Should music production be cheaper?

Producing a studio album of a starting rock band can easily eat up a budget between 15.000 to 30.000 EUR including mixing and mastering knowing that famous artists wouldn’t even think about starting a record at this low end budget.
The thing is that these prices are still from times when physical records would sell well and quickly return the invested amount of money. But hey, this is already years ago when digital came dominating the music market.

The fear of not seeing their investment ever again is one of the things that still influences a record company towards declining a band. Maybe if recording was cheaper they’d be more willing to give it a try if they liked a band that doesn’t seem that hot in their early stage but still has lots of potential.

So my question is: When a song sold digital or streamed generates less revenue than when sold physically and when consumers allegedly don’t even notice the difference between a high res *.WAV recording and a good sounding downsized format. Why do we still produce costly?
Well, here’s the answer I get the most: „A downsized mp3 generated from a high res recording will always sound better than an mp3 downsized from a cheap recording.“ That’s pretty convincing even for me but still this is crazy, isn’t it? This is like Picasso painting a master piece that will only be spread in a low res black and white paper copy.
The legendary HANSA recording studio where they always use that big old analog SSL mixing console and sometimes even their multi track reel to reel machines from back in the day made me an analog lover as well, but still I can’t get over that question how long we can hold up production prices at that level.

So do I like recordings that took place in good sounding studios using expensive equipment with people who had lot’s of time tweaking the sound? YES and again YES. Do I think we should find cheaper ways to come to a fantastic sounding album? Also a yes from my side.

Just imagine how great it would be, if a musician could use a DIY solution to record single tracks at home and send them somewhere to be edited without renting a whole studio. Doesn’t sound like future technology, huh? Ok, then let’s speed up time a little bit. What if you track your songs and press a button labeled „mix down“. So a preset will mix for instance 30 single tracks down to a stereo mix by preset. And maybe a hybrid solution will allow you to customize the mix. I mean doesn’t a human sound engineer always follow a certain pattern to finish a mix? If you’re now trying to tell me it’s to complex for a machine to make an engineers decisions, I’d say: „a plane can take off, navigate and land automatically just as good as a pilot.“

Thanks for your time and please have your say and leave a comment…

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