years 11 months

RemyRAD Tue, 01/23/2007 - 21:55
Just because I can diagnose most mechanical problems with my car, doesn't mean I want to do the repair work myself. So in that respect, I'll pay somebody else to fix it but at the same time, tell them what I want in a professional and comprehensible manner.

So even though the dynamics of the professional audio business is changing, good professional engineers will always have a place but not necessarily a consistent job. I'm, these days, a freelancer. Which is a euphemism for unemployment. Sometimes it's feast. Most of the time it's famine. And just like a junkie, I've always got this equipment monkey on my back. I'm always looking for that magic fix of a new piece of hardware that will send me into aural orgasms.

Thank goodness I can sell my body for that special microphone!
Ms. Remy Ann David

Member for

21 years

Member Wed, 02/07/2007 - 20:18
i think for a long time there has been pushing of the boundaries to what art conceivably is. again, it's something that goes both ways. visually i think the perfect example is in the 40's and 50's you had emphasis on abstract paintings, where big rough and tough guys splashed some paint on a canvas and called it art. andy warhol's genius response is a campbell's soup can, in which he painted the colors of before he added the lines. not to mention he used the mass media advertising screen printing process to do this work of art.

as much as i might agree with you, i do put some value on being able to permeate and infiltrate the masses by utilization of pop sensibility. its always interesting that people like john lennon and kurt cobain, while relating to so many people were the most misunderstood guys you could ever imagine.

those who directly emulate the idea of rebellion (which should more generally be understood as a sense of freedom or liberation; having no rules to constrain you or your creativity) are most usually small minded in some sense. those who are true rebels though have little need to allude to it in 'stereotypical' fashion within (or outside) the context of their songwriting and they certainly don't have a uniform to wear or think by any set of guidelines.

no doubt there are problems though

it seems a challenge to me to coersce all the audience devoted to synthetic music back to the natural electric funeral that is rock and roll.

or any other natural expression for that matter

society's nerves are shot

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 02/04/2007 - 16:12
Sometimes I have to wonder though, are the big studios really going out of busines primarily because of the competitition from the home recording market, or is it caused by more complex factors.

My little pet theory is that big and especially mid sized studios are failing, not just because of the market, but because they are being run in a crappy and inefficient manner.

I see two contributory factors:

(1) I think a lot of studio owners are just running themselves into debt because the owners have an inability to stay on a realistic budget. This is a field of "eye candy" and eye candy costs money. Its not just the equipment, but the physical appearance of the studios also. Studio owners want nicer studios than they can afford to buy or rent, and they want to decorate them so lavishly.

(2) I think the botique market has a major role to play in destroying the studio field.

Its ironic that botique equipment market has such a symbiotic relationship to the audio recording field. We need each other. We both gain. Thats the free market. However, it also seems that the botique manufacturers are like a bunch of blood sucking parasites who want to make a buck at all costs, even if they know that its going to lead to somebody elses destruction.

The price for a lot of this botique equipment is artificially inflated, and too much snake oil crap is being peddled, though its really no different than all the other snake oil thats peddled in this world.... thats just marketing hype... The audio field is absolutely no different in this regard.

Simply put, its all this botique equipment crap which is like "crack" or "heroin" to us audio folks. $3,000++ compressors, preamplifiers and microphones are our drug of choice, our "fix", and we are all diseased.

Well not all of us are infected. Some people manage to maintain a very responsible and level head in this field and know the boundaries of what kind of equipment is really necessary.

Other people (and I put myself in this category) are diseased, and pontificating buying equipment is like our drug fix. Its like or Home Shopping Network binge.... buying crap we dont really need, and with every purchase, we drive ourselves further and further into the debt hole. This is why the studio field is in the decline, I hypothesize. Snake oil salesman selling their crap at inflated prices... and stupid businessmen who get suckered in by the snake oil peddlers and buy their drugs, I mean botique equipment.

Member for

20 years 6 months

MadMax Sun, 02/04/2007 - 19:03
OK... I'll play...

It's the best of times and the worst of times...

It's no longer a majority of music being played by musicians who either have a love for the music or who have a message in their soul...

There's two ugly sides to it... It's about fame and fast money... and... It's about the margin. It's a business of profit and loss statements.

The consumer has been told it's fine to steal from the creator and that it's perfectly fine to make the artists starve... they're too rich anyway. The consumer market is too stupid to understand the economics... They believe Wrestling is real, too!

The lure of easy money has been compounded by the advent of cheap technology and promises of an easy walk to stardom and fame.

The technology has cheapened the value of the art, artist and the whole creative process. But unlike the home organs of the past, the computing tools allow the complete absense of musical skill or ability to bypass the single greatest aspect of creating music. There is no longer a self culling process whereby true artists seperate from those who have limited talent. It's now a completely level playing field.

The technology has changed so rapidly that the typical 5-10 year business investment of a studio has become the deathknell of the 5 year lease and $1 buy out.

To stay competitive... e.g. marginal skillsets of any schmuk who hangs a shingle out there... the poor skuts are having dilusions that there really IS some magic piece of gear that wil propel them into the mainstream of the industry where upon a spotlight will hit them and they shall be saved from the wolves of the credit lenders.

The vultures from the little manufacturers are claiming "this way to fame"... and some of the idiots buy into it... they who listen deserve what they get.

It takes nads to be in this cat-fight... and better chops. You need to realize that this industry is dying a horrible death. It's a death like no other industry shall probably see in another 50 years (except the auto industry) because within the death there WILL be a rebirth.

It will be a birth of a wider duality. On one side will be media. The other shall be artistic creativity. One commercial, the other very small and very private.

There will be windows whereby the private side shall be able to pass through. "So what's the difference between now and then?" you ask... the size of the conglomerate gatekeepers controlling the access.

