Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!

November 4, 2010

It's cheap but it's not that easy

Starting with recordings in the early 1850s, music technologies worked to concentrate industrial power into the hands of ever-larger businesses, who had the financial resources to mass-market music-related product. But since MIDI the 1970s, music production technologies have worked to reduce production costs and allow less-financial musicians to create and perform on their terms.

Home-studio equipment, starting with clunky reel-to-reel multi-tracks, then four-track cassette tape machines, SMTP hybrid systems and eventually fully on-board PC recording, reduced the cost of recording and processing sound dramatically. Developments in microphone and monitor technologies made capturing and reproducing studio-quality sound achievable in a Do-It-Yourself home studio.

Portable CD burners meant that digital recordings could be compiled into albums and replicated for a fraction of the cost of manufacturing in a commercial plant. Email allowed musicians to communicate Direct-To-Fans, peers, and colleagues for almost nothing; the world-wide web allowed almost unlimited distribution of perfect copies of digital files; and social networks have enabled people to form into like-minded groups and to actively seek others with interests similar to their own.

There are two problems in this wonderland of opportunity. First, there is nothing to stop others from doing the same thing - meaning that there is a lot more music in the market and it's more difficult to call attention to your music. Hence the complaint about hobbyists.

The second is that being able to own the technology does not automatically mean that the technology will be used well. Hence the growth in small commercial studios, Independent labels and home-based promotion businesses. Most of the recordings available are not very good and very few of them will set the world on fire. Similarly, most of the world's music marketing efforts suffer from poor writing and lousy communication design. Many musicians struggle to embed store widgets in web pages.

It takes years of training and practice to become a good audio engineer or online marketer. It takes even more to produce and market a world-class. Musicians either have to pay either way: spend their time and money learning to use the equipment or hire someone who has already developed their skills and studio.


New technologies enable cost-effective DIY production and DTF distribution and promotion but access to the technologies is not enough. Adopting the technology requires and investment in learning to use them. Sometimes it is more cost-effective to employ a person who has the expertise and networks than to spend the time developing them.

This post is one section of Part 3 of Dr Huge's "How the record industry got it so wrong". The latest version of the complete ebook can be downloaded here and a hard copy can be ordered here.
Posted by DrHuge at November 4, 2010 7:14 PM

Leave a comment

Who's Huge? / / Huge's Music / / Huge's Shop / / Huge's Blog / / Hire Huge / / Help Huge / / Huge's Podcast / / Blogroll Me!