History Music Production Part 6 – DIY Culture & Music

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.

(Musical Styles/Genre 2016)

Musical styles (Genre) studies exemplifying changing practice in music production

I provide some examples of contemporary DIY music production practitioners, chosen because of the following: their presence in public mediums; are considered a source of information and influence to the wider music production field; are practitioners who have rejected traditional recording practice, in favour of DIY Music Production practice; and have exhibited characteristics of DIY culture. Due to the diversity of the contemporary DIY music production practitioner and their musical style (genre) interests, I have included examples from three contrasting musical styles (genres): indie rock, electronic music production, and hybrid musical styles.

1. Musical style (Genre) Study A: Music production practices in indie rock

Dandy Warhols and Tame Impala

 (Dandy-Warhols 2012)                            (Tame Impala 2012a)
Similar to a few artists since the 1950’s (Burgess 2014, 52-53; Emerick and Massey 2006, 306; Burgess 2014, 93), Dandy Warhol’s were signed to a record label, achieved commercial success, completed their record company contractual obligations, and rejected traditional production practice to self-produce. They procured physical space, carried out DIY renovations, and improvised production using assorted technology[1] (Davie 2012, 46-50; Dandy Warhols 2010). Total oversight provided flexibility, allowing choice of technology choice, how it was to be applied, and to what standards they aspired to – commercial, technical, creative, affective or social. “The rise of more affordable digital recording rigs and easier programming protocols represents a democratisation of technology, making available a process that was once accessible only through the facilities and skills provided by a recording studio” (Leyshon 2009,1309). Musician, songwriter, producer Kevin Parker {aka Tame Impala} – a contemporary DIY music production practitioner with commercial, creative and affective practice motives, has “total disregard for convention”. Similar to the Dandy Warhols, Parker prefers to experiment, producing Tame Impala’s 2012b “Lonerism” in a rented apartment with a range of technology of varying quality. Not necessarily following efficient practice, Parker’s openly disregards accepted technical processes and standards. The album received critical acclaim, described as “cosmic mangling of sound and makeshift technique”. Parker’s production and post-production skills “are sought-after by like-minded artists”: artists, who no doubt, aspire to non-convention and preparedness to deviate from accepted industry standards (Davie 2012, 44-45; Tame Impala. 2012b).

2.Musical style (Genre) Study B: Music production practices in electronic music production

Danger Mouse and Goyte

           (Danger Mouse 2004)                         (Goyte 2011a)
Brian Burton {aka Danger Mouse[2]} experimented with the sampling process of the day[3] by fusing two well-known albums[4], and shared it with his local community. Connecting to his creative, affective and social practice motives, the community responded, shared it online with the broader community, attracting the attention of the US authorities for Danger Mouse’s breach of copyright[5] (Gunderson 2004). Much conversation and debate ensured, attracting more attention, and his ‘remix’ went ‘viral’. Danger Mouse’s name became infamous to both consumers and music industry establishment as a production talent (Johnsen et al 2007; Väkevä 2010, 61-66). Affirming the ‘possibilities’ of DIY, the ‘event’ influenced aspiring practitioners, inspiring them to similar innovative and creative acts in their attempt to gain notoriety, and “stand out in the crowd” (Hracs et al. 2013, 1144, 1149). Building on his prior releases, Danger Mouse experienced a rapid rise to fame and respect as a production practitioner (Davie 2014, 38; Duckworth 2005, 148). Similarly, DIY Wally de Backer {aka Goyte} wanted to build upon his prior releases and explore a new level of creative and affective practice for his third album by incorporating original acoustic samples into the process[6]. Recording samples in his project studio using a range of technologies[7], Goyte created a range of virtual instruments, able to be played in unique ways that the original acoustic instruments could not have[8]. By “virtualizing the instrument this way”, Goyte was able to create sonic qualities or textures not previously heard. The production received critical acclaim and awards worldwide (Goyte 2011c; Goyte 2011b). Additionally, as a prosumer Goyte used technology as he desired, choosing to record below high-fidelity standards (Davie 2015, 34): “some songs I sang into the microphone of the MacBookPro – for whatever reason it sounded really good in that room and I left it in the final mix” (Holder 2011). Today’s developed technology allows music producers “a significant degree of creative freedom”, to “produce highly accomplished soundtracks”, of a standard where “some of these tracks … can literally be sent straight to the record company for final mastering” (Hewitt 2008, xv). The portable studio has enabled a new environment for DIY production (Huber and Runstein 2014, 78).

3. Musical style (Genre) Study C: Hybrid music production practice

Brian Eno & Trent Reznor

(Brian Eno 1984a)                            (Nine Inch Nails 2008a)
Early in his career, Eno recognized a fundamental difference between live performance and studio practice in the way music moved from a “transient and ephemeral experience, to one that could be replayed as many times as one had access to the recording” (2004, 127). Having multiple listening opportunities with recorded productions allowed the brain to hear different elements and dimensions of the composed music, each time a track is listened to. Approaching the “studio as an instrument in order to create new sonic worlds”, Eno focussed on creating multi-dimensional sonic and textural narratives, to entertain the listener and to hold the consumer’s attention each time they revisited that particular track (2004,127). Rejecting traditions of music and audio industry training and standards, Eno commenced self-producing music reflecting his creative and affective desires. Creator of the ‘ambient music’ genre (Eno 1984b; Tamm 1995), Eno likens his practice to that of a painter, “working directly with a material, working directly on a substance”. A contemporary practitioner has exponentially greater options available to them[9], without the need for compositional and instrumental skill and training as required a decade ago (Eno, 2004, 127 -129). Similarly, Reznor rejected traditional production practice early, choosing instead a hybrid approach of analogue and digital working environments to drive Nine Inch Nails’ economic, creative, affective and social practice desires. Using a range of instruments, sonic qualities and textures and workflows from diverse genres, he created ‘industrial rock’ (Nine Inch Nails 2008b; Wikström 2013; Anderson 2008; Young and Collins 2010, McIntyre 2012,149). Motivated by a rapidly decentralizing industry, Reznor embraced new opportunities, proactively engaging the consumer, inviting them to interact in the production process (Stone 2009; Väkevä 2010, 61). Reznor‘s acceptance and openness for change allowed for “new forms of artistry” (Väkevä 2010, 59; Anderson 2008). The “relationship between audience, producer, and artist fundamentally changed with the digitalization of music”. Prosumers no longer considered the elements of production and distribution of cultural productions “as separate functions or responsibilities, but as one process” (Miller 2013, 37). Technology enabled and encouraged access to music production for just about anyone. In turn, the contemporary prosumer interacted with the developing technology in creative or experimental ways, differently to their predecessors or how the manufacturers had intended (Tepper and Hargittai 2009, 233). Such misuse of technology, likely to be the result of either disregarding or not knowing what were previously accepted standards, often reveal innovative sonic textures that capture the imagination of peers or consumers, such as the use of Autotune when used by the producers of Cher, and later adopted by T-Pain as a vocal signature (Antares 2015; Neyfakh 2014; Sillitoe 1999). As both Eno and Reznor demonstrated, use of alternative technology or practice {creative, affective, social or effective practice}, derived from development or innovation, influences new genres of music to emerge (Langford 2010, 15). Such creativity and innovation is essential for the health and longevity of the discipline, and irrespective of the status of the practitioner, every one contributes to its development. Creativity and innovation “occurs in the plethora of smaller firms representing a multitude of cultures and subcultures, … where new ideas result from experimentation” (Moran 2011,63): “most of the real business of music production starts at the local level, where creativity blossoms in a myriad of different forms” (Wallis 2001, 11).

Conclusion

Contemporary DIY music production practice has been profoundly influenced with the increasing decentralisation in the audio and music industry since the 1980’s via a range of factors including: the development and adoption of digital recording technologies, and; the exponential influence of global communication networks on music production and consumption practices. Following these factors, DIY perspectives on cultural production have become particularly influential in music production, in many ways redefining the field today. Enabled by these factors, contemporary DIY music production practitioners are and rebellious practitioners with eclectic backgrounds, musical tastes and skill levels. They are likely motivated by creative, affective or social practice, rather than effective practice, making aesthetic choices over technical ‘standards’, and working in what could be considered ineffective or inefficient workflows. They are more likely to be passionate hobbyists, who want to create, express and be heard, using project or portable technology as either a studio or an instrument, probably in a way that was not originally intended by the manufacturer, and yet creating unique sonic qualities or textures, influencing new genres to emerge.
Due to the relative immaturity of the discipline, the diverse and eclectic nature of the contemporary DIY Music Production practitioner, and the shortage of detailed information describing process, an opportunity exists for a discipline endorsed research study into the practices of a range of contemporary DIY music production practitioners. This should be conducted with the goal of developing accepted standards and a model of contemporary DIY music production ‘best practice’ principles, to offer genuine guidance and support to contemporary DIY music production practitioners in the pursuit of their practice, irrespective of their motivation, or combination of motivations, for creative, affective, effective or social practice.
Footnotes
[1] The Dandy Warhols use an eclectic assortment of analogue, digital and virtual equipment, in addition to just about any device that they can see a possibility of creating new and interesting sonic qualities or textures (Davie 2012, 46-50).
[2] Danger Mouse is an example of a contemporary DIY music production practitioner, who commenced as an acoustic musician (Burton is an accomplished drummer), and then found a ‘voice’ in the DIY world of self-production within his bedroom project studio (Davie 2014, 38-43). Danger Mouse “had already released four CD mixes” prior to the ‘Grey Album’ event (Gunderson 2004; Danger Mouse 2004)
[3] Known as Remixing, this aesthetic practice commenced in an early form in the late 1970s when dance venues started to gain popularity. Initially, DJs used two turntables to play the danceable sections of different songs, omitting the less danceable parts of songs, by alternating the album and track they were playing. Artists then saw an opportunity to have their songs extended’ for the dance market, by re-recording a dance version, altering the structure of the song[3], in order for it to be more conducive to dance venues. This then led to the development of a dance genre. With the development of digital technologies and portable tape machines, DJ’s took the dance idea, and started using a selection of well-known samples from previous hit records[see footnote 3], in a very repetitive way. Known as sampling, it has continued to develop exponentially, especially as technologies developed to include virtual technologies. What was once restricted to DJ’s syncing abilities, record companies, and via tape playing devices, could now be done easily within a virtual digital audio workstation (DAW). The technology was now whatever a practitioner wanted it to be: in its original intended use as a multi-track recorder, or; as a studio; or, as an instrument. Such diversity of use enabled the proliferation of the genre: remixing. Essentially mixing, or blending two released tracks together, required little to no instrument skill, just a ‘feel’ for what sounded good to them. Access to technology now allowed practitioners to pursue ‘affective practice’, following their emotion, allowing their creativity to produce anything they could dream or imagine. Universal in moving people to engage with music is the emotional aspect (Bennett 2005, 117; Hodges and Sebald 2011, 68).
[4] Known as the “Grey album”, it was an innovative fusion of the Beatles’ “White Album” and Jay-Z’s “Black Album” (Davie 2014, 34; Danger Mouse 2004).
[5] Danger Mouse, demonstrating characteristics synonymous with DIY culture, had not sought the owners permission before he attempted his remix, and then supplied it publically. The fact that it was not sold, and Danger Mouse nor his friends stood to make no income out of the sharing of the product meant that in theory he was not breaching copyright (Gunderson 2004).
[6] Goyte had made his first two albums using samples from prepared sample libraries. For his third album, Goyte wanted to record acoustic samples to use within his digital instruments, effectively creating unique instruments (Goyte 2011c).
[7] Goyte used both a MacBookPro and a multi-track reel to reel recorder (Goyte 2011c).
[8] Goyte used innovative processing techniques to create a range of virtual instruments, played in ways that the original acoustic instruments could not have – rhythmically, harmonically and even melodically (Goyte 2011c).
[9] Greater music production options, in terms of diverse sample libraries and both digital and virtual instruments that can bend, morph, twist, transpose, delay, or reverse any original signal that is fed into it.
References
Anderson, Nate. 2008. “Reznor makes $750,000 even when the music is free.” Accessed May 20, 2015. http://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2008/03/reznor-makes-750000-even-whenthe-music-is-free.
Antares. 2015. “Auto-tune.” Accessed 7th May, 2015. http://www.antarestech.com.
Bennett, Andy. 2005. Culture and everyday life. New York, NY: Routledge.
Burgess, Richard James. 2014. The history of music production. New York: Oxford University Press.
Dandy Warhols, The. 2010. The Dandy Warhols: best of the capitol years 1995-2007. Capitol Records. Compact Disc.
Dandy Warhols. 2012. This Machine image courtesy of Discogs Accessed 28th August, 2015.
Danger Mouse. 2004. The Grey Album image courtesy of Discogs Accessed 28th August, 2015.
Davie, Mark. 2015. “DIY: don’t be a tool.” Audio Technology 2015 (106): 98.
Davie, Mark. 2014. “Danger Mouse: producer of the decade.” Audio Technology (100): 98.
Davie, Mark. 2012. “The diy revolution.” Audio Technology (91): 98.
Duckworth, William. 2005. Virtual music: How the web got wired for sound. New York, NY: Routledge.
Emerick, Geoff and Howard Massey. 2007. Here, there and everywhere: my life recording the music of the beatles. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
Eno, Brian. 2004. “The studio as compositional tool.” In Audio culture: readings in modern music, edited by Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, 127-130. New York: Continuum.
Eno, Brian. 1984b. Ambient 4: on land. Editions EG. Compact Disc.
Eno, Brian. 1984a. Ambient 4: on land. image courtesy of Discogs Accessed 28th August, 2015.
Gotye. 2011c. “Making, making mirrors – a short documentary.” Accessed 5th May, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZXLyeatI0s&list=PL2qcTIIqLo7WEHIeJ0s2Y21jgIKoQahkD&index=64.
Goyte. 2011b. Making Mirrors. Eleven May 5, 2015. Compact Disc
Goyte. 2011a. Making Mirrors image courtesy of Discogs Accessed 28th August, 2015.
Gunderson, Philip A. 2004. “Danger Mouse’s “grey album”, mash-ups, and the age of composition.” Postmodern Culture 15 (1): 7.
Hewitt, Michael. 2008. Music theory for computer musicians. Boston: Cengage Learning Course Technology.
Hodges, Donald A and David C Sebald. 2011. Music in the human experience: an introduction to music psychology. New York: Routledge
Holder, Christopher. 2011. “Goyte.” Audio Technology (84): 98.
Hracs, Brian J, Doreen Jakob and Atle Hauge. 2013. “Standing out in the crowd: the rise of exclusivity-based strategies to compete in the contemporary marketplace for music and fashion.” Environment and Planning A 45 (5): 1144-1161.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2014. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Johnsen, Andreas , Ralf Christensen and Henrik Moltke. 2007. “Good Copy, Bad Copy.” Copyright and Culture Documentary. Accessed June 7, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEKl5I_Q044&list=PL2qcTIIqLo7WEHIeJ0s2Y21jgIKoQahkD&index=72.
Langford, Simon. 2010. Remix manual. Burlington: Focal Press.
Leyshon, Andrew. 2009. “The Software slump?: digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy.” Environment and Planning 41 (6): 1309.
McIntyre, Phillip. 2012. “Rethinking creativity: record production and the systems model.” In The art of record production: an introductory reader for a new academic field, 149-62. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
Miller, Eric R. 2013. “The influence of recording technology on music performance and production.” Bachelor of Science in Media Arts and Studies, Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University.
Moran, Ian P. 2011. “Punk: the do-it-yourself subculture.” Social Sciences Journal 10 (1): 13.
Musical Styles/Genre 2016 image courtesy of: Musical Styles Accessed 15th December, 2016
Neyfakh, Leon. 2014. “The Sadness of T-Pain.” Accessed 7th June, 2015. http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-sadness-of-t-pain.
Nine Inch Nails. 2008b. Ghosts I-IV. Shock Records. Compact Disc.
Nine Inch Nails. 2008. Ghosts I-IV image courtesy of Discogs Accessed 28th August, 2015.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2015b  What Brought Me Here #10 – Eno  Accessed 28th August, 2015.
Page, David L. 2015a. History of Music Production Part 5b  Accessed 5th August, 2015
Sillitoe, Sue. 1999. “Recording Cher’s “Believe”.” Accessed 7th June, 2015. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb99/articles/tracks661.htm.
Stone, Brad. 2009. “Artists find backers as labels wane.” Accessed 7th June, 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/technology/internet/22music.html?_r=0.
Tame Impala. 2012b. Lonerism. Modular. Compact Disc.
Tame Impala. 2012a. Lonerism image courtesy of Discogs Accessed 28th August, 2015.
Tamm, Eric. 1995. Brian Eno: his music and the vertical color of sound. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.
Tepper, Steven J. and Eszter Hargittai. 2009. “Pathways to music exploration in a digital age.” Poetics 37 (3): 227-249.
Väkevä, Lauri. 2010. “Garage band or GarageBand®? Remixing musical futures.” British Journal of Music Education 27 (01): 59-70.
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. “Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries.” Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
Wikström, Patrik. 2013. The music industry: music in the cloud, Digital media and society series. Cambridge: Polity.
Young, Sherman and Steve Collins. 2010. “A View from the Trenches of Music 2.0.” Popular Music and Society 33 (3): 339-355.
– ©David L Page 28/08/2015
– ©David L Page 15/12/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Effective and best practice for the contemporary music practitioner

