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Development of Studio Recording Technology Essay

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Updated: Jun 11th, 2020


It is a self-evident proposition to state that changes in technology create changes in artworks by opening up new processes for artistic production and altering or rendering obsolete, old ones. The invention of the phonograph record at the end of the nineteenth century, for instance, radically and irrevocably changed the nature of the musical performance. For the first time, individual performance of music could be reproduced and transmitted to a mass audience. Before this development, the only means by which a musical composition could be transmitted was notation. In other words, a performance itself could not be memorialized, only the composer’s written instructions on how to reconstruct that performance appears to be helpful in this case. One had no longer to be in a cathedral or a concert hall to hear a symphony or chorale piece performance.

A personal living room could be transformed into a concert hall through the technology of the phonograph. The existence of mechanical reproduction of performances means that the performance is no longer tied to a particular historical incidence. It is rather made mobile in time as well as in space. What is the predicted future development in music recording studios? To answered this question, this paper moves from the initial stages of developing studio recording to the wider creative urban environment in which they are situated, to their more widely geographically dispersed networks of creativity. The paper argues that recording studios are relational, creative, social and economic, therefore, they play a central role in sociality and active networking in project-based working in the recording studio sector.

Transition in studio recordings (past, present, future)

Recording studios are considered platforms for development of music in most cities. Most of these recording studios are claimed and worked by entrepreneur producers while recording companies keep up the control of predetermined large number of recording studios. For instance, Memphis and Tennessee recording studios have developed creative moments, in the 60s, owing to the collaboration with producers and artists as well as the arrangement of session musicians.

These moments have been characterized by enjoyable and creative environments with significant celebrities and crucial producers coordinating the interpretation and arrangement of musical style among the classically trained string of musicians (Brewer 2000).Therefore, while musicians were recognized as the creators of music, studio producers, writers and marketers were termed as cultural intermediaries (Pinch and Bijsterveld 2004). The capability of artists to make music was, consequently, reliant on this industry workforces.

The expertise, used in recording studios to produce music, is in the constant developing form, especially on account of prevalent music. These improvements have triggered substantial concerns about upcoming relationships linking artists to recording studios and the places in which they are situated. For instance, in the past decades, the recordings were minimized to fit onto vans, allowing the recording firms to travel in different locations of the USA, with the post production and distribution of the recorded music in the regional areas of production (Jones 2009).

The present technological instruments are continuously improved for networking studios in the spatial distant area, in multifaceted and intimate means. These advancements are, to some degree, aimed at lessening the cost of production as well as adjusting exceedingly versatile musical innovative. Both performers and producers may need to co-ordinate musical recordings on a worldwide scale. By using such a development, recording studios can be considered as linking points in the social urban areas of the worldwide urban framework.

Nevertheless, some recording studios may be used by local autonomous artists to produce localized musics, despite these recording studios encouraging the creation of music on a worldwide scale. Consequently, recording studios may be perceived as a local and global enterprise bringing about musical inventiveness in new social setting and recording across spatial scales.

The global availability and dissemination of easy recording instruments has supported autonomous and self-sufficient forms of local production. Proficient quality recordings can be delivered by people’s musical performers and producers in humble record offices and home studios, empowering artists to control more parts of the creation process. Resultantly, this has led to the breakdown of the boundary between amateurs and professionals in the process of production (Warner 2003).

Connell and Gibson (2002) analyzed music generation in Australia, where home studios were utilized over a mixture of music styles with artists just entering studios to blend their recordings. Also, ‘Rock mobile’, a recording studio supported by Frankfurt city council, is equipped with technological devices. This has made a significant contribution in providing resources that have enabled hip-hop to become confined by cultural manifestation. Conversely, while such mechanical advancements propose the potential for democratization and may act to decouple connections between urban areas, recording studios, and innovation, they will inexorably reconstitute them in new energizing habits.

Although there are certain difficulties in the development of music studio records, in places like Austin, Texas, artist stage performance is connected with realism in music. Decades ago, the lack of approaches and techniques in the calculation of studio recording discouraged live performance, estranging musical performance from the aggregate demonstration of music making. In light of the test, studios in specific areas have created recording practices that fuse group performance on specific parts of the recording, taking into account the connotation of live performance and authenticity.

It is inescapable that more settled recording studios will react to innovative improvements to secure their enthusiasm for the business. There has been a development towards space broadening or extension over the significant centers of music creation. For example, the UK-based Miloco Studios group is the UK’s largest studio group and owns 20 recordings and mastering studios across London, the UK, and Europe.

Many studios have built a reputation based on the experience and skills of their staff, as well as the particular acoustic qualities of the studio space and the quality of recording equipment. For instance, Abbey Road Studio in London has a large purpose-built acoustic space for the recording of orchestras along with custom-built recording consoles operated by highly skilled sound engineers. Furthermore, certain sound features have become connected with certain music producers, artists and certain regional area (Pinch and Bijsterveld 2004). For example, ‘Studio one’, a recording studio of the 60s in Jamaica, would get to be significant in promoting certain kind of reggae music.

