Get access

The impact of technological advances on recording studio practices



Since the invention of sound reproduction in the late 19th century, studio practices in musical recording evolved in parallel with technological improvements. Recently, digital technology and Internet file sharing led to the delocalization of professional recording studios and the decline of traditional record companies. A direct consequence of this new paradigm is that studio professions found themselves in a transitional phase, needing to be reinvented. To understand the scope of these recent technological advances, we first offer an overview of musical recording culture and history and show how studio recordings became a sophisticated form of musical artwork that differed from concert representations. We then trace the economic evolution of the recording industry through technological advances and present positive and negative impacts of the decline of the traditional business model on studio practices and professions. Finally, we report findings from interviews with six world-renowned record producers reflecting on their recording approaches, the impact of recent technological advances on their careers, and the future of their profession. Interviewees appreciate working on a wider variety of projects than they have in the past, but they all discuss trade-offs between artistic expectations and budget constraints in the current paradigm. Our investigations converge to show that studio professionals have adjusted their working settings to the new economic situation, although they still rely on the same aesthetic approaches as in the traditional business model to produce musical recordings.

Get access to the full text of this article