Pro Tools 11screenshot

Standards of effective practice have played an important part in the audio industry, even though these may be challenged by DIY culture and practices. Historically, the music and audio industry’s standards have addressed commercial and technical criteria. In commercial terms a “successful record producer is, by definition, someone who has had multiple hits” (Burgess 1997, 162; Grammy Awards 2015), while technical standards have been formulated through industry bodies such as The Audio Engineering Society (Gibson 2006, 42) and more recently, the Recording Producers and Engineers Wing (2008).

Historical development of practice

The Audio Engineering Society {AES} was formed in 1948 in New York as a governing body, and to offer industry expertise to the developing recording and broadcast industry (AES 2015). A significant outcome of the AES was the creation of standards for which the industry could operate, and that manufacturers of any recording and broadcast industry equipment could comply with. This was very beneficial as the development of certain equipment such as microphones were being constructed with a variety of unique fittings that meant that microphones were not universal, requiring different microphone cables for each manufacturer’s device. The AES was instrumental in influencing a universal standard over time (AES 2015; Huber and Runstein 2010, 111-179). However, the majority of standards developed, were technical or theoretical to audio engineering, not process or workflow-based for the more global discipline of music production (AES 2015). As access was limited to recording studios up until the 1980’s, such music production process or workflow remained to those in the one of the specific skilled roles previously referred to, or as an artist. Practice was aligned to the typical corporate organisational effectiveness objectives, to maximise profitability. Music production practice was controlled by the management of the commercial radio and television studios or the recording studios; the skilled scientists, technicians or manufacturers creating the technology or the processes, with the focus on ‘correct’ use and application of technology, inline with the studio management’s directives of conservatism to preserve the organisational objectives; or the music producers who had successfully produced recordings for artists, contracted to abide by management’s directives to meet the organisational objectives (Robbins et al 2009, 708-710; Burgess 2014, 38-41, 42-55, 82-97; Emerick and Massey 2007, 54).
As technology developed and music production related equipment became available to the prosumer market, user manuals provided by the manufacturer instructing the user how they were best to use the unit was one of the few mediums of effective practice being made available outside of the professional studio environment[1]. One of the first units with such a user manual was for the TASCAM series 144 model Portastudio user manual (TEAC 1979).  A decade later, the first industry functional text, sponsored by one of the major manufacturers on the sector was released. Initiated by two audio engineers, arranging sponsorship from the Yamaha Music Corporation to be able to write it, the “Yamaha-The Sound Reinforcement Handbook” was at the time the only comprehensive audio engineering textbook of its kind, and instantly became a standard reference book to the industry (Davis & Jones 1990). The text remained for more than a decade as the only text book comprehensively, outlining audio engineering theory and techniques for ‘sound reinforcement’[2]. The third service and support more recently provided for budding DIY music producers is a range of instructional courses, vocational courses such as the likes of the Australian-based SAE, the School of Audio Engineering (2015), and JMC Academy (2015). In order to teach subject content, audio engineers with studio experience had to be employed to teach the industry standard practices. Whilst it may have taken some decades for this process to become refined and consistent, Burgess confirms their relevance in the discipline: “combined with a proactive DIY approach, a good school program can fill in knowledge gaps and instill a deeper understanding of the fundamentals while increasing awareness of best practices” (Burgess 2013, 35).
The industry to date has only a few disparate best practice documents such as The Recording Producers and Engineers Wing (2008) “Digital Audio Workstation Guidelines for Music Production” advice but it does not comprehensively cover contemporary music production practice. The industry has progressed from the traditional music production model, where exemplars existed across the different roles and skills. However, now within the decentralized music production era, the disparate roles across the music production process tend to be fused and completed by the one person, the contemporary DIY music producer. Music production practitioners have access to a large range of ancillary services and products, such industry trade magazines, texts, forums and blogs. Audio industry magazines such as “Sound on Sound” and “Audio Technology” are recognized as reputable magazines within the audio industry and music production discipline. But do they truly reflect the contemporary music production practice, or are their roots from the traditional music production model causing a widening gap of relevance? Alternative press options such as “Computer Music” (2015) and “MusicTech Focus” magazines have their origins in the development of digital technology. But do their roots limit their relevance by not including the more creative and musical requirements of the contemporary music production practice? Other alternative press includes “Wire”, which focuses more on the cultural and aesthetic aspects of music culture and practice. There is a vast range of support for music practitioners in the form of forums and blogs, with some of these operated by recognised industry professionals[3]. However, many of these are run by hobbyists with well intentioned advice, whilst others are commercially driven, with some of their marketing tactics, products and advice is at best, questionable.

Current practice

Some scholars refer to the current field of DIY music production as being in transition (Hracs, 2012), although it can also be thought of as a fusion or hybrid of two prior developments: that of traditional large format console studio music production and computer-based sound generation. Irrespective of the definition, twenty-first century contemporary DIY music production illustrates the ways that practitioners have broken with previously accepted industry practices, with consensus about effective or best practice now difficult to identify, or indeed where the idea of best practice has been actively challenged through social and cultural changes in the practices of cultural production. As such, the discipline of contemporary DIY music production lacks the infrastructure of an established and mature industry where consensus of what effective practice is, might be found.
target
The notion of effective practice [4] originated in business centred on notions of effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity (Montana and Charnov 2000,12; Robbins et al 2009, 313; Griffin 1996). In this way, effective practice is a quantifiable measure and assumes the ‘organisation’ or practice has commercial or technical objectives. In contrast, contemporary DIY music production practitioners may not be motivated by either commercial or technical objectives, and therefore effective practice measures may not apply to many practices within the discipline (Rogers 2013, 168). In fact, contemporary DIY music production is a discipline in which notions of effective practice may actually be actively disregarded due to the perception that other motivations such as creativity, emotional connection and free-spiritedness are more important (McWilliam 2008, 38; Davie 2012, 41). As a result, the term best practice is perhaps more appropriate in the discipline of contemporary DIY music production, bringing with it the idea of benchmarking, or “analysing and copying the methods of the leaders” in the field (Robbins et al 2009, 313). However, without accepted discipline standards, and consensus of what best practice is, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to accurately and effectively benchmark amongst the discipline and its practitioners. Further, if the contemporary DIY music production practice is lacking in organisational characteristics of a mature industry such as robust management processes and procedures, sophisticated vision and strategic planning, then the contemporary DIY music production practitioner is less likely able to measure quality standards should they exist, nor consciously position their practice within the field in order to optimise the chance of success (Robbins et al 2009, 708-710, 716-717).
Note [1]: The manufacturer’s user manual described ‘effective practice’ for the user to operate that unit safely, following a technically correct process
Note [2]: Sound reinforcement is a term used to describe the live audio industry function which still remains today
Note [3]: Pensado’s Place (2015) is operated by Dave Pansado who has had a recognized audio industry career
Note [4] :The notion of effective practice originated in business and post-War Japan, centred on notions of effectiveness (“doing the right thing”), efficiency (the effort exerted in “doing the right thing”), and productivity (the relationship between input and output) (Montana and Charnov 2000, 12; Robbins et al 2009, 313; Griffin 1996).
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Research Practitioner Part 2.
References
AES. 2015. “Audio Engineering Society (AES) History.” Accessed  May 3,2015
Audio Technology Magazine. 2015 http://www.audiotechnology.com.au Accessed August 15, 2015
Burgess, Richard James. 2014. The history of music production. New York: Oxford University Press.
Burgess, Richard James. 1997. The art of record production. London: Omnibus Press.
Computer Music. 2015. http://www.musicradar.com/computermusic Accessed August 15, 2015
Davie, Mark. 2012. “The diy revolution.” Audio Technology (91): 98.
Davis, Gary and Ralph Jones. 1990. Yamaha-The Sound Reinforcement Handbook. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation.
Emerick, Geoff and Howard Massey. 2007. Here, there and everywhere: my life recording the music of the beatles. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
Gibson, Bill. 2006. The s.m.a.r.t. guide to becoming a successful producer/engineer Boston: Thompson Course Technology.
Grammy Awards. 2015. “The 2015 Grammy Awards.” Accessed May 20, 2015. https://www.grammy.com/nominees.
Griffin, RW. 1996. Management. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Hracs, Brian J. 2012. “A creative industry in transition: the rise of digitally driven independent music production.” Growth and Change 43 (3): 442-461.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2014. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
JMC Academy. 2015 http://www.jmcacademy.edu.au/?gclid=CN636-HnmcsCFQGbvAod7GoMDQ  Accessed August 15, 2015
McWilliam, Erica. 2008. The creative workforce: how to launch young people into high-flying futures. Sydney: UNSW press.
Montana, Patrick J and Bruce H Charnov. 2000. Management. 3rd ed. Vol. 333, Business Review Books. New York: Barron’s Educational Series.
MusicTech. 2015. http://www.musictech.net Accessed August 15, 2015
Recording Producers and Engineers Wing, The. 2008. “Digital Audio Workstation Guidelines for Music Production.” Accessed May 27, 2015. https://www.grammy.org/files/pages/DAWGuidelineLong.
Robbins, Stephen, Rolf Bergman, ID Stagg and Mary Coulter. 2009. Management 5. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.
Rogers, I. 2013. “The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia.” In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
SAE. 2015. “SAE Institute.” https://sae.edu.au/ Accessed August 15, 2015
Sound on Sound. 2015 http://www.soundonsound.com Accessed August 15, 2015
Target image courtesy of: http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/target-skills-53658831 Accessed 15th August, 2015
TEAC. 1979. “TEAC Tascam series: model 144 Portastudio manual”, edited by TEAC Inc. www.tascam.com: TEAC Inc.
Wire. 2015. http://www.thewire.co.uk Accessed August 15, 2015
– ©David L Page 16/08/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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History Music Production Part 5b – Rise of the DIY Practitioner

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.

