As I’m trying to decide if we should do a quick or a long fade on the cymbals at the end of my new recording of “Plenty of Nothing” after six hours of trying to find the right mix and fixing spots on this song, I wonder how many listeners realize how tediously unromantic and time-consuming the process of finishing the final recording of a song is.
Here is my example: This song took me about three hours to write, one hour to rehearse. 45 minutes to do a live version in the studio, and seven hours to get the ideal mix of instruments. And it’s not done yet – next step is mastering and manufacturing. Have you ever tried to listen to the same song for seven hours straight trying to detect all details and finding the right balance? Sounds like Chinese water torture? Yes, that’s the part you never see in the movies and documentaries – who wants to see people sit around a mixing console and repeat the same song over and over. It’s much more exciting to witness the magic moment at the microphone when the notes are captured that hopefully will resonate over the airwaves for years to come. But isn’t that how most products are created – 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration? Yes, that’s correct but sometimes we don’t like to admit that the formula holds up for creative products too. What’s my point here in spoiling our romantic view of creating beautiful music in the studio? Well, actually the opposite, I’m hoping to elevate the value of musical products by this glimpse into the time-consuming and costly process of creation. Especially over this past decade due to new technology and digital advances we have come to expect free or low-cost ways of consuming music. On the other hand, music is important for our well-being, our social interaction, our quality of living and so much more. So the next time you hear a piece of music that you enjoy or hear a fantastic musician, buy the track, leave a tip, and show your appreciation – thank you!