Garrison 1Trey GarrisonMs. BennettBritish LiteratureOctober 7, 2011 Technologys Impact on Music It is remarkable how much the recording process has changed over the years. The musicrecording industry has changed at an unbelievable rate. Is this a good or bad thing? Most wouldsay it is a great thing. However, some believe the new and improved recording process has takena lot of originality out of music, seeing that more special effects are available today. Therecording process has changed immensely; the changes that have occurred have been nothing butpositive. It is amazing how different it is to go into the studio now, compared to twenty years ago.Some of the greatest bands in history such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones did not havethe luxury of great equipment. Although they still exceeded all expectations and reached placesonly others could dream of, just imagine if they had the technology that is available today. It ishard to believe, but, both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones could have reached an even greaterpoint that no other could ever meet. The overall idea behind record producing has stayed thesame, but, the recording process itself continues to change each and every day. The main reasonfor the remarkable change in production is due to the fact that, the recording equipment nowavailable is not even comparable to that of the mid to late nineteen hundreds. Every musicianseeking success has put an incredible amount of time and dedication into the recording process.It is very obvious that many aspiring musicians have failed to reach greatness. Although, thefailed artists in the music industry went through the same recording process that bands such asThe Ramones and Nirvana did, the unknown, failed artists did not see success like The Ramones
Garrison 2and Nirvana. The reason for their lack of success is due to the fact that they didnt approach thecrucial steps in this process the correct way. In order to achieve ones goals as an artist, one mustput all the time and dedication into the important steps in this process. If a musician is not able todo this effectively, greatness will never be achieved. The recording process is undoubtedly themost crucial part in determining whether an artist will be successful or not. To begin with, without the state-of-the-art equipment record producers have in this day intime, the styles of music that are popular today would be entirely different. Techno/Dance musichas become extremely popular over the past few years. The reason that techno/dance artists haveseen so much success is due to the fact that producers now have many varieties of special effectsavailable. Although the idea behind producing techno artist’s music has stayed the same, technoartists have seen success because much more technology is now available to the artist. Alongwith dance musics popularity is the growing popularity in hardcore/metal music. Hardcoremusic is undoubtedly one of the most popular genres among listeners today. Many bands in thehardcore scene consider themselves techno- metal. Bands like Abandon All Ships and AttackAttack are referred to as techno-metal. These two bands are extremely popular right now, but,they will soon die off due to a lack of creativity. There is only so much a producer can do to helpbands like Attack Attack and Abandon All Ships. The recording process for these two bands issomewhat difficult. Since they use so much technology in their work, there is not much room forerror. When successful, they can produce an extremely unique sound. However, after techno-metal artists put out two or three albums, they soon realize that continuing their work is going tobe extremely difficult. The reason for this is because, after sitting down with their producer, theyrealize that all the techno effects available have already been used numerous times in their work.Many bands like Attack Attack and Abandon All Ships die off quickly because they fail to plan
Garrison 3out how they are going to continue their work after a year or two. Failure in the recordingprocess will be what kills techno-metal artists. History shows that if the proper steps are nottaken in the studio, an artist is essentially killing themselves from the start. Second, are the people who believe the recording process has not changed. There is aload of proof that says otherwise. Refining the product means more than anything in the musicindustry. No one wants to listen to a poorly-produced album. Anyone who knows anything aboutmusic will make this a known fact in a heartbeat. The record producer is an artist’s best friend inthis project. A record producer is an individual working within the music industry whose job is tooversee and manage the recording (i.e. "production") of an artists music (Flynn). A producer hasmany roles that may include gathering ideas for the project, selecting songs and/or musicians,coaching the artist and musicians in the studio, controlling the recording sessions, andsupervising the entire process through mixing and mastering. Producers can also be of assistancewhen it comes to managing time and a budget. Needless to say, this person is crucial if an artistplans on being successful. With todays relatively easy access to technology, an alternative to therecord producer just mentioned, is the so- called “bedroom producer” (Flynn). A bedroomproducer is someone who is not the main producer but is an assistant to the main producer. Withtodays technological advances, it is very easy for a producer to achieve high quality trackswithout the use of a single instrument. Many established artists take this approach (Bellini). Anyproducer/artist that has spent a significant amount of time in the music industry will tell you justhow much the recording process has changed over the years (Gilman). Prior to the 1950s, thevarious stages of the recording and marketing process had been carried out by differentprofessionals within the industry. “A&R managers found potential new artists and signed them totheir labels; professional songwriters created new material; publishing agents sold these songs to