Following substantial technological development from the late 1960s to today, music practice has diversified exponentially in a variety of social and cultural contexts (Wallis 2001; Watson and Shove 2008). Limited access to major corporate record label and broadcasting studios in the 1970’s and 1980’s aligned with the broader social and cultural developments of DIY culture from the 1970s, and with the ever-increasing available range of technology. This enabled the process of music creation and production to exponentially develop, with musicians in the new era of project and portable studios, emerging as a new generation of music practitioners (Theberge 1997, P3; Hracs 2012). Increased access to digital recording and production technology has enabled aspiring music practitioners from diverse backgrounds and interests to participate in a do-it-yourself (DIY) capacity, resulting in a significantly more fragmented industry (Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010; Spencer 2005; Moran 2011; Watson 2014). Wallis (2001, 13) observed that practitioners’ access to user-friendly technology has “resulted in many creative artistic talents achieving a high degree of IT literacy, leading to an even broader market”. Music production technology is now accessible to most people who has any degree of interest in music practice, irrespective of their social status or professional role, their musical or sonic training or experience, or the social and cultural context. This enables a truly diverse and eclectic music practice society (Burgess 1997, 34; Rogers 2013). Practitioners now access and use broad range of music production and instrument technology, have vastly different workflows, for a broader range of music styles, and use a range of creative locations to create their EP’s. This diversity of practice now exemplifies contemporary industry (Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010; Purdue et al. 1997). As a result, recorded music is now created in ways that contrast with previous models, where cultural products resulted from established industrial hierarchies and imperatives (Burgess 1997).
AE Project Studio
(MIDAS 2014)
Multiple options to play and produce music have implications on what elements of music production are used at any point in time: the creative technologies that can be used, the music style that emerges naturally out or certain technology, the creative location that practice occurs within, and the practice workflow. Further, as practitioners tend to assume all of these creative labour roles in their home-style project studios, contemporary music practitioners continue to extend their knowledge, skill level and technology, in obvious contrast with previous models (Izhaki 2013; Théberge 1997).
(AE Project Studio 2015)
With the fragmentation of the industry, and the attracting diverse peoples in music practice, the contemporary practitioner’s motivations to practice music have also diversified. Rogers’ study highlighted varying orientations of motive amongst participants: professional, semi-professional, emerging and several non-commercial aspirational levels – including amateur or hobbyist practices. By far, the largest group was the amateur category (2013, 168). The term amateur is adopted “not as a reflection on a hobbyists’ skills, which are often quite advanced, but rather, to emphasise that most of DIY culture is not motivated by commercial purposes” (Kuznetson and Paulos 2010, 295). The “status and position of the amateur have been redeemed and a new, less aristocratic, breed of amateur has emerged .. (who) .. are technologically literate, seriously engaged, and committed practitioners” (Prior 2010, 401).
With DIY perspectives on cultural production being particularly influential in music practice, in many ways redefining the field today (Frith 1992; Watson and Shove 2008; Watson 2014; Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010; Purdue et al. 1997), traditional standards of practice are now being challenged. Music industry standards (Burgess 1997, 162; Grammy Awards 2015; Gibson 2006, 42; Recording Producers and Engineers Wing 2008) appear to be less valued by DIY music practitioners. Notions of effective practice appears to be actively disregarded due to the DIY practitioners prioritizing of motivations such as creativity, emotional connection, networking, and free-spiritedness (Hracs, 2012; Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010). Burgess found contemporary music practitioners are likely to be: self-taught, and of a ‘discoverer’ learning style (2013, 29); with a preparedness to reject accepted industry practice (eg: technical or music style standards); and a willingness to borrow at will any music or sonic characteristics from other cultural approaches to fuse into their practice, leading to “unprecedented diversity” (Rogers 2013, 168; McWilliam 2008, 38; Davie 2012, 41).
With this diversity comes the portability of both production and performance technology. For example; producing a full EP on a beach, only needing to retreat to a location to get some electricity when my laptop battery runs empty; dance festivals in a forest where the artists arrive with as little gear as a laptop, or perhaps a USB stick and perform in front of 1,000 people for up to several hours; or, as a result of the technological developments, a new music style emerges because practitioners use the digital virtual technology as an instrument and performance tool, rather than for what it was originally designed for by the manufacturer {data management} (Hewitt 2008, xv). One of the best examples of this would be the creation of electronic music and its sub-genres of Electronic dance music, trance music and chill music.
It could also be stated that in Electronic Music Production (EMP), musicians and producers generally use portable technology, accessing synthetic or digital instruments, and compose typically in a structured process (Gunderson 2004; Johnsen et al 2007; Davie 2014, 38; Duckworth 2005, 148; Goyte 2011a; Goyte 2011b; Davie 2015, 34; Holder 2011; Huber and Runstein 2013, 78). In contrast, Indie Rock musicians and producers generally use project studios, access acoustic or electric instruments, and quite often compose in an organic process (Emerick and Massey 2006, 306; Burgess 2014, 93; Dandy Warhols 2010; Leyshon 2009, 1309; Davie 2012, 44-45; Tame Impala. 2012).
Unlike the traditional motive of commercial – volume sales – success, the new amateur’s motives are diverse, and yet highly motivated, possessing an impassioned commitment to their practice, with a high level of focus on developing their knowledge, skill level and technology.
onion-layers
This blog will continue next month History of Music Production Part 6 – DIY Culture & Music (Page 2015b).
References
AE Project Studio Microphone Case image courtesy of: DLP Pinterest site  Accessed 28th August, 2015
Burgess, Richard James. 2014. The history of music production. New York: Oxford University Press. 
Burgess, Richard James. 2013. The art of music production: the theory and practice. New York: Oxford University Press. 
Burgess, Richard James. 1997. The art of record production. London: Omnibus Press. 
Dandy Warhols, The. 2010. The Dandy Warhols: best of the capitol years 1995-2007. Capitol Records. Compact Disc. 
Davie, Mark. 2015. “DIY: don’t be a tool.” Audio Technology 2015 (106): 98.
Davie, Mark. 2014. “Danger Mouse: producer of the decade.” Audio Technology (100): 98.
Davie, Mark. 2012. “The diy revolution.” Audio Technology (91): 98. 
DIY image courtesy of: DIY Accessed 24th July, 2015
Duckworth, William. 2005. Virtual music: How the web got wired for sound. New York, NY: Routledge.
Emerick, Geoff and Howard Massey. 2007. Here, there and everywhere: my life recording the music of the beatles. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
Frith, Simon. 1992. “The industrialization of popular music.” Popular Music and Communication 2: 49-74. 
Gibson, Bill. 2006. The s.m.a.r.t. guide to becoming a successful producer/engineer Boston: Thompson Course Technology. 
Gotye. 2011 (a). “Making, making mirrors – a short documentary.” Accessed May 5, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZXLyeatI0s&list=PL2qcTIIqLo7WEHIeJ0s2Y21jgIKoQahkD&index=64. 
Goyte. 2011(b). Making Mirrors. Eleven May 5, 2015. Compact Disc.
Grammy Awards. 2015. “The 2015 Grammy Awards.” Accessed May 20, 2015. https://www.grammy.com/nominees.
Gunderson, Philip A. 2004. “Danger Mouse’s “grey album”, mash-ups, and the age of composition.” Postmodern Culture 15 (1): 7. 
Hewitt, Michael. 2008. Music theory for computer musicians. Boston: Cengage Learning Course Technology.
Holder, Christopher. 2011. “Goyte.” Audio Technology (84): 98. 
Hracs, Brian J. 2012. “A creative industry in transition: the rise of digitally driven independent music production.” Growth and Change 43 (3): 442-461. 
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2014. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Izhaki, Roey. 2013. Mixing audio: concepts, practices and tools. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal.
Johnsen, Andreas , Ralf Christensen and Henrik Moltke. 2007. “Good Copy, Bad Copy.” Copyright and Culture Documentary. Accessed June 7, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEKl5I_Q044&list=PL2qcTIIqLo7WEHIeJ0s2Y21jgIKoQahkD&index=72.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. “Rise of the Expert Amateur: DIY Projects, Communities, and Cultures.” In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
Leyshon, Andrew. 2009. “The Software slump?: digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy.” Environment and Planning 41 (6): 1309.
McWilliam, Erica. 2008. The creative workforce: how to launch young people into high-flying futures. Sydney: UNSW press.
MIDAS 2014 console image courtesy of AE Project Studio. Accessed 29th June, 2014
Moran, Ian P. 2011. “Punk: the do-it-yourself subculture.” Social Sciences Journal 10 (1): 13.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2015b. History of Music Production Part 6  Accessed 28th August, 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. History of Music Production Part 5a  Accessed 24th July, 2015
Prior, Nick. 2010. “The rise of the new amateurs: Popular music, digital technology and the fate of cultural production.” Handbook of cultural sociology. London: Routledge: 398-407. 
Purdue, Derrick, Jörg Dürrschmidt, Peter Jowers and Richard O’Doherty. 1997. “DIY culture and extended milieux: LETS, veggie boxes and festivals.” The Sociological Review 45 (4). 
Recording Producers and Engineers Wing, The. 2008. “Digital Audio Workstation Guidelines for Music Production.” Accessed May 27, 2015. https://www.grammy.org/files/pages/DAWGuidelineLong.
Ritzer, George and Nathan Jurgenson. 2010. “Production, consumption, prosumption: the nature of capitalism in the age of the digital prosumer.” Journal of Consumer Culture 10 (1). 
Rogers, I. 2013. “The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia.” In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
Spencer, Amy. 2005. DIY: The rise of lo-fi culture: Marion Boyars London.
Tame Impala. 2012. Lonerism. Modular. Compact Disc. 
Théberge, Paul. 1997. Any sound you can make: making music/consuming technology. Hanover: University Press of New England. 
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. “Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries.” Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
Watson, Allan. 2014. Cultural Production in and Beyond the Recording Studio. New York, NY: Routledge.
Watson, Matthew and Elizabeth Shove. 2008. “Product, Competence, Project and Practice DIY and the dynamics of craft consumption.” Journal of Consumer Culture 8 (1): 69,74.
– ©David L Page 05/08/2015
– updated ©David L Page 28/08/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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History Music Production Part 5a – Rise of the DIY Practitioner

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.
Perhaps motivated by the power imbalance and limited access to studios in the 1970’s and 1980’s, aligned with the broader social and cultural developments of DIY culture from the 1970s, the ever increasing available range of technology enabled the process of music creation and production to exponentially develop, with musicians in the new era of project and mobile studios, emerging as a new generation of prosumers – both producers and consumers (Theberge 1997, P3; Hracs, 2012).
AE Project Studio
(MIDAS 2014)
Technological developments have provided multiple outcomes, such as choices of musical style and music production processes. In an article on best practice within the music industry, Wallis (2001, 13) observed that access to user-friendly technology has “resulted in many creative artistic talents achieving a high degree of IT literacy, leading to the emergence of the combined studio producer/ writer role. Max Martin from Sweden…is such an example”. Today, continuing technological developments have further opened the field and discipline to an even broader market. Music production technology is now accessible to anyone who has a degree of interest in the creation and production of music, irrespective of their background {social status or professional role}, their musical or professional audio training and/or experience, or the genre of music they may be interested in attempting to produce, making for a truly diverse and eclectic music production society (Burgess 1997, 34; Rogers 2013).
The acknowledged diversity of backgrounds of the DIY music production practitioner expanded the previous music producer list several decades earlier of artist/musician, audio engineer, songwriter, entrepreneur and multipath, to now include: DJ, self-taught/school-trained and discoverer (Burgess 2013, 29). In addition, as Rogers in his 2010 study on local musicians in the Brisbane scene found, there are now varying levels of professionalism found amongst the participants: professional, semi-professional, emerging and several non-commercial aspirational levels – including amateur or hobbyist practices (Rogers 2013, 168). By far, the largest group is the amateur category. I adopt the term amateur “not as a reflection on a hobbyists’ skills, which are often quite advanced, but rather, to emphasise that most of DIY culture is not motivated by commercial purposes” (Kuznetson and Paulos 2010, 295) . The “status and position of the amateur have been redeemed and a new, less aristocratic, breed of amateur has emerged .. (who) .. are technologically literate, seriously engaged, and committed practitioners” (Prior 2010, 401).

The emergence of DIY, and the challenges of discipline-accepted standards

With DIY perspectives on cultural production being particularly influential in music production, in many ways redefining the field today (Kealy 1982; Hemphill and Leskowitz 2012; Frith 1992; Watson and Shove 2008; Watson 2014; Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010; Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010; Purdue et al. 1997), traditional standards of effective practice, which have played a central role in the music production industry, are now being challenged. Music and audio industry’s standards of commercial sales and technical criteria (Burgess 1997, 162; Grammy Awards 2015; Gibson 2006, 42; Recording Producers and Engineers Wing 2008) appear to be less valued by contemporary DIY music production practitioners. Breaking with previously accepted industry practices (Hracs,2012), the notion of ‘effective practice’ appears to be actively disregarded due to the prioritizing of other motivations such as creativity, emotional connection, networking, and free-spiritedness. That is, creative practice, affective practice and social practice, with a preparedness to reject accepted effective practice (eg: technical or genre standards) as the contemporary DIY music production practitioner sees fit (Montana and Charnov 2000,12; Robbins et al 2009, 313; Griffin 1996; Rogers 2013, 168; McWilliam 2008, 38; Davie 2012, 41).

