David Byrne Journal: 01.09.2007: Correction?
Amongst other things, I laid out a variety of possible distribution models, while also claiming that the lower price of recording these days leaves artists less dependent on record labels to bankroll the studio costs than in the past.
I was called on this latter claim by two folks — curiously, they’re both Canadian. Here are some excerpts from the email exchange.
From Issa (formerly Jane Siberry, who did a pay what you wish offer for her recording a couple of years ago):
“Make records for almost nothing? I suppose. I’m already at 40K and I’m keeping it extremely lean. Just working with an engineer in a hotel room at $300 a day for him. And I still have to sing and mix. I really don’t think I could do it for less.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I exaggerate. I could make a record here in my home demo studio for nothing, but I haven’t yet. Yes, I too pay an engineer when I’m recording other singers, other musicians and adding strings or mixing and the costs add up.”
Tech might become cheaper and cheaper, but people and experience do not. I wrote about that here:
If, however, you make music with other people, a band, a cast of studio cats, or an orchestra for example, the cost of recording has not come down. People need to get paid and that pay goes up over time, not down. A classical orchestra recording now costs more than a million dollars, which is why so few classical orchestra albums are recorded these days. So, if we as a culture want to listen to nothing but rap and techno and other stuff that one or two guys can slap together, congratulations, we are on our way to accomplishing that.