Free Agent Media

The Baltimore Sun reports that larger video and audio production companies have been closing, with networks of independent producers emerging in their place.

An excerpt:

Don Barto Sr. has seen the transformation firsthand. A local sound engineer who has been in the industry for more than three decades and in 1998 founded Soundriven Inc., Barto used to work out of large, traditional studios "using the kind of stuff you would see in a recording studio for making records."

"And now that's all migrated to a computer, and I sit here on my sofa and mix TV shows," he said.

When he worked at those studios, Barto used equipment that cost upward of a half-million dollars, he said. Four years ago, he bought a new system for his Timonium home-based business that cost $6,500 per workstation. The gear -- which Barto says is so small that he can work from anywhere -- paid for itself in a month, he said.

Some of the best parts of the article are the resentful quotes from the old guard. "The digital technology has come down in price and to the masses so that everyone thinks they can get in our business," the president of one closing company told the paper. "One guy, one computer, out of his home, is competing with what I do."

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  • ||

    Music is being made the same way. No chops necessary. No life. No soul. No interaction between musicians.

    Welcome to the machine.

    don't annoy us further
    we have our work to do
    just think about the average
    what use have they for you

    another toy
    that helped destroy
    the elder race of man
    forget about your silly whim
    it doesn't fit the plan

  • ||

    The digital technology has come down in price and to the masses so that everyone thinks they can get in our business

    Apparently, the masses are correct in their thinking.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Brotherben: Either you have grossly misread the article, or I have grossly misread your comments. It sounds to me like you're suggesting that music made in the old, big record companies has "chops" and "soul," but when independent musicians affiliate on their own those go out the window, along with "interaction between musicians."

  • Marc||


    To my knowledge, tech like this has made it possible for bands to record, produce, and distribute their music, without having to sign a contract. Production studios used to be prohibitively expensive; now anyone can build one if so inclined.

    Chops don't enter into it. The tech is beneficial to both bands with chops and bands that suck; it doesn't actually require that you write songs by yourself on a groovebox.

    I cant believe youre saying
    These things just cant be true
    Our world could use this beauty
    Just think what we might do

    Listen to my music
    And hear what it can do
    Theres something here as strong as life
    I know that it will reach you

  • dhex||

    in nyc, a number of big studios have shut down, and small setups like my friend's have exploded in popularity.

    link pimpin' :

  • ||

    Traslation: it is now much easier and cheaper to produce crap that isn't worth the time to download illegally.

  • ||

    Nobody finds it odd that multi-million dollar studios were churning out records by people famous for tits? I'm a big fan of home and project studios. The draw back is that people actually have to go out and find the music that they like. I see it as a plus.

  • ||

    Will no-one rid us of this pernicious plague, competition?

  • ||

    No chops necessary. No life. No soul.

    Because nothing puts the soul and life in art like centralized corporate control. And nothing sucks the juice out of music like "networks of independents."

  • ||

    brotherben is a bit misguided. Opening up audio and video production to the masses will lead to a lot of the machined crap he laments. It will be more difficult to wade through it all. More people making more art will lead to more crappy art...and also more brilliant art. It won't sap the life out of music, but it will be harder to find the good stuff. The labels will start making money from telling us what cool is, and selling T-shirts.

    With more and more musicians making and producing their own works, can we finally bring P2P back to 2003 levels?

  • Bhh||

    Downside: there's a distinct lack of groupies at my home studio. Ok, it's more of a laptop than a studio. A three year old laptop.

  • ed||

    Well, if I've learned anything from this thread, it's that pop music lyrics still mostly suck.

  • ||

    I brought this up before but here is a real world example. Everything is on track for massive decentralization. The little guy as producer and consumer- now of media in the near future power then products(3d faxes, etc.).

    I think this will disrupt whole economies- When there's no need for pretty much any manufacturing what will this mean for unskilled labor?

    Of course until when have tech that can get raw materials out of your backyard or garbage/waste we will still need to mine, etc. But this will be automated soon as well.

    What will happen to unemployable people?

  • Jesse Walker||

    What will happen to unemployable people?

    They'll start bands.

  • ed||

    And manage them.

  • ||

    Funny! Thanks for bring my comment into the fold.

    Anyhow I've still never gotten a Libertarian answer for how the market would change under these circumstances. It's probably obvious I'm talking about population.

    Any easy answer would be that people would become more educated to participate in the purely information based economy. But how would they do this this without income- these changes may happen in less then a generation, a very short time for large groups to radically change course.

  • ||

    "What will happen to unemployable people?"

    Or run for office.



    We've been moving away from the slow mind strong back economy for a long time without hordes of uneducated unemployables taking to the streets. And don't confuse the death of GM-style unionized manufacturing with manufacturing in general either.

    People are generally smarter than they get credit for in abstract discussions on internet bulletin boards. We'll cope as we always have and end up better off for it.

    Though honestly I suspect 3-d faxes are in the flying car school of sci-fi forecasting. Seems like it would be very inefficient to put a bunch of machines who can manufacture household appliances or w/e in each house when they really wouldn't get used that much. And having the raw material (whatever that would be for a machine like that) waiting around for use. If we ever reach that point, it will mean that the cost of living is so low a guy working part time at McD's could probably have a lifestyle most Americans today would envy.

  • Bhh||

    The more edumacated you are, the more expensive, the more likely your employer can save a buck shipping the gig to india, where there's like 800,000,000 engineers or something.

    So we'll all have to become idle pleasure seekers. Or rather you dudes, because I'm already there.

  • ||

    Isn't it great that we're shipping our jobs off to a country where kissing somebody in public will get you jail time? Jail time for kisses, that's what we're supporting.

  • ||

    "brotherben is a bit misguided"

    Would it be improper of me to award the thread victory to Lamar?

  • ||

    "We've been moving away from the slow mind strong back economy for a long time without hordes of uneducated unemployables taking to the streets.

    The "long time" is the issue. This isn't happening slowly. Products/technologies continue to come to the market at faster and faster rates. The funny thing is it's the companies that slow down the process as the new tech often makes their inventory obsolete- see SED and field emission displays.

    "Though honestly I suspect 3-d faxes are in the flying car school of sci-fi forecasting"

    I keep up on developments in nano-tech. Right now researchers are building components- gears, circuits, motors, etc. The common line is that they are about 10 years ahead of where forecasted in the early 00's. Once they start putting these components together we'll see things take off ;)

    If we can build desktop molecular manufacturers they'll be able to build copies of themselves (basic Von Neuman Machines)- if this comes to pass we can make Asimov's idea that technology's ultimate purpose is to make mankind a race of artist adventurer philosophers(if that's your kind of thing).

  • ||

    brotherben: I think declaring a thread winner is a drinkable offense these days. But thank you, in a skeptical kind of way... [squints eyes]

  • aaron||

    Even with von neuman machines, you still need someone to develop and design new objects for them to manufacture. It'll be a lot like the software industry is now. Making more copies is basically free, but there's still a lot of work to be had in the software business.

  • ||

    Even with von neuman machines, you still need someone to develop and design new objects for them to manufacture.

    There will always be work for Secret Designers.

  • Rick H.||

    This shift in the recording industry has been going on for more than a decade. Read Tape Op magazine for insight on what this means to the high-end music geek.

    The tech is beneficial to both bands with chops and bands that suck

    Exactly right. Artistry, good ears, attention to detail and love of craft are qualities that aren't affected by new technologies. There will always be a market for them. I think a lot of the "old guard" are just resentful that consumers have more choices these days.

  • Nike Dunk Low||



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