The emerging discipline of contemporary DIY music production practice, and their practitioners

In summary, prior to my own research study and planned interviews, the contemporary DIY music production practitioners can be said to be: proactive, resourceful, tenacious and rebellious practitioners with eclectic backgrounds, musical tastes and skill levels. They most certainly possess a just do it spirit as the Nike slogan has encouraged since 1971. They are likely motivated by creative, affective or social practice, rather than effective practice, making aesthetic choices over technical standards, and working in what could be once considered, ineffective or inefficient workflows. They are more likely to be passionate hobbyists, who want to create, express and be heard, using project or portable technology as either a studio or an instrument, probably in a way that was not originally intended by the manufacturer, and yet creating unique sonic qualities or textures, influencing new genres to emerge (Wallis 2001,13; Burgess 2013, 29; Huber and Runstein 2013,76; Izhaki 2013, xiiii; Gilreath 2010; Watson 2014; Burke 2011; Doyle 2008; Wallis 2001,11; Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010, 296; Spencer 2005, 226-273; Moran 2011, 1; Rogers 2013, 168; Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010, 295; Watson 2013, 334; Prior 2010, 401; Watson 2013, 331; Braithwaite alluded in Tingen 2014; Theberge 2012, 6; Hracs et al 2013, 1144).
onion-layers
This blog will continue next month History of Music Production Part 5b – Rise of the DIY Practitioner  (Page 2015b).
 References
Burke, David. 2011. “Heart of Darkness : Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska”. London: Cherry Red Books.
Burgess, Richard James. 2013. The art of music production: the theory and practice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Burgess, Richard James. 1997. The art of record production. London: Omnibus Press.
Davie, Mark. 2012. “The diy revolution.” Audio Technology (91): 98.
DIY image courtesy of: DIY Accessed 24th July, 2015
Frith, Simon. 1992. “The industrialization of popular music.” Popular Music and Communication 2: 49-74.
Gilreath, Paul. 2010. The guide to midi orchestration. 4th ed. Oxford: Focal.
Gibson, Bill. 2006. The s.m.a.r.t. guide to becoming a successful producer/engineer Boston: Thompson Course Technology.
Grammy Awards. 2015. “The 2015 Grammy Awards.” Accessed May 20, 2015. https://www.grammy.com/nominees.
Griffin, RW. 1996. Management. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Hemphill, David and Shari Leskowitz. 2012. “DIY activists: communities of practice, cultural dialogism, and radical knowledge sharing.” Adult Education Quarterly 63 (1): 57-77. doi: 10.11.77/0741113612442803.
Hracs, Brian J. 2012. “A creative industry in transition: the rise of digitally driven independent music production.” Growth and Change 43 (3): 442-461.
Hracs, Brian J, Doreen Jakob and Atle Hauge. 2013. “Standing out in the crowd: the rise of exclusivity-based strategies to compete in the contemporary marketplace for music and fashion.” Environment and Planning A 45 (5): 1144-1161.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2013. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2010. Modern recording techniques. 7th ed. Boston: Focal Press.
Izhaki, Roey. 2013. Mixing audio: concepts, practices and tools. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal.
Kealy, Edward R. 1982. “Conventions and the production of the popular music aesthetic.” The Journal of Popular Culture 16 (2): 100-115.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. “Rise of the Expert Amateur: DIY Projects, Communities, and Cultures.” In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
Leyshon, Andrew. 2009. “The Software slump?: digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy.” Environment and Planning 41 (6): 1309.
McWilliam, Erica. 2008. The creative workforce: how to launch young people into high-flying futures. Sydney: UNSW press.
MIDAS 2014 console image courtesy of AE Project Studio. Accessed 29th June, 2014
Moran, Ian P. 2011. “Punk: the do-it-yourself subculture.” Social Sciences Journal 10 (1): 13. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Our-Story/index.aspx
Montana, Patrick J and Bruce H Charnov. 2000. Management. 3rd ed. Vol. 333, Business Review Books. New York: Barron’s Educational Series.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2015b. History of Music Production Part 5b  Accessed 5th August, 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. History of Music Production Part 4  Accessed 21st May, 2015
Prior, Nick. 2010. “The rise of the new amateurs: Popular music, digital technology and the fate of cultural production.” Handbook of cultural sociology. London: Routledge: 398-407.
Purdue, Derrick, Jörg Dürrschmidt, Peter Jowers and Richard O’Doherty. 1997. “DIY culture and extended milieux: LETS, veggie boxes and festivals.” The Sociological Review 45 (4).
Recording Producers and Engineers Wing, The. 2008. “Digital Audio Workstation Guidelines for Music Production.” Accessed May 27, 2015. https://www.grammy.org/files/pages/DAWGuidelineLong.
Ritzer, George and Nathan Jurgenson. 2010. “Production, consumption, prosumption: the nature of capitalism in the age of the digital ‘prosumer’.” Journal of Consumer Culture 10 (1).
Robbins, Stephen, Rolf Bergman, ID Stagg and Mary Coulter. 2009. Management 5. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.
Rogers, I. 2013. “The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia.” In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
Spencer, Amy. 2005. DIY: The rise of lo-fi culture: Marion Boyars London.TEAC. 2015. “TEAC TASCAM history.” Accessed June 7,2015. www.tascam.com.
Théberge, Paul. 1997. Any sound you can make: making music/consuming technology. Hanover: University Press of New England.
Tingen, Paul. 2014. “Inside track: Happy – secrets of the mix engineers: Leslie Braithwaite.” Accessed 1st May, 2015. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may14/articles/inside-track- 0514.htm.
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. “Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries.” Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
Watson, Allan. 2014. Cultural Production in and Beyond the Recording Studio. New York, NY: Routledge.
Watson, Allan. 2013. “‘Running a studio’s a silly business’: work and employment in the contemporary recording studio sector.” Area 45 (3): 330-336.
Watson, Matthew and Elizabeth Shove. 2008. “Product, Competence, Project and Practice DIY and the dynamics of craft consumption.” Journal of Consumer Culture 8 (1): 69,74.
– ©David L Page 24/07/2015
– updated ©David L Page 05/08/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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History Music Production Part 4 – Large Format Console Studios to Digital Project Studios

David Gilmour.Large Format Console(Meter 2014)

The changing field of music production

Twenty-first century music production exists as a fragmented field of practice, in part as a result of increasing decentralisation in the audio and music industry since the 1980’s. A range of factors influenced this decentralization, including the development and adoption of digital recording technologies (Zagorski-Thomas 2005; Leyshon 2009; Huber and Runstein 2013; Izhaki 2013; Théberge 1997; Burgess 2013) and the exponential influence of global communication networks on music production and consumption practices (Spencer 2005; Moran 2011; Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010; Watson 2012).

(TEAC/TASCAM 2015a)

Ever increasing levels of access

Throughout the 1970’s technology continued to advanced with “quality digital recording equipment more widely available” at progressively decreasing cost to the consumer (Wallis 2001, 11). Offering an alternative music production option to the large format console studio continued, all levels of the field actively engaged with the technology. Springsteen released his solo album ‘Nebraska’, made in his bedroom (Springsteen 1984a).
(Springsteen 1982b)
Intended to be a ‘demo’, it was decided the aesthetic of the DIY recording was preferred to the studio-produced album (TEAC/TASCAM 2015b; Burke 2011, 119,188). “Evidence from the 1980’s showed that multi-track cassette based recording technologies spread at a high pace to virtually every nation” (Wallis 2001, 11).
(TEAC/TASCAM 2015c)
A decade later, low cost digital synthesisers and samplers were available with a single key trigger for sounds, chords or multiple instrument emulation. Whilst initially limited, over time development has been exponential, allowing music producers innumerable instrumentation options to integrate into any one of their music productions as their creativity desires. This technological development enabled the creation and development of specific electronic music genres, and social and cultural events such as the 1990’s based rave parties (Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010, 295). Technology continued to develop at an exponential rate, with increasing “interest and wider adoption of DIY cultures and practices through 1) easy access to and affordability of tools and 2) the emergence of new sharing mechanisms” such as the internet having a prolific effect on the widespread interest of music production (Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010, 295; Wallis 2001,10). Numerous companies commenced manufacturing to fill “a tremendous need for good and affordable sound equipment”, entrenching the “prosumer or home-recording market” (Music Group 2015). Continuing technological developments influenced the increase of music production setups in the home, based around a personal computer, a sound card, and some form of digital audio workstation to either record or arrange the music. Referred to as project studios, “the hiring of expensive studios was no longer a requisite” (Izhaki 2013, xiiii), and more major artists were being recorded in these evironments [1] [2]. As Leyshon highlighted, “the recording studio sector is not a particularly profitable or efficient part of the musical economy overall” (2009, 1315), and therefore from an industry perspective, it was positive that alternative options evolved. The development of the digital audio workstation, along with virtual instruments and sample libraries, provided resources ready to include into productions (Gilreath 2010). The project studio now had virtual technology accessible by both novice and professional producers alike. This “brought about monumental changes in the business of music and professional audio”, with music producers able to “select from a wide range of tools and toys to generate specific sounds – or to get the particular sounds that he or she likes”, without needing to have that instrument or musician capable of playing that instrument, on hand (Huber and Runstein 2013,76). Other professionals[3] moved their workflow entirely within a digital audio workstation.
BraithwaiteSoS..201405(Tingen 2014)
Footnotes
[1] In 2005, Stuart Price used his home-based project studio, based around an Apple computer with a range of analogue outboard hardware and synthesizers to produce Madonna’s commercially successful ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ album (Doyle 2008).
[2] Madonna’s ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ album” achieved commercial success reaching the US Music charts (Doyle 2008).
[3] Grammy award winning Mix Engineer Leslie Braithwaite mixed the Grammy Award winning song “Happy” entirely within a digital audio workstation. He explains his recent change of workflow to a DAW-only workflow: “With my workload increasing and me also trying to meet the demands for smaller budget projects, going into the box made total sense” (Tingen 2014).
onion-layers
This blog will continue next month History of Music Production Part 5a – The Rise of DIY Practitioners.
References
Burgess, Richard James. 1997. The art of record production. London: Omnibus Press.
Burke, David. 2011. “Heart of Darkness : Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska”. London: Cherry Red Books.
Doyle, Tom. 2008. “Stuart Price: producing Seal & Madonna.” Accessed May 2, 2015. https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb08/articles/stuart_price.htm.
Gilreath, Paul. 2010. The guide to midi orchestration. 4th ed. Oxford: Focal.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2013. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Izhaki, Roey. 2013. Mixing audio: concepts, practices and tools. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. “Rise of the expert amateur: DIY projects, communities, and cultures.” In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
Leyshon, Andrew. 2009. “The software slump?: digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy.” Environment and Planning 41 (6): 1309.
Meter, M . 2014. “For their last-ever album the endless river, Pink Floyd recorded on a boat” Accessed May 20, 2015  http://www.digitaltrends.com/music/pink-floyds-nick-mason-on-the-endless-river
Moran, Ian P. 2011. “Punk: the do-it-yourself subculture.” Social Sciences Journal 10 (1): 13.
Music Group. 2015. “Behringer : our story.” Accessed May 2, 2015. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Our-Story/index.aspx
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Spencer, Amy. 2005. DIY: The rise of lo-fi culture: Marion Boyars London.
Springsteen, Bruce. 1982b. Nebraska. image courtesy of Discogs Accessed 21st May, 2015.
Springsteen, Bruce. 1982a. Nebraska. Columbia Records. Vinyl LP.
TEAC/TASCAM. 2015c. TEAC Tascam History. www.teac.com: TEAC Inc. Accessed 24th July, 2015
TEAC/TASCAM. 2015b. TEAC Tascam series: 1979 model 144 Portastudio Manual, edited by TEAC Inc.  www.teac.com: TEAC Inc. Accessed 24th July, 2015
TEAC/TASCAM. 2015a. TEAC/TASCAM 144 Portastudio advertising image courtesy of Museum of Magnetic Sound Recording Accessed 24th July, 2015
Théberge, Paul. 2012. “The end of the world as we know It: the changing role of the studio in the age of the internet.” In The art of record production: an introductory reader for a new academic field, edited by Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, 77-90. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
Théberge, Paul. 1997. Any sound you can make: making music/consuming technology. Hanover: University Press of New England.
Tingen, Paul. 2014. “Inside track: Happy – secrets of the mix engineers: Leslie Braithwaite.” Accessed 1st May, 2015. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may14/articles/inside-track- 0514.htm.
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. “Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries.” Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
Watson, Allan. 2012. “The world according to iTunes: mapping urban networks of music production.” Global Networks 12 (4): 446-466.
Zagorski-Thomas, Simon. 2005. “The US vs the UK sound: meaning in music production in the 1970s.” In The art of record production: an introductory reader for a new academic field, edited by Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, 57-90. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate
– ©David L Page 21/05/2015
– updated ©David L Page 24/07/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Research Study – Part 2e

My journey continues….

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020
(Page 2014a)
This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.