Garrison 4the A&R people; staff engineers carried out the task of making the recordings in company-ownedstudios” (Brower). As a result of these recording changes, record producers began to give astrong influence, not only on individual careers, but on the course of popular music. In modernday recordings, recording and mixing tasks are centralized within computers. However, there isalso the main mixer, outboard effects gear, and the recording device itself. All this equipmentwas not available to bands from the 50s and the 60s which makes one think, did all those bandstruly live up to their full potential? The world may never know. Third, it seems that guitarists do not rely on skill as much as they used to. The mostfamous guitarists of all time including Eddie Van Halen and Jimmy Page required little to nospecial effects and created some of the most memorable riffs in history (Brower). Now it seemsthat more and more bands are using technology to cover up their lack of skill. Sure, these effectsmay sound cool, but, after a while these effects become extremely repetitive and overused.Special effects in the studio can only get an artist so far, not to mention the fact that it is verydifficult to pull off live. Guitarists such as Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine heavilyrely on special equipment and effects. Tom Morello claims that he can make all kinds ofelectronic sounds using only his guitar (Bennett). Rage Against the Machine even noted on theirfirst album that all their band used to record their music was a guitar, bass and drums (Bennett).There is clear evidence that states otherwise. Tom Morello uses a 50-watt Marshall JCM 8002205 from the early 80s with a Marshall Checkerboard style cabinet and a Fender combo ampwith a 4x12 cabinet. Both of these are audio amplifiers. Along with these amplifiers, TomMorello uses numerous effects pedals. Among these effects pedals are the Voodoo Lab PedalPower supply, Dunlop Cry Baby Wah, DigiTech Whammy, Ibanez DFL Flanger, DOD FX40bEqualizer, Boss DD-2 Digital Delay, Boss TR-2 Tremolo, Talkbox, MXR Block Phase 90 Phaser,
Garrison 5Ring Modulator, Ibanez AD-9 and the Locobox Analog Delay pedal (Gilman). Seeing that thereare live videos and pictures of Morello using these effects pedals, audience members canconclude that he uses numerous resources. Although the band has still seen much success, RageAgainst the Machine has lost a lot of fans because of Morellos overwhelmingly large amounts ofeffects. With this being said, aspiring artists should think about how they are going to use theireffects before producing and distributing their product. Next, audio amplifiers are one type of equipment that is one hundred percent necessarywhile in the studio (Gilman). The number of audio amplifier designs that have been producedover the last century is in the hundreds of thousands. Audio amplifiers can be miniaturized forplacement in headsets, mobile phones and many other devices. This being said, by having theamplifiers that are available, it becomes much easier for a band/solo artist to hit it big, which isone of the major differences in music today and fifty years ago. Without audio amplifiers, thereis absolutely no way the studio process could be successful. The reason audio amplifiers are soimportant to musicians is because it gives them a better sound when trying to determine if thesound they receive is what the artist wants. Another important factor when looking into musicrecording is the studio. In order to get the full effect of a good album the quality of the studio isextremely important. Sure, you have to begin somewhere. Everyone does. By having a goodproducer who knows how to do his/her job, it makes an artist’s job a lot easier. Bands that cheapout when it comes to this part of recording have practically buried themselves in a hole theycannot get out of. Had they actually put time and effort into the recording process, the success ofthe band would have increased dramatically. That is why when an artist’s time comes to record,the artist needs to invest his/her time and money into the place that will give him/her the mostsuccess. It is apparent that artists can see very limited results at first. Without the willingness to
Garrison 6do what is necessary, an artist is never going to be able to live up to his/her full potential. If anartist does not have the capability to put in the time and effort, the amount of success the artistwill see is always limited. In conclusion, music composition and recording are absolutely critical to an artist’s career(Bellini). Musical composition is such an exciting field of work. It is an opportunity few peoplehave a chance at. The reason that so few people have a chance at being successful is quite simple.It is an extremely difficult field of work. Thousands of artists have been trying to hit it big foryears. Only a handful will see any amount of successful due to the fact that there is so muchcompetition. If an artist plans to be successful, he/she is going to have to go thru the entirerecording process more than once. The recording process is what makes or breaks an artistscareer. By skipping the necessary steps in this process, an artist is already limiting themselvesfrom having success. There are many record producers willing to work with anyone that will putin the effort that is necessary in this industry. Not taking the recording process seriously is theworst mistake an artist could make. Putting in the time and effort is the only way to be successful.The overall recording process is undoubtedly very difficult. However, it is one hundred percentnecessary to an artists career.