Recently a mentor of mine shared an article titled '4 Things I Hate About Home Music Production'. It immediately caught my attention because here at Fox Tracks, we're all about home music production. We value connecting musicians with studio pros to create awesome music from home. What's there to hate??
After reading the article I was delighted to find that Fox Tracks had already solved all four of the problems the author listed! I decided to write a response to defend home recording against his allegations. The author had a very specific outlook on home recording but had forgotten about one important thing: collaboration.
1 - You (DON'T) Have To Wear All The Hats
It's true