Year 2015: 2nd Observation Part e

2nd Observation.P2a.renamed

Bordering my music-making practice

As mentioned in the previous blog, I came to understand within the first few months I needed to broadly explore the fields and disciplines of contemporary music-making, in order to border – and define – my music-making practice. Due to the breadth and rapid exponential growth of the music-making industry over the past century, I felt it was necessary to review the industry, fields and disciplines of music-making.
Changing face of music-production
Perhaps motivated by the power imbalance and limited access to studios in the 1970’s and 1980’s, aligned with the broader social and cultural developments of DIY culture from the 1970s, the ever increasing available range of technology has enabled the process of music creation and production to exponentially develop, with musicians in the new era of project and mobile studios, emerging as a new generation of prosumers – both producers and consumers (Théberge 1997, P3). The acknowledged diversity of backgrounds of the contemporary DIY music production practitioner expanded to include: DJ, self-taught/school-trained and discoverer (Burgess 2013, 29).
Technological development provides multiple outcomes, including choices within music production practice: devices to use, work environment location, processes and procedures to use, skills to draw on and workflows, to name a few. In an article on best practice within the music industry, Wallis (2001, 13) observed that access to user-friendly technology has “resulted in many creative artistic talents achieving a high degree of IT literacy, leading to the emergence of the combined studio producer/ writer role. Max Martin from Sweden, writer and producer of the majority of songs recorded by artists such as Britney Spears, is such an example”. Just 5 years later, the ongoing technological developments that influence the project and portable studios further open the discipline to a broader prosumer market (Cole 2011, 448).
This in turn has attracted a range of people and what motivates them to produce music. Music production technology is now accessible to just about anyone who has any degree of interest in the creation and production of music, irrespective of their background {social status or professional role}, their musical or professional audio training and/or experience, or the genre of music they may be interested in attempting to produce, making for a truly eclectic music production society (Burgess 2014, 34; Rogers 2013). Rogers in his 2010 study on local musicians in the Brisbane scene to be of varying levels of professionalism: professional, semi-professional, emerging and several ‘non-commercial’ aspirational levels – including amateur or hobbyist practices – in the discipline (Rogers 2013, 168). I will apply the term “amateur not as a reflection on a hobbyists’ skills, which are often quite advanced, but rather, to emphasise that most of DIY culture is not motivated by commercial purposes” (Kuznetson and Paulos 2010, 295) . The “status and position of the amateur have been redeemed and a new, less aristocratic, breed of amateur has emerged .. (who) .. are technologically literate, seriously engaged, and committed practitioners”. (Prior 2010, 401).
The traditional definition of Music Producer
Traditionally, Music Producers were defined as being responsible for the: “control, guidance, and communication of the musical vision of the project”, seeing the completed product prior to the project even commencing (Gibson 2006, 1). A music producer was recognised as likely to originate from a diversity of backgrounds that would provide them with a different perspective and approaches in the studio. These background types were most commonly: artist/musician, audio engineer, songwriter, entrepreneur and multipath (Burgess 2013, 29).
A good producer was also seen to have a diversity of skills, beyond the specialist technical skills as outlined in the previous section. These skills, commonly referred to as soft skills (Page 2014b), would be:
  • understanding and proficiency of music;
  • high degree of communication skills;
  • motivational and inspirational skills to encourage greater performance and execution of roles;
  • inspirational skills to encourage a change of approach if or as required;
  • an experienced reflective practitioner;
  • project management and administrative skills to ensure the project remains viable and on target;
  • an understanding of business and have the associated skills or communication, negotiation, conflict resolution;
  • functional knowledge of the genre;
  • passion for music and all elements of the holistic music production process (Gibson 2006, 2-3; Griffin 1996, 15-19).
A new discipline of music-making emerges
Following substantial technological development from the late 1960s to today, music-making practice has diversified exponentially in a variety of social and cultural contexts (Wallis 2001; Watson and Shove 2008). Limited access to major corporate record label and broadcasting studios in the 1970’s and 1980’s aligned with the broader social and cultural developments of DIY culture from the 1970s, and with the ever-increasing available range of technology. This enabled the process of music creation and production to exponentially develop, with musicians in the new era of project and portable studios, emerging as a new generation of music practitioners (Théberge 1997, P3; Hracs 2012). A new music discipline has emerged – contemporary DIY music-making practice (Moran 2011; Watson 2014; Spencer 2005; Rogers 2013). Increased access to digital recording and production technology has enabled aspiring music practitioners from diverse backgrounds and interests to participate in a do-it-yourself (DIY) capacity, resulting in a significantly more fragmented industry (Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010; Spencer 2005; Moran 2011; Watson 2014). Wallis (2001, 13) observed that practitioners’ access to user-friendly technology has “resulted in many creative artistic talents achieving a high degree of IT literacy, leading to an even broader market”. Music production technology is now accessible to most people who have any degree of interest in music-making practice, irrespective of their social status or professional role, their musical or sonic training or experience, or the social and cultural context. This enables a truly diverse and eclectic music-making practice society (Burgess 1997, 34; Rogers 2013).
Practitioners now access and use broad range of music production and instrument technology, have vastly different workflows, for a broader range of music styles, and use a range of creative locations to create their EP’s. This diversity of practice now exemplifies contemporary industry (Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010; Purdue et al. 1997). As a result, recorded music is now created in ways that contrast with previous models, where cultural products resulted from established industrial hierarchies and imperatives (Burgess 1997).
Multiple options to play and produce music have implications on what elements of music production are used at any point in time: the creative technologies that can be used, the music style that emerges naturally out or certain technology, the creative location that practice occurs within, and the practice workflow. Further, as practitioners tend to assume all of these creative labour roles in their home-style project studios, contemporary music practitioners continue to extend their knowledge, skill level and technology, in obvious contrast with previous models (Izhaki 2013; Théberge 1997).
With the fragmentation of the industry, and the attracting diverse peoples in music-making practice, the contemporary practitioner’s motivations to practice music have also diversified. Rogers’ study highlighted varying orientations of motive amongst participants: professional, semi-professional, emerging and several non-commercial aspirational levels – including amateur or hobbyist practices. By far, the largest group was the amateur category (2013, 168). The term amateur is adopted “not as a reflection on a hobbyists’ skills, which are often quite advanced, but rather, to emphasise that most of DIY culture is not motivated by commercial purposes” (Kuznetson and Paulos 2010, 295). Not interested in the traditional music industry criteria of volume sales of commercially released tracks, these contemporary practitioners pursue music-making practice for their own motives – “their sense of identity is firmly attached to the pursuit of ‘serious leisure’” (Stebbins in Prior 2010, 401; Kuznetson and Paulos 2010, 295). The “status and position of the amateur have been redeemed and a new, less aristocratic, breed of amateur has emerged .. (who) .. are technologically literate, seriously engaged, and committed practitioners” (Prior 2010, 401).
With DIY perspectives on cultural production being particularly influential in music-making practice, in many ways redefining the field today (Frith 1992; Watson and Shove 2008; Watson 2014; Ritzer and Jurgenson 2010; Purdue et al. 1997), traditional standards of practice are now being challenged. Music industry standards (Burgess 1997, 162; Grammy Awards 2015; Gibson 2006, 42; Recording Producers and Engineers Wing 2008) appear to be less valued by DIY music practitioners. Notions of effective practice appears to be actively disregarded due to the DIY practitioners prioritizing of motivations such as creativity, emotional connection, networking, and free-spiritedness (Hracs, 2012; Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010). Burgess found contemporary music practitioners are likely to be: self-taught, and of a ‘discoverer’ learning style (2013, 29); with a preparedness to reject accepted industry practice (eg: technical or music style standards); and a willingness to borrow at will any music or sonic characteristics from other cultural approaches to fuse into their practice, leading to “unprecedented diversity” (Rogers 2013, 168; McWilliam 2008, 38; Davie 2012, 41).
With this diversity comes the portability of both production and performance technology. For example; producing a full EP on a beach, only needing to retreat to a location to get some electricity when my laptop battery runs empty; dance festivals in a forest where the artists arrive with as little gear as a laptop, or perhaps a USB stick and perform in front of 1,000 people for up to several hours; or, as a result of the technological developments, a new music style emerges because practitioners use the digital virtual technology as an instrument and performance tool, rather than for what it was originally designed for by the manufacturer {data management} (Hewitt 2008, xv). One of the best examples of this would be the creation of electronic music and its sub-genres of electronic dance music, trance music and chill music.
It could also be stated that in Electronic Music Production (EMP), musicians and producers generally use portable technology, accessing synthetic or digital instruments, and compose typically in a structured process (Gunderson 2004; Johnsen et al 2007; Davie 2014, 38; Duckworth 2005, 148; Goyte 2011a; Goyte 2011b; Davie 2015, 34; Holder 2011; Huber and Runstein 2014, 78). In contrast, Indie Rock musicians and producers generally use project studios, access acoustic or electric instruments, and quite often compose in an organic process (Emerick and Massey 2006, 306; Burgess 2014, 93; Dandy Warhols 2010; Leyshon 2009, 1309; Davie 2012, 44-45; Tame Impala. 2012).
The contemporary music-making practice
I propose contemporary DIY music-making practice is now positioned in large part due to factors including, the DIY cultural focus of the past 4 decades, spurred significantly from the punk music era of the 1970’s, where independence and expression was held in greater regard than either aesthetics, musical training or performance technique [DIY cultural pursuit as continued agency of change], and; the simultaneous technological development of the equipment and tools contemporary musicians as music producers use, facilitating unrivalled levels of access to professional equipment, significantly influencing the manner in which musicians as music producers engage in their practice (Wallis 2001). [technology as agent of change]. Additionally, effective contemporary DIY music production practice potentially has the following characteristics:
  • The practitioner is a prosumer, using professionals tools, but also be a consumer of the new technologies [technology as agency of economic change];
  • The practitioner interacts with the technology as a medium for creative expression, as if it were an instrument [technology as agency for creativity and differentiation];
  • The practitioner works in varied environments, use different processes, skills and workflows in order to achieve the outcomes that the musicians and music producers would have a decade ago {and probably including a portable environment} [technology as agency of change].
  • The practitioner works across varied genres, requiring different workflows and instruments
  • The practitioner works with a variety of technologies, likely to be a combination of digital, digital virtual and analogue equipment
  • The practitioner works with a combination of acoustic, digitalised and synthetic instruments
In framing my research study, I have broadly and deeply researched the technological advancements historically in the following audio and audio-related areas of: the telephone; the telegraph; the phonograph; microphones; gramophones; the recording process; the development of radio stations and broadcasting; the development of recording and recording studios; the development of alternative electronic instruments such as synthesisers, organs and samplers; recording consoles, multi-track recording devices, popular music production, large format console studios and analogue audio processing equipment; general computers and Apple Macintosh computers; the internet; digital instruments such as digital sequencers and samplers; digital consoles and audio processing equipment; virtual soft samplers and instruments; virtual Digital Audio Workstations {‘DAWs’}, and a range of exemplar artists (commercially successful, full-time practitioners) that were innovative in some way, influenced by the technological developments, and incorporated the new technologies into their creative works for either new or unique sounds, and/or improved workflow.
The contemporary music-making practitioner
Having explored how the technological development of general devices (namely personal computers and sound cards) and music-making equipment (namely samplers and digital interfaces), has had on, and continues to have on, the music production process, lets look at a profile of the contemporary DIY music production practitioner and the technology they use, we have unearthed to date.
The contemporary DIY music production practitioner may be of any age, of any social status or professional role, but are likely to be IT conversant. They are likely to come from a range of backgrounds such as: artist/musician, audio engineer, songwriter, DJ, self-taught/school-trained, discoverer, entrepreneur or multipath (Burgess 2013, 29). The contemporary DIY music production practitioner is likely to have at the very least a portable studio, or perhaps a project studio with a range of both outboard and in-the-box instruments and audio processing devices, or quality ranging from entry level, through to professional level. I believe that the term prosumer accurately describes the contemporary DIY music production practitioner, one who is both a purchaser and an operator of technology aimed at the level of domestic, semi-professional or professional use. This technology could be analogue, digital or virtual, procured as a DIY kit, as an assembled device via retail channels, or procured through a range of file share, shareware, or freeware, either legally or not. anti-consumerism, rebelliousness, and creativity. They most certainly possess a ‘just do it’ spirit as the Nike slogan has encouraged since 1971.
They may or may not be currently a professional or a semi-professional DIY music production practitioner, they may or may not be motivated by commercial aspirations to become a professional or a semi-professional DIY music production practitioner. They may be motivated by purely creative or social aspirations, operating on a non-commercial basis, at an amateur or hobbyist level. Kuznetsov and Paulos found the majority of DIY communities engaged “to express themselves and be inspired by new ideas”, “not to gain employment, money, or online fame” with an example being “amateur radio hobbyists in the 1920’s” (2010, 295). Operating at this amateur level does not however reflect their level of passion or commitment compared to the professional practitioners, just the reliance on alternative forms of income to fund their contemporary DIY music production practice.
If the contemporary DIY music production practitioner does have professional aspirations, they are more than likely an ‘entrepreneurial’ producer, “who must increasingly not only perform creative tasks, but also a range of business including searching for work, self-marketing and managing the finances of small studio facilities. This mirrors the increased entrepreneurialism found among independent musicians” (Watson 2013). I would argue, that in these times of tasking multiple roles in economically tight times (as Braithwaite alluded), the choice of music production environment and music production process comes down to what resources are available, how much time one has, and access to funds to support their passion (Théberge 2012). However, as the contemporary DIY music production practitioner is a resourceful species, in the new economy restraints of budget no longer guarantee there will be limitations of access as previous generations of aspiring music producers experienced. A slogan of  DIY practitioners in the new economy may be ‘where there is a will, there is way’. With access, comes choice: choice of technology, location, musical style and workflow. These elements of practice provide each practitioner many combinations of  options to apply to their practice, enabling uniqueness in process, sonics and musical style. Yes, the discipline of contemporary DIY music production is now “characterized by infinite choice” and as a result of the burgeoning numbers of practitioners, “intense competition” to have their music heard, irrespective of commercial or non-commercial motives. As a result, practitioners need to expand their focus from production to also include promotion, developing “strategies to ‘stand out in the crowd’” (Hracs et al 2010, 1,144). 
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Research Study – Part 2f (Page 2015b). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Burgess, Richard James. 2014. The history of music production. New York: Oxford University Press.
Burgess, Richard James. 2013. The art of music production: the theory and practice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Burgess, Richard James. 1997. The art of record production. London: Omnibus Press.
Cole, S. J. 2011. “The Prosumer and the Project Studio: The Battle for Distinction in the Field of Music Recording.” Sociology 45 (3): 447–463.
Dandy Warhols, The. 2010. The Dandy Warhols: best of the capitol years 1995-2007. Capitol Records. Compact Disc.DIY image courtesy of: DIY Accessed 5th May, 2015
Davie, Mark. 2015. “DIY: don’t be a tool.” Audio Technology2015 (106): 98.
Davie, Mark. 2014. “Danger Mouse: producer of the decade.” Audio Technology (100): 98.
Davie, Mark. 2012. “The diy revolution.” Audio Technology (91): 98.
DIY image courtesy of: DIY Accessed 5th May, 2015
Duckworth, William. 2005. Virtual music: How the web got wired for sound. New York, NY: Routledge.
Emerick, Geoff and Howard Massey. 2007. Here, there and everywhere: my life recording the music of the beatles. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
Frith, Simon. 1992. “The industrialization of popular music.” Popular Music and Communication 2: 49-74.
Grammy Awards. 2015. “The 2015 Grammy Awards.” Accessed 20th April, 2015. https://www.grammy.com/nominees.
Griffin, RW. 1996. Management. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Hewitt, Michael. 2008. Music theory for computer musicians. Boston: Cengage Learning Course Technology.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2014. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Gibson, Bill. 2006. The s.m.a.r.t. guide to becoming a successful producer/engineer Boston: Thompson Course Technology.
Goyte. 2011b. Making Mirrors. Eleven May 5, 2015. Compact Disc.
Gotye. 2011a. “Making, making mirrors – a short documentary.” Accessed May 5, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZXLyeatI0s&list=PL2qcTIIqLo7WEHIeJ0s2Y21jgIKoQahkD&index=64.
Gunderson, Philip A. 2004. “Danger Mouse’s “grey album”, mash-ups, and the age of composition.” Postmodern Culture 15 (1): 7. doi: 10.1353/pmc.2004.0040.
Holder, Christopher. 2011. “Goyte.” Audio Technology (84): 98.
Hracs, Brian J. 2012. “A creative industry in transition: the rise of digitally driven independent music production.” Growth and Change 43 (3): 442-461.
Izhaki, Roey. 2013. Mixing audio: concepts, practices and tools. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal.
Johnsen, Andreas , Ralf Christensen and Henrik Moltke. 2007. “Good Copy, Bad Copy.” Copyright and Culture Documentary. Accessed June 7, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEKl5I_Q044&list=PL2qcTIIqLo7WEHIeJ0s2Y21jgIKoQahkD&index=72.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. “Rise of the Expert Amateur: DIY Projects, Communities, and Cultures.” In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
Leyshon, Andrew. 2009. “The Software slump?: digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy.” Environment and Planning 41 (6): 1309.
McWilliam, Erica. 2008. The creative workforce: how to launch young people into high-flying futures. Sydney: UNSW press.
Moran, Ian P. 2011. “Punk: the do-it-yourself subculture.” Social Sciences Journal 10 (1): 13.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2017 2nd Observation image courtesy of David L Page  Created 10th June, 2017
Page, David L. 2015b. Doctoral Research Study – Part 2f  Accessed 30th May, 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Doctoral Research Study Part 2d  Accessed 20th May, 2015
Page, David L. 2014b Knowledge base & skill set required for Creative Artists today  Accessed 20th May, 2015
Page, David L. 2014a image courtesy of David L Page  Created 15th December, 2014
Prior, Nick. 2010. “The rise of the new amateurs: Popular music, digital technology and the fate of cultural production.” Handbook of cultural sociology. London: Routledge: 398-407.
Purdue, Derrick, Jörg Dürrschmidt, Peter Jowers and Richard O’Doherty. 1997. “DIY culture and extended milieux: LETS, veggie boxes and festivals.” The Sociological Review 45 (4).
Recording Producers and Engineers Wing, The. 2008. “Digital Audio Workstation Guidelines for Music Production.” Accessed May 27, 2015. https://www.grammy.org/files/pages/DAWGuidelineLong.
Ritzer, George and Nathan Jurgenson. 2010. “Production, consumption, prosumption: the nature of capitalism in the age of the digital ‘prosumer’.” Journal of Consumer Culture 10 (1).
Rogers, I. 2013. “The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia.” In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
Spencer, Amy. 2005. DIY: The rise of lo-fi culture: Marion Boyars London.
Tame Impala. 2012b. Lonerism. Modular. Compact Disc.
Théberge, Paul. 2012. “The end of the world as we know It: the changing role of the studio in the age of the internet.” In The art of record production: an introductory reader for a new academic field, edited by Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, 77-90. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
Théberge, Paul. 1997. Any sound you can make: making music/consuming technology. Hanover: University Press of New England.
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. “Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries.” Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
Watson, Allan. 2014. Cultural Production in and Beyond the Recording Studio. New York, NY: Routledge.
Watson, Matthew and Elizabeth Shove. 2008. “Product, Competence, Project and Practice DIY and the dynamics of craft consumption.” Journal of Consumer Culture 8 (1): 69,74.
– @David L Page 20/05/2015
– updated @David L Page 30/05/2015
– updated @David L Page 10/06/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Research Study – Part 2d