The producer Clement Seymour Dodd played a crucial role in initializing its trademark sound. Dodd adjusted sounds in a remarkable manner in light of the studio room, which implied that his sound could not be repeated somewhere else (Bradley 2001). He also picked key musical executives and, by keeping them on a pay, served to hold a unique sound. His studio was unique as it was the only studio where the artist could smoke; the studio had an open and creative setting (Bradley 2001). Consequently, it was perceived as a situation attributed to the innovative nature of Jamaican musical talent.

Nonetheless, recording in the studio is costly and is regularly done under time limits. Besides, recording technology significantly impacts the progress of creativity of musical social organization in the studio. For instance, the magnetic tape enabled a certain degree of social and geographical diffusion of sound recording of different towns and cities in the United States, contributing to rise of rock n’ roll in the 1950s (Gillett 1996).

Ten years later, the presentation of multi-tracking permitted the development of musical surfaces, and the generation of the illusionary melody sounds resulting in slowly drifting connection between performers, writers, makers and experts in the studios. An example of performances by Pink Floyd, Yes and Genesis utilized the Urban studios space to present sound performance in a common art sensibility by aggregating innovation and instrumental outfits for their rock production. Studios could never be seen exclusively as an empowerment of musical innovativeness but as a space to incorporate, control, and channel imagination.

Although recording studios are the most recognized places with imaginary spaces; urban recording studios may be transformed from personal living room to garages, concert halls, and street corners. This creativity process extends beyond the urban environmental limits. In Goa, India, hallucinogenic rave music is designed in such a way that people from different parts of the world meet with artists, thus encouraging the creation of bodies to the physical state of nature.

On Goa’s shorelines, music becomes important through its spatial-worldly association with the common habitat, the sun, the moon, and clamors of the shoreline; thus, masterminding and changing the physical setting as well as taking bodies “somewhere else” (Saldanha 2005, p. 703). Around 1980s, as electronic house and techno music were growing in North American urban areas, DJs were able to play and make new types of music in Goa, which are known as Goa trance, enabling the audience to participate in drug-fuelled dancing and making Goa the “rave capital of the world” (Saldanha 2002, p. 709). As individuals seek to enjoy variety of musics in Goa, they bring new music sytles with them; thus, continual development of the the rave scenes occures.

Current years have seen the rise in popularity of internet forums that allow for an exchange of information between engineers that is not limited in geographical space. The internet forum “Gearslutz”, for example, have more than 50,000 registered users who have made over millions of posts relating to new technical equipments and recording as well as editing techniques. The site also has question-and-answer forums with expert engineers and producers, as well as engineer self-help forum for non-technical issues. A virtual network, like this one, provides participants with electronic anonymity and a discussion forum where people can connect, share information, discuss experiences, and express grievances.

Besides, the availability of music recording and editing software that runs on home computers has enabled studio engineers to learn and experiment with recording and editing sounds outside the studio environment and without the need for expensive equipment. These methods have democratized technology and made sound engineering a hobby; they have allowed engineers to experience various effects, piles of instruments, samplers, pedals, mixing equipment, whether in a home or commercial studios (Gibson 2005).


Emphasizing that recording studios are relational, creative, social and economic spaces, the research has highlighted the central role of sociality and active networking in project-based working in the recording studio sector. This sociality may be more or less intensive and more or less stretched, from the often intense face-to-face creative encounters in the space of the studio to the more stretched sociality required. While technologies continue to be developed for networking studios in geographically distant locations, sociality remains an important part of creative practice at all the scales of production.

Recording studios are “messy constellations” (Yeung 2005, p. 451) of multiple identities, constituted by spaces and flows of network relations. Recording studios, of course, have no agency within themselves. Instead, they are enrolled and positioned within networks of musical production by the producers and engineers who work within them and move through them with varying degrees of intensity and duration. They build social capital in their attempts to forge a career in a precarious project-based sector of the creative economy.

While a shift from firms to social networks has been outlined in a theoretical sense in this paper, there is a need to translate these ideas into the empirical framework. This paper has offered approaches to incorporating this shift into work in spatial development. The successful performance is crucial for developing understanding of rational work and project based one, that are sensitive to the spatial scales across which actors and their networks operate.

Reference list

Bradley, L 2001, Bass culture: when reggae was king, London, Penguin. Web.

Brewer, R 2000, ‘String musicians in the recording studios of Memphis, Tennessee’, Popular Music, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 201-215. Web.

Gibson, C 2002, ‘Rural transformation and cultural industries: popular music on the New South Wales far north coast’, Australian Geographical Studies, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 337-356. Web.

Gillett, C 1996, The sound of the City: the rise of rock and roll, 2nd edn, New York, Da Capo Press. Web.

Jones, M 2009, ‘Phase space: geography, relational thinking, and beyond’, Progress in Human Geography, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 487-506. Web.

Pinch, T. & Bijsterveld, K 2004 ‘Sound studies: New technologies and music’, Social Studies of Science, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 635-648. Web.

Saldanha, A 2005, ‘Trance and visibility at dawn: Racial dynamics in Goa’s rave scene’, Social and Cultural Geography, vol.6, no. 5, pp. 707-721. Web.

Warner, T 2003, Pop music – technology and creativity: Trevor Horn and the digital revolution, Aldershot, Ashgate. Web.

Yeung, H W 2005, ‘The firm as social networks: an organizational perspective’, Growth and Change, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 307-328. Web.

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