What do you do if you're a successful recording artist interested
in pursuing another side of the music industry? If you're Bryan Adams, you
might just consider turning an old warehouse into a state-of-the-art recording
Adams renovated an old brick building, erected in 1886, in Vancouver, Canada.
From the outside, not much has changed with this heritage building. On
the inside, not much has remained the same.
"The building had been gutted by fire and was extremely run down. It had
to be cleaned out for the studio to be put in," says Jayne Ryan, the recording
studio manager. "Luckily, Bryan Adams had the money to invest in the project
and to transform the building into a recording studio."
The Warehouse Studio has recording and mixing rooms that offer the best
in technology. In addition, artists can use the lounge or kitchen during their
stay. "It has become a state-of-the-art studio that attracts many talented
musicians," says Ryan.
Obviously, starting out with Adams' reputation and capital made running
a recording studio much easier. But other, smaller companies are also able
to make a living by recording music.
Many recording studios are small businesses. Some are even set up in garages,
or are makeshift studios built in kitchens and back rooms. In California,
Conrad Askland is able to make a living by recording music. He owns Askland
"It's not impossible to make a living at this," says Debbie Carole. She
works at Askland Recording Studio. "Conrad has been able to do quite well."
If music is in your blood, then operating your own recording studio might
just be a good way to earn a living. "You have to really love music and be
serious about studying it," says Carole.
Although recording studios are located throughout the country, the major
centers for these activities are New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.
The key to operating your own studio, says Carole, is getting proper training
and business management skills before opening the doors. "It's not just about
popping in a tape and recording something," she says. "There's a lot to learn
about mixing and balancing."
A soft flute may open the piece and then be joined by banging
kettledrums. Obviously, if you were listening to this music at a concert,
the volume would swell at that moment. But when you're listening at home,
you don't want to have to keep adjusting the volume, nor do you want the music
to sound as though it's being played all at the same sound level.
"Achieving that sound effect in recordings is called mastering," says Carole.
"We record each sound on different tracks and then mix them together to make
the sound good. On a good recording, you shouldn't have to keep adjusting
In order to mix these tracks and start a recording studio, you need equipment.
"It can be a bit of an expense to get all the gear you need," says Carole.
"But if you get some training and you love music, this can be an enjoyable
career to follow."
But where is the industry headed in general? The way music is being recorded
is changing rapidly. "The industry will change with technology," says Ryan.
"Things are already changing with MP3 files [music format files]. There are
so many different variables."
Today, if you're interested in hearing the latest hit song, you might turn
on the radio, watch music television or sit down at your computer.
The availability of music online is causing a lot of upset in the recording
What does all this mean for recording studio owners? The classic way of
recording music may soon be a thing of the past.
"With the Internet, there will be more options for emerging artists to
put out their music," says Doug Curry. He is a spokesperson for the Recording
Industry Association of America. "But musicians will still want to go into
studio spaces and record their music."
Although the recording industry is in a state of flux at the moment, it
should be noted that the industry won't disappear. It will merely evolve.
"There's always going to be music," says Curry. "Recording companies are just
looking at ways to take advantage of this new technology."
Ryan agrees. "There will always be recordings made in studios, but the
way it's done may be something entirely new."
Recording Industry Association of America
One of the industry's professional associations
Audio Engineering Society
For audio engineers
Warehouse Recording Studio
Bryan Adams' studio
This site has pictures of the studio