My journey continues….

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020
(2014)
This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.

Year 2015: 2nd Observation Part d

2nd Observation.P2a.renamed

Bordering my music-making practice

As mentioned in the previous blog, I came to understand within the first few months I needed to broadly explore the fields and disciplines of contemporary music-making, in order to border – and define – my music-making practice. Due to the breadth and rapid exponential growth of the music-making industry over the past century, I felt it was necessary to review the industry, fields and disciplines of music-making.

Defining DIY

‘Do-it-yourself’ {D-I-Y, DIY} is now a broadly used term. I found numerous academic articles, publications and commercial organisations to use the term in varied ways and meanings. DIY has been linked from the core of human survival to the early settlers who needed to be resourceful due to either economic or geographical reasons, relying on themselves, or their network of family or friends to provide any required services and repairs outside of their skillset. For hundreds of years people have been doing tasks themselves, irrespective of their skillset, “without the aid of paid professionals” (Washburn 2013; Ryan et al. 1996; Skordas and Trader 1968; Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010, 1)[1]. The Oxford Dictionary defines DIY specifically to home improvement as an activity engaged for economic motive (Hornby 2005). Watson and Shove agree, but expand the definition to include a social aspect of such practice “personal networks of family, friends and neighbours are crucial for individual experiences of DIY” (2008, 69,74). Ritzer and Jurgenson similarly suggest there is an economic motive in the phenomenon of DIY, with examples from the 1970’s of corporations “putting consumers to work”[2] in order to reduce both the expense to the organisation, and the cost to the consumer. The American fast-food restaurant[3], the self-serve petrol station and banking ATMs are examples of the customer ‘volunteering’ to be a more active player in the consumption transaction process with the understanding that this should provide a level of agreeable service, whilst reducing the cost of the good being purchased (2010, 18).
Kuznetsov and Paulos offers an alternative perspective that the rise of DIY culture is motivated by creativity. They found the majority of DIY communities engaged “to express themselves and be inspired by new ideas”, “not to gain employment, money, or online fame” with an example being “amateur radio hobbyists in the 1920’s” (2010, 295), making their analogue radio devices, and then engaging in social groups to use them. Such a trait aligns to Purdue et al’s definition of DIY culture as: “self-organising networks, with overlapping memberships and values”, “challenging the symbolic codes of mainstream” (Purdue et al 1997, 647). This theme was developed in the 1960’s with the retailing of electronic parts and kits for DIY construction. The products were very popular (Saee 2010, 1081) with high school students having get-togethers to discuss projects, and meeting once they had individually completed the projects to compare what they had done. It is interesting that the oxforddictionairies.com definition of prosumer, unlike Ritzer and Jurgenson’s above, is very specific to electronic goods consumers:
Prosumers are those defined as: “who buys electronic goods … of a standard between those aimed at consumers and professionals”, and “who becomes involved with designing or customizing products for their own needs” (Oxford 2015).
A generation of prosumers were being developed, and similar to the amateur radio hobbyist, the assembler could then become the technical operator of the analogue equipment. With scarcity of relatively priced professional pieces of analogue audio equipment, these operators used their customized DIY built analogue equipment in varied audio situations, from hobbyist, semi-professional or professional applications. Still today, DIY electronic kits of specialist analogue audio processing equipment are available and used in today’s project studios (Cole 2011). The motivations to engage in this activity seem to be creative, social, economic and anti-main stream consumerism. As technology advanced, “quality digital recording equipment more widely available” at progressively decreasing cost to the consumer (Wallis 2001, 11). With the development of digital technology alternative music production options to the large format console studio continued. The first digital portable console[4] was introduced in 1979 using tape technology. Three years later, Springsteen released his widely acclaimed and large selling solo album ‘Nebraska’[5] made on this digital portable console, in his bedroom. Originally intended to be a ‘demo’, Springsteen decided the quality and aesthetic of the DIY recording was preferred to the studio-produced album developed (TEAC/TASCAM 2015a; Burke 2011, 119,188). “Evidence from the 1980’s showed that multi-track cassette based recording technologies spread at a high pace to virtually every nation” (Wallis 2001, 11).
Defining DIY Social, Cultural & Music-making practice-related
Examples of DIY in the practice of music have been present for centuries, with the combining of genres together to create a unique style of music, often using specific instrumentation. ‘Skiffle’ music[6], including ‘spasm bands’, ‘jug bands’ and ‘rent party bands’ with the common elements of “simple yet rhythmic style of music using home-made or improvised instruments”[7]. The motivation was for impromptu entertainment (unrehearsed at least), with the choice of instruments more than likely economic, given the prevalence of these bands in communities and an era experiencing harsh economic times (Spencer 2005, 219-226).
By the early 1970’s and 1980’s, expensive and large format analogue consoles[8], commercial record label studios became the norm, and small independent studios became less prevalent (Zagorski-Thomas 2005, 70; Watson 2014, 150). A diversity of music production backgrounds were common, being: artist/musician, audio engineer, songwriter, entrepreneur and multipath (Burgess 2013, 29). However, a culture of preserving limited access, scarcity of information and skills knowledge was very prevalent in large format console commercial studios by those who were fortunate enough to gain employment within the scarce but highly sought after roles within these studios (Morawetz 1974, 3,4; Leyshon 2009, 1316).
By the 1980’s, economic hardship and British government policy helped to mobilise a culture of rebellion, protest and anti-establishment[9]. The punk movement, with limited capital, resources and access, drew on the DIY social and cultural ethos, creating music, fanzines, record labels, press, and venues. At the core of the cultural movement was independence and expression, with the anti-establishment aesthetic held in greater regard than the formal arts institutions’ interpretation of aesthetic and value of disciplined training and technique. Many believe the DIY aspect is what “kept the punk subculture alive since the late 1970s”, allowing “individuals who seek an alternative lifestyle to thrive. The DIY record labels and independent pressing system created social networks that allowed punk music and ideologies to be distributed” (Moran 2011, 1).
With the birth of the internet[10], people under the age of 33 years old today have not experienced life without the global communication network phenomena. What is unique about the internet is that it is there are virtually no rules and no governing body to regulate it. Therefore this generation, and all generations after them, have experienced life without rules and regulations on for most people is atleast a daily interaction (if not exponentially more). So it is no wonder that Kuznetsov and Paulos (2010, 296) [11] believe DIY cultures reflect the anti-consumerism, rebelliousness, and creativity of earlier DIY initiatives, supporting the ideology that people can create rather than buy the things they want”.  I would add to this list for DIY music production culture, procure at any cost.
onion-layers
 Footnotes
[1] Of course such a geographical necessity may also include a motive of economic necessity, where the consumer cannot afford the extra service charge that may be due given the extra distance required for the professional to travel.
[2] Referred to as ‘prosumers’ (Ritzer & Jurgenson, 2010; Cole, 2011).
[3] McDonald’s restaurant as a systemized approach to a fast-food restaurant, where service is reliant on the customer ‘helping themselves’ to the table, to get utensils, condiments, etc.
[4] The Tascam Portastudio 144 was released in 1979, at a cost of approximately US$150. It was the world’s first four-track recorder based on a standard compact audio cassette tape (TEAC/TASCAM 2015b) .
[5] In 1982, Bruce Springsteen released his solo album project “Nebraska”, recorded in his home, on a Tascam Portastudio 144 digital console. The album sold to platinum (Australia and the US) and gold (UK and Canada) levels, and was considered a success, making numerous top albums of the decade lists (Burke 2011; George-Warren et al. 2001) .
[6] “‘Skiffle’ refers to the form of grass roots music produced in the first half of the 20th century” (Spencer 2005, 220)
[7] Instruments range from tea-chests, washboards, and kitchen utensils – any resource imaginable that could be used to participate and improvise within the music at that moment (Spencer 2005, 219-226).
[8] In the 1970s the first large format analogue mixing consoles were released including API, Neve, Solid State Logic. 32 channel consoles were the first large format incarnation.
[9] British Parliament Margaret Thatcher is often cited as being a primary motive of the British punk rebellion movement
[10] A global communication network option – the ‘internet’ – was termed in 1982, and grew within 5 years to 10,000 host sites. By the year 2000, the ‘internet’ had 300,000 host sites, indicating the exponential growth that it was capable of into the future (Burgess 2014, 119).
[11] The success of file sharing, shareware, freeware internet sites such as piratebay.se, utorrent.com etc are testament of the proactiveness, motivation, resourcefulness and tenaciousness of the youth of today to get what they desire outside of the traditional and legal retain channels
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Research Study – Part 2e (Page 2015b). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Burgess, Richard James. 2014. The history of music production. New York: Oxford University Press.
Burgess, Richard James. 2013. The art of music production: the theory and practice. New York: Oxford University Press.
Burke, David. 2011. “Heart of Darkness : Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska”. London: Cherry Red Books.
Cole, S. J. 2011. “The Prosumer and the Project Studio: The Battle for Distinction in the Field of Music Recording.” Sociology 45 (3): 447–463.
DIY image courtesy of: DIY Accessed 5th May, 2015
George-Warren, Holly and Patricia Romanowski. 2001. The Rolling Stone encyclopedia of rock & roll, edited by Jon Pareles: Touchstone.
Hornby, Albert Sydney. 2005. Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary. 7 ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. “Rise of the Expert Amateur: DIY Projects, Communities, and Cultures.” In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
Leyshon, Andrew. 2009. “The Software slump?: digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy.” Environment and Planning 41 (6): 1309.
Moran, Ian P. 2011. “Punk: the do-it-yourself subculture.” Social Sciences Journal 10 (1): 13.
Morawetz, David. 1974. “Employment implications of industrialisation in developing countries: a survey.” The Economic Journal: 491-542.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Oxford. 2015. “Oxford dictionary.com.” Accessed 20th April, 2015
Page, David L. 2017 2nd Observation image courtesy of David L Page  Created 10th June, 2017
Page, David L. 2015b. Doctoral Research Study – Part 2e  Accessed 20th May, 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 2c  Accessed 10th May, 2015
Page, David L. 2014 image courtesy of David L Page  Created 15th December, 2014
Purdue, Derrick, Jörg Dürrschmidt, Peter Jowers and Richard O’Doherty. 1997. “DIY culture and extended milieux: LETS, veggie boxes and festivals.” The Sociological Review 45 (4).
Ritzer, George and Nathan Jurgenson. 2010. “Production, consumption, prosumption: the nature of capitalism in the age of the digital ‘prosumer’.” Journal of Consumer Culture 10 (1).
Ryan, DG, JE Ryan, BJ Starr and Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Committee. 1996. “The Australian landscape: observations of explorers and early settlers.
SAE. 2015. “SAE Institute.” https://sae.edu.au/ Accessed 20th April, 2015
Saee, John. 2010. “Foreign Direct Investment as a Catalyst for Economic Development.” In The 6th International Scientific Conference “Business and Management’2010, edited, 1080-1085.
Skordas, Gust and Arthur Trader. 1968. The early settlers of Maryland: an index to names of immigrants compiled from records of land patents, 1633-1680, in the Hall of Records, Annapolis, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Com.
Spencer, Amy. 2005. DIY: The rise of lo-fi culture: Marion Boyars London.
TEAC/TASCAM. 2015b. TEAC Tascam History. www.teac.com: TEAC Inc. Accessed 10th May, 2015
TEAC/TASCAM. 2015a. TEAC Tascam series: 1979 model 144 Portastudio Manual, edited by TEAC Inc.  www.teac.com: TEAC Inc. Accessed 24th July, 2015
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. “Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries.” Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
Washburn, Sherwood Larned. 2013. Social life of early man. New York: Routledge.
Watson, Allan. 2014. Cultural Production in and Beyond the Recording Studio. New York, NY: Routledge.
Watson, Matthew and Elizabeth Shove. 2008. “Product, Competence, Project and Practice DIY and the dynamics of craft consumption.” Journal of Consumer Culture 8 (1): 69,74.
Zagorski-Thomas, Simon. 2005. “The US vs the UK sound: meaning in music production in the 1970s.” In The art of record production: an introductory reader for a new academic field, edited by Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, 57-90. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
– @David L Page 10/05/2015
– updated @David L Page 20/05/2015
– updated @David L Page 10/06/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Research Study – Part 2b