Thanx to (de)regulation, the likes of Unclear Channel and maybe... MAYBE one or two other corporations will control 90 percent of the access to all of the commercial over the air broadcast media.

Which means that the competition will be a conundrum of of attempts to manipulate and control the likes of the international community of the internet.

In order to rise above the cacaphony, you will need to be in the limelight... to make it into the limelight, you must go through a much higher priced gate or succomb to the lower ranks within the internet.

The internot will yield a few larger ports which will probably eventually succomb to the pressures and payoff from the Unclear Supercorp.

It will take some time, maybe another 5 years, but eventually, there will be little availability of venues for bands to actually perform, so the sale of music will eventually be limited to those entities who can maintain a presence on the web. Incomes will be scarce, but such is the way of the marketplace.

But everyone will have the ability to record their music and place it out there for the world to see... until none of the equipment manufacturers is making money... and the whole thing collapses and the cycle will start over again.

Member for

21 years

Member Sun, 02/04/2007 - 22:03
you are quite the prophet. no doubt the advent of technology goes both ways. right now, the mass public is confused about how they should obtain their audio. the medium is trying too quickly to change, hopefully shit like the ipod (another reason to hate mac) will die as quickly as cassette did. i blame everybody for what occured through p2p downloading programs. not only was it the artist's fault for not producing anything worthwhile (both creatively and sonically) but its also the audience's fault for buying ignorantly into synthetic "music" and for themselves not holding SOME sense of sonic perfection to value.

most people don't realize the role technology played in rock and roll. i think a huge part of jimi hendrix's distinct sound (which changed electric guitar forever) was actually owed to the creation of marshall amps and obviously the use of cabinets and high wattage heads. i'm sure at the time electric guitar was seen as degrading. it still frustrates me for the classical musicians who credit proficiency on electric guitar as easier than acoustic. i don't think it's any easier than playing a flimsy little set of nylons.

although i don't like your pro wrestling analogy, because anyone who seriously feels the need to point out that its fake has some sort of issue, i will diagnose that in freudian terms. wrestling is fake? nice insight, genius

there is a piece of gear out there that despite all the ass clowns its allowed for in the mainstream, every artist truly can (and most know this) benefit from using it, and its called pro tools. even as a good musician you would be lying if you denied dynamic processing procedure (even though most times dynamic processors are used for colouring your sound over doing the actual process.) the anal classical and jazz musicians can kiss ass. either that or they can try maybe integrating one ounce of creativity and ingenuity into their sound instead of doing their best to commit to the boundaries of a genre.

i could very much see a modern downfall in music similar to what happened to classical music. i don't think there is anything wrong with the death of former institutions like the typical recording studio situation or where radio is going. i don't like listening to idiots on the radio talk about the stupid shit they talk about. i'd rather just have some archive like xm radio. who cares if its owned by one company. an extensive archive would be nice.

i find it funny that MTV (Music television) plays maybe an hour of music a day if that. to me that is the most ridiculous aspect and tell tale sign of the times.

in my opinion, live venues are or have been dead for a while. why else is it the preconceived notion that you have to go to LA or NY to make it.

the web and most other forms of technology can work in a positive direction however, i think everyone on this engineering forum knows that. it just takes the proper motivation from all parties involved. not only is it the artist's responsibility, it is also the audience's.

to me, the engineer doesn't mean technical rigour as much as it means having a knack for listening to music and knowing how it should be produced (most "engineers" might tell you that this is called a producer). basically the moral of the whole thing is to be a good and intent listener

Member for

19 years 9 months

Thomas W. Bethel Sat, 01/20/2007 - 05:53
10 years ago I would have said that getting into the recording business was a good idea. Today is is a CRAP SHOOT at best and downright disheartening at the worst. The whole music industry is in a turmoil and things are definitely not what the were 10 years ago. A good business degree is always a good door opener. Back that up with good people skills and you probably can get a job in most any industry. RemyRAD is right on the money as usual.

Member for

15 years 10 months

hueseph Sun, 02/04/2007 - 23:59
MadMax wrote: They believe Wrestling is real, too!

The lure of easy money has been compounded by the advent of cheap technology and promises of an easy walk to stardom and fame.

The technology has cheapened the value of the art, artist and the whole creative process. But unlike the home organs of the past, the computing tools allow the complete absense of musical skill or ability to bypass the single greatest aspect of creating music. There is no longer a self culling process whereby true artists seperate from those who have limited talent. It's now a completely level playing field.

What? Wrestling is fake?!

On the other hand I think you nailed it with the technology, though I don't think the playing field is nearly level now. By far success is leaning to those who are marketable. If the look is right, if the allure is right, talent and music can be bought or synthesised.

Member for

19 years 9 months

Davedog Thu, 02/08/2007 - 00:37
Awwww. pawwwww....

Thats pretty etheral there mr. aquaman............

But you could be right........Its okay to infiltrate the general public and still be a weirdo.

And yeah, those that tend to get their due from being overt are generally very FOCUSED ...not necessarily 'small-minded'.........

And then the psycho-babble kicked in and went out the back....

Nice art Mr Program.

Member for

21 years

Member Mon, 02/05/2007 - 00:19
hueseph wrote:

On the other hand I think you nailed it with the technology, though I don't think the playing field is nearly level now. By far success is leaning to those who are marketable.

If the look is right, if the allure is right, talent and music can be bought or synthesised.

Speaking of... this would be a good time to bring up that YouTube video. Dont know how many people have seen it.

Aptly entitled "How To Create A Sexy Pop Star".

Sadly.... I think thats the way it really is, and the makers of this film didnt have to exaggerate to get their point across.