My journey continues….

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020
(2014)
This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.

Year 2015: 2nd Observation Part b

2nd Observation.P2a.renamed

Bordering my music-making practice

As mentioned in the previous blog, I came to understand within the first few months I needed to broadly explore the fields and disciplines of contemporary music-making, in order to border – and define – my music-making practice. Due to the breadth and rapid exponential growth of the music-making industry over the past century, I felt it was necessary to review the industry, fields and disciplines of music-making.

Historical development of the industry – an overview (continued)

Project Studio
Further technological developments gave rise to the increasing opportunity of having a music production setup in the home, based around a personal computer, a sound card, and some form of digital audio workstation to either record or arrange the music. Izhaki noted: “as computers became more affordable and competent, and the hiring of expensive {large format console, commercial} studios was no longer a requisite for multi-tracking and mixing”, a new era of home music creation and production studio iterations known as project studios began to emerge (2013, xiiii). As early as 2005, with a project studio based around an Apple computer with a range of analogue outboard hardware and synthesizers, Stuart Price admitted he “did much of the work for Madonna’s ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ album” in his home-based project studio (Doyle 2008). Madonna’s ‘Confessions On A Dancefloor’ album” was a commercial success. As Leyshon highlighted “the recording studio sector is not a particularly profitable or efficient part of the musical economy overall” (Leyshon 2009, 1315), and therefore from an industry perspective, it was positive that alternative options evolved.
Consoles – DAWsand Digital Virtual Instruments – Organs, Synthesisers, Samplers
The late 1990’s and 2000’s saw the development of the digital audio workstation (such as Cubase, Pro Tools, and then eMagic’s Logic). Virtual instruments (software instruments) and sample libraries (audio libraries for software instruments), available from 3rd party providers such as Spectrasonics, Native Instruments, Garritan, East West Quantm Leap, or Vienna Symphony came with extremely large and varied databases, at a cost range suitable for novice to serious producers, ready to include into their productions (Gilreath 2010). Miles Hubber and Runstein reinforced the view that the project studio, now with virtual technology “brought about monumental changes in the business of music and professional audio”, with the greatest benefit being a music creator able to “select from a wide range of tools and toys to generate specific sounds – or to get the particular sounds that he or she likes”, without necessarily having that instrument or musician capable of playing that instrument, on hand (Huber and Runstein 2013, 10-11). Webb confirms the potential of this practice, citing a commercially successful song (having reached the US Music charts) that included a sample from Apple’s household digital audio workstation Garageband: Rihanna’s “Umbrella used one of its drum loops (specifically, Vintage Funk Kit 03) to great effect” (Webb 2007).
As composer producer Goyte had made his first two albums using samples from prepared sample libraries exclusively, he decided for his third album he wanted to incorporate a range of unique acoustic instruments into the process. Recording these acoustic instruments – for example, an African thumb piano, music box, an autoharp – over time in his project studio (a barn on his family’s property), using a MacBookPro and a multi-track reel to reel recorder, Goyte then processed the recorded wave samples in a digital audio workstation via a digital sampling instrument. This effectively created a range of new virtual instruments that could be played in ways that the original acoustic instruments could not have – rhythmically, harmonically and even melodically. Goyte commented that “in virtualizing the instrument this way, it would become something unique” (Gotye 2011): effectively a unique instrument that no one else had access to, and had not necessarily heard previously, as a direct result of the digital environment processing. Goyte’s “Making Mirrors” CD was released to critical acclaim, and among many awards worldwide, won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Album’ in 2011.
“The rise of more affordable digital recording rigs and easier programming protocols represents a democratisation of technology, making available a process that was once accessible only through the facilities and skills provided by a recording studio” (Leyshon 2009,1309).
Portable Studio
With the development of laptops and handheld microphones such as the Zoom H4, the project studio got smaller and more mobile. Coined as portable studios, anyone with musical aspirations could compose and produce in a studio one moment, and then move outside to into nature, or even the extreme, “on the beach of a remote seaside island under battery power” and continue to compose and produce (Huber and Runstein 2013, 78). Such flexibility of recording environments enabled the composer producer the choice of using actual instruments (acoustic or digital), virtual instruments, purchased sample libraries, or creating their own sample libraries directly from the environment they habituate using these portable studios.
The laptop, particularly the Apple MacBookPro, was an integral part of this technological development enabling the portability of music production. Discussing the music production process of his 2011 Grammy Award winning “Making Mirrors” CD, Goyte reinforced choice with “some songs I sang into the mic of the MacBookPro – for whatever reason it sounded really good in that room and I left it in the final mix” (Holder 2011). Hewitt concludes that such choice and options of practice allows aspiring music producers “a significant degree of creative freedom”, to “produce highly accomplished soundtracks”, of a standard where “some of these tracks … can literally be sent straight to the record company for final mastering” (Hewitt 2008, xv). Certainly, the portable studio became a new environment for music production (Huber and Runstein 2013, 78).
Whilst specialising in the Post-Production stage of the Music Production process, Grammy award winning Mix Engineer Leslie Braithwaite mixed the Grammy Award winning song “Happy” entirely within a digital audio workstation. He explains his recent change of workflow to a “21st Century DAW-only approach” in order to:
“keep up with my productivity schedule. Doing recalls on large format consoles is a pain the butt, because it takes a lot of time and it is therefore just not efficient. With my workload increasing and me also trying to meet the demands for smaller budget projects, going into the box made total sense” (Tingen 2014).
As I gathered information, I documented it into a chart. This proved to be very beneficial enabling me to notice specific developments, and make connections across the various discipline streams of the industry that I have not previously recognised.

Contextual Development of Field_2015

Contextual Development of Field (2015b)
As my investigation continued to focus, I was able to form connections that I hadn’t previously noticed between the development of music-making technology, and the development of certain musical styles.  The industry of music production had exponentially developed, and was now so diverse.
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Research Study – Part 2c (Page 2015b). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
Doyle, Tom. 2008. “Stuart Price: producing Seal & Madonna.” Accessed 20th April, 2015. https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb08/articles/stuart_price.htm.
Gilreath, Paul. 2010. The guide to midi orchestration. 4th ed. Oxford: Focal.
Hewitt, Michael. 2008. Music theory for computer musicians. Boston: Cengage Learning Course Technology.
Holder, Christopher. 2011. “Goyte.” Audio Technology (84): 98.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2013. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Izhaki, Roey. 2013. Mixing audio: concepts, practices and tools. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal.
Leyshon, Andrew. 2009. “The software slump?: digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy.” Environment and Planning 41 (6): 1309.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2017. 2nd Observation image courtesy of David L Page  Created 10th June, 2017
Page, David L. 2015b. Doctoral Research Study – Part 2c  Accessed 29th April, 2015
Page, David L. 2015b. Doctoral Research Study – Part 2a  Accessed 15th April, 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 1  Accessed 15th April, 2015
Page, David L. 2014. image courtesy of David L Page  Created 15th December, 2014
Tingen, Paul. 2014. Inside track: Happy – secrets of the mix engineers: Leslie Braithwaite. Accessed 1st May, 2015. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may14/articles/inside-track- 0514.htm.
Webb, A. 2007. “Is GarageBand top of the pops?” The Guardian Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/oct/18/news.apple.
– @David L Page 20/04/2015
– updated @David L Page 29/04/2015
– updated @David L Page 10/06/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Doctoral Research Study – Part 2a

My journey continues….

~DLP Pro Image Fun 5b small.20141020

(Page 2014)
 This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.

Year 2015: 2nd Observation Part a

As part of the professional doctorate program I had entered, we were inducted into the world of academic research study. Whilst I was a relative open book in terms of my quest for new knowledge, I found the requirements of being fast-tracked from a position of practitioner into the world of academia at a doctoral level, overwhelming. The level of growth required was enormous.
As part of our program, we were being led to examine three (3) aspects of our practice:
  • the field and discipline of practice
  • the site of our practice
  • and me as a practitioner
Despite my practicing for many decades, I was starting to realise that I actually knew very little.

Bordering my music-making practice

I came to understand within the first few months I needed to broadly explore the fields and disciplines of contemporary music-making, in order to border – and define – my music-making practice.

Due to the breadth and rapid exponential growth of the music-making industry over the past century, I felt it was necessary to review the industry, fields and disciplines of music-making. I looked in depth at:
a.     Historical development of the industry from the 1830’s to the current era. Recording industry – from the invention of the 1st recording, microphones, corporate studios, progressing to large format recording studios
  • Music Production
  • Digital Technology – Consoles
  • Digital Technology – Organs, Synthesisers, Samplers
  • Project Studio
  • Consoles – DAWs and, Digital Virtual Instruments – Organs, Synthesisers, Sampler
  • Portable Studio
b. Industry standards of practice – commercial
  • Industry standards of practice – technical
  • Industry standards of practice – creative, aesthetic or affective
  • Industry standards of practice – soft skills
c. Defining DIY
d. Social, Cultural and Music-making practice Related
e. Changing Face of Music Production
f. The traditional definition of Music Producer
g. A new discipline of music-making emerges
h. The contemporary music-making practice
i. The contemporary music-making practitioner

Historical development of the industry – an overview

Music Production
Historically, music production lay within what is now referred to as the audio industry. During the 1940’s and 1950’s in both the US and the UK, the field of audio and the discipline of Music Production was centralised around commercial radio and television studios (Zagorski-Thomas 2005, 70), with the hiring of technical experts to experiment both in terms of recording techniques and equipment. By the early 1960’s the recording industry was flourishing with a lot of experimentation. Studios were now starting to be owned and operated by large recording corporations such as RCA, Colombia and EMI records[1], with technical departments to develop analogue technology to use within their studios. As a result, access to the technology, along with the knowledge and skill in using this technology was somewhat restricted to only those working within these environments (Burgess 1997, 30). Though it must be noted, a number of small-scale independent recording studios also operated in the 1960’s, though usually owned and operated by technical-based enthusiasts[2] who proved they were capable of commercial success[3].  However, by the early 1970’s and then into the 1980’s, with the advent of expensive and large format analogue consoles[4], commercial record label studios became more of the norm, and small independent studios became less prevalent (Zagorski-Thomas 2005, 70). Industrialization generated specialist roles and skills[5], as well a culture of capitalizing on one’s skillset, and reliance on others’ services for financial remuneration (Morawetz 1974, 3,4). Capitalism also introduced the notion of barriers to access in order to create or preserve the imbalance of power relations and ongoing dependence on goods and services. This culture was very prevalent in large format console commercial studios, and for those who were fortunate enough to gain employment within the scarce but highly sought after roles within these studios, were inclined to preserve the culture of limited access, scarcity of information and skills knowledge (Leyshon 2009, 1316). Burgess acknowledged a diversity of backgrounds of music producers from that era as being: artist/musician, audio engineer, songwriter, entrepreneur and multi path (1997, 29).
Digital Technology – Consoles
Throughout the 1970’s technology advanced, with “quality digital recording equipment more widely available” at progressively decreasing cost to the consumer (Wallis 2001, 11). With the development of digital technology alternative music production options to the large format console studio became available. The first digital portable console[6] was introduced in 1979 using tape technology, marking the beginning of a dramatic change in the music production playing field. “Evidence from the 1980’s showed that multi-track cassette based recording technologies spread at a high pace to virtually every nation” (Wallis 2001, 11). Three years after its initial release, Bruce Springsteen released the widely acclaimed and large volume selling solo album ‘Nebraska’[7], made on this same digital portable console in his bedroom {with the intention of it being a ‘demo’, but then choosing the quality and aesthetic as preferential to a studio produced product he had access to as a label signed artist} (TEAC 2015; Burke 2011, 119,188).
Digital Technology – Organs, Synthesisers, Samplers
Towards the end of the 1980’s, low cost digital keyboards and devices were released globally by a number of manufacturers[8]. Digital synthesisers and samplers, triggered by a MIDI[9] controlled keyboard could now play a range of tones, sounds, and emulate instruments. Because a single key could trigger multiple sounds or chords[10], the technique and skill required to play each of the instruments became virtually redundant. Whilst initially the range of instruments emulated were fairly limited, over time this has grown exponentially, from acoustic – European[11] or world[12] – instruments to synthetic instruments[13]. Such resources allowed music producers to have numerous instrumentation options available to them to integrate into any one of their music productions, as their creativity desired.
This has also had of course an affect on the industry in terms of labour, rendering musicians with specialist skills to a certain degree redundant. “Digital sampling and simulation techniques have decreased studio producers’ dependence on hiring the services of live musicians. These trends apply virtually everywhere in the world” (Wallis 2001, 11). However, the positive of this technological development enabled the creation and development of specific electronic music genres, and social and cultural events such as the 1990’s based rave parties. (Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010, 295)
Over the next two decades technology continued to develop at an exponential rate, in terms of general devices[14], global communication network options[15] and music-making equipment[16]. “Renewed interest and wider adoption of DIY cultures and practices through 1) easy access to and affordability of tools and 2) the emergence of new sharing mechanisms” such as the internet had a prolific effect on the widespread interest of music production (Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010, 295).
Wallis noted recently five (5) five main current trends in the music and audio industry, three (3) of which are related to the scope of my Research Study: one being the “deregulation of existing analogue channels and the growth of the Internet and digital channels as global means for conveying music to businesses and consumers”; another being the “removal of national boundaries in distribution, leading to globalization of media products” (‘distribution’ excluded in this essay); and ‘technology’: “Widespread diffusion of new digital technologies for recording and distribution, providing wider access to technology with satisfactory quality at an affordable price” (Wallis 2001,10).
The Behringer company (Music Group 2015) commenced while the founder was studying audio engineering at a German University with insufficient supply of working order audio processing equipment. With limited access to equipment, Behringer who had a DIY electronics background, started repairing the existing inoperable devices, and then progressed to building additional devices for his own use. Behringer recalls about the mid 1980’s “there was simply a tremendous need for good and affordable sound equipment”. Behringer’s mission became “to provide professional products at prices every musician could afford”, creating as they claim a new “prosumer or home-recording market that had not existed before”. Whilst quality was an issue in the early years, by the mid-2000’s Behringer was a very well established provider as they had aspired to.
onion-layers
Footnotes
[1] The biggest studios were owned and operated by large media companies like RCA, Columbia and EMI, who typically had their own electronics research and development divisions that designed and built custom-made analogue recording equipment and mixing consoles for their studios.
[2] later becoming known as audio engineers.
[3] Likewise, the smaller independent studios were often owned by skilled electronics engineers who designed and built their own analogue desks and other equipment. A good example of this is the famous Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles, the site of many famous American pop recordings of the 1960s. Co-owner David S. Gold built the studio’s main mixing desk and many additional pieces of equipment and he also designed the studio’s unique trapezoidal echo chambers.
[4] In the 1970s the first large analogue 32 channel mixing consoles appeared. Mixing consoles now featured EQs and FX sends on all channels, and it became also possible to route signals from one channel to another (such desks are also called “inline mixing consoles”). In the mid 1970s Neve developed NECAM, the first computer-controlled moving fader automation. Many popular mixing console manufacturers debuted in the 1970s. Famous mixing console companies in the 1970s included AMS Neve, Solid State Logic, API, Harrison and Raindirk.
[5] concept of skilled and unskilled labour
[6] The Tascam Portastudio 144 was released in 1979, at a cost of approximately US$150. It was the world’s first four-track recorder based on a standard compact audio cassette tape (TEAC 2015) .
[7] In 1982, Bruce Springsteen released his solo album project “Nebraska”, recorded in his home, on a Tascam Portastudio 144 digital console. The album sold to platinum (Australia and the US) and gold (UK and Canada) levels, and was considered a success, making numerous top albums of the decade lists (Burke 2011; George-Warren et al. 2001) .
[8] Korg, Roland and Yamaha were the early manufacturers of digital synthesisers and samplers.
[9] Musical Instrument Device Input (MIDI) was created by a number of musical companies to allow the flow of digital signal between two or more digital devices (Gilreath 2010).
[10] Known as pads.
[11] Such as a double bass which I have seen many times in both European music orchestras and contemporary Jazz bands, but never played one.
[12] Such as a Kenyan Nyatiti which I have only seen in Kenya in the 1980’s.
[13] Such as a Jupiter-8 synthesiser which I saw being played live in Japan in the later 1980’s.
[14] Such as personal computers.
[15] A global communication network option – the internet – was termed in 1982, and grew within 5 years to 10,000 host sites. By the year 2000, the internet had 300,000 host sites, indicating the exponential growth that it was capable of into the future (Burgess 1997, 119).
[16] Such as those previously mentioned, namely digital samplers and digital interface.
onion-layers
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Research Study – Part 2b (Page 2015b). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
References
 Burgess, Richard James. 1997. The art of record production. London: Omnibus Press.
Burke, David. 2011. “Heart of Darkness : Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska”. London: Cherry Red Books.
George-Warren, Holly and Patricia Romanowski. 2001. The Rolling Stone encyclopedia of rock & roll, edited by Jon Pareles: Touchstone.
Gilreath, Paul. 2010. The guide to midi orchestration. 4th ed. Oxford: Focal.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. “Rise of the expert amateur: DIY projects, communities, and cultures.” In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox:ACM.
Leyshon, Andrew. 2009. “The software slump?: digital music, the democratisation of technology, and the decline of the recording studio sector within the musical economy.” Environment and Planning 41 (6): 1309.
Morawetz, David. 1974. “Employment implications of industrialisation in developing countries: a survey.” The Economic Journal: 491-542.
Music Group. 2015. “Behringer : our story.” Accessed 15th April, 2015. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Our-Story/index.aspx
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2017. 2nd Observation image courtesy of David L Page Created 10th June, 2017
Page, David L. 2015b. Doctoral Research Study – Part 2b Accessed 29th April, 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 1 Accessed 15th April, 2015
Page, David L. 2014 image courtesy of David L Page Created 15th December, 2014
TEAC. 2015. “TEAC TASCAM history.” Accessed 15th April, 2015. www.tascam.com.
Wallis, R Dr. 2001. “Best practice cases in the music industry and their relevance for government policies in developing countries.” Paper presented at the United Conference on Trade and Development, Brussels, Belgium, May 14-20, 2001.
Zagorski-Thomas, Simon. 2005. “The US vs the UK sound: meaning in music production in the 1970s.” In The art of record production: an introductory reader for a new academic field, edited by Simon Frith and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, 57-90. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate
– @David L Page 15/04/2015
– updated @David L Page 20/04/2015
– updated @David L Page 10/06/2017
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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Post-Production Instrumental Editing and Processing Options

This blog continues a series of blogs on Mixing (Page 2014).
MIDAS Console_looking left
(MIDAS 2014)
As a mix engineer I guess you will receive a tracking session at some point in  which you will appraise the instrumental elements of the session as being in need of some work: perhaps some subtle work, or perhaps some extensive work. Options are available to do this by the spadeful with the very large range of accessible resources available to the practitioner.
However, what you need to do as the mix engineer at that point in time, is to make a quick decision: what extent of post-production instrumental editing or processing is required in order to achieve the desired musical or sonic effect for this production project?  In this example I will focus on one of the essential instruments in contemporary music – the central element of the rhythm section – the drums. However, most of the options I cover below can be applied to other instrumental elements of a session, al be it with different sonic hardware and/or virtual applications.

Sound Repair, Reinforcement, Supplementation, Replacement

Sound repair, sound reinforcement, sound supplementation and sound replacement are terms that I have found aspiring audiophiles use interchangeably. However, they are different, offering different levels of solutions to different production problems at different times. I will introduce the essential differences between each, and outline a particular production scenario where each may be employed.
1. The entry level of post-production drum processing is known as repair. The term sound repair is usually restricted to minor editing using either manual or DAW-based editing functions. In Pro Tools, minor editing to drum tracks can be done using a combination of Beat Detective, Elastic Audio or manual editing using the standard editing tools provided, your eye and most importantly, your ear. Elastic Pitch can also be used for minor editing of melodic or harmonic instruments when they are found to be slightly out of tune to the other instrumentation in the session.  Whilst the term editing is primarily associated with cutting and moving audio files regarding timing issues, I include applying audio processing under the category of repair. This can include manipulating the sonic qualities of the audio file in terms of spectral (equalisation, filters), dynamic (compression, limiters, gates and expanders) and time-domain (reverberation, echo, delay, flanging, chorus, etc) qualities via audio processing.
2. The next level of post-production drum processing is known as sound reinforcement. This solution uses various methods to ‘reinforce the original sound – usually a tone underneath the original signal to reinforce the lack of tone within the original signal. This production solution became very popular in the 1980’s with disco music, which led into the early stages of EDM. In the 1990’s digital reinforcement was used via devices such as a dbx 120A sub-harmonic synthesiser to reinforce the sub-harmonic frequencies of the production.

DBX_120A_Subharmonic Synth

  • In the current era, external devices are still used such as the dbx 510 sub-harmonic synthesiser as a means to reinforce the sub-harmonic frequencies (as shown below on right-hand side of 500 series rack). This option can be used for both corrective or creative purposes.

AE Project Studio Rig.20160601

(AE Project Studio 2015)
  • These days this style of processing – sound reinforcement – is usual in many forms of music to use virtual reinforcement devices, such as layering an in-the-box oscillator under the original signal to reinforce the original tone.
    3. The next level of post-production drum processing is known as sound supplementation. Products such as Wavemachine Lab’s Drumagog and Steven Slate’s Trigger were developed to allow the engineer/producer to add sonic texture to the original recording to supplement it/boost it in terms of sonic qualities that were considered to be deficient. These qualities could include timbre, frequency or dynamic envelope. This situation could be due to one of several reasons: due to an imperfect recording technique overall. For example: due to poor microphone placement; poor or ineffective microphone technique for the desired effect; poor or ineffective live room for the desired effect, to name a few reasons;  imperfect or ineffective microphones used for the desired effect. This could be the actual quality of the microphone, the condition of the microphone – a suitable microphone type, or polar pattern a suitable type; an imperfect quality instrument or tuning; or even an imperfect instrumentalist technique in the original recording. This option of post-production drum processing is usually used as a corrective measure, but not always, just to bring the original tone home somewhat more. It would be quite unusual in this era for most productions to have some form of sound supplementation incorporated.

Wavemachine Labs Drumagog 5

Steven Slate Trigger 2.jpg
4. The final level of post-production drum processing is known as sound replacement. Sound replacement involves – as it sounds – the replacement of the original sound source for an alternative sound source. There are so many options available in this era in terms of post-production drum processing options. Drum replacement options such as: Steven Slate’s SSD, Toontrack’s EZ Drummer, AIR Technology’s Strike, and Native Instruments many and varied drum instruments could be useful and suitable for your particular project solution. All of these listed virtual instruments use a sample system to replace the original track’s audio file. The underlying reason to replace the original audio track could be due to: an imperfect recording technique overall. For example: a poor microphone placement; a poor or ineffective microphone technique for the desired effect; a poor or ineffective live room for the desired effect, to name a few reasons;  an imperfect or ineffective microphones used for the desired effect. This could be the actual quality of the microphone, the condition of the microphone – a suitable microphone type, or polar pattern choice for the desired effect; an imperfect quality instrument or tuning; or even an imperfect instrumentalist technique in the original recording. This option of post-production drum processing is primarily used as a corrective measure. it is essentially radical surgery, used in an emergency salvation when all has gone wrong, and no options exist, including time to re-record it in the instance of an urgent project. or used to create ‘demos’ prior to actual tracking. alternatively, with time on your side as a producer, you may choose for the best option: to re-record the original sound source. Whilst this is the most obvious option, there may be external factors that prevent this obvious choice from being a valid option.

Steven Slate SSD5

Toontrack EZ Drummer

AIR Instrument Strike
I expect as a mix engineer you will receive a tracking session at some point in your careers in which you will appraise the drum elements as being in need of some work – perhaps some very subtle repair work, some subtle reinforcement, or perhaps the session will be in need of some extensive work. With the options available in this era, you will need to make a quick decision: what extent of post-production drum processing is required in order to achieve the desired musical or sonic effect? You will have different options avaialble, offering different levels of solutions to different production problems at the different stages of production. Whether sound reinforcement, sound supplementation or sound replacement – each level of post-production drum processing offers different levels of solutions to different production problems at different times. It is up to you as the mix engineer or produce to understand the different stages of production, the needs of the particular mixing session, and employ the most appropriate level of post-production drum processing in which to realise the desired effect.
References
AE Project Studio 2015’s Rack image courtesy of: https://au.pinterest.com/pin/543739354993444064 Accessed 10th December, 2015
AIR Instrument’s Strike image courtesy of: http://www.airmusictech.com/product/strike-2  Accessed 21st January, 2015
DBX’s 120A image courtesy of: http://dbxpro.com/en/products/120a  Accessed 21st January, 2015
MIDAS 2014 console image courtesy of AE Project Studio. Accessed 29th June, 2014
Page, David L. 2014.  Mixing part 7  Accessed 22nd January, 2015
Pro Tools 12: http://www.avid.com/pro-tools  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Steven Slate’s SSD image courtesy of: http://www.stevenslatedrums.com/products/platinum/  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Steven Slate’s Trigger image courtesy of:  http://www.stevenslatedrums.com/trigger-platinum.php  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Toontrack’s EZ Drummer image courtesy of:  https://www.toontrack.com/product/ezdrummer-2/  Accessed 21st January, 2015
Wavemachine Lab’s Drumagog image courtesy of:  http://www.drumagog.com  Accessed 21st January, 2015
– ©David L Page 22/01/2015
– updated ©David L Page 10/12/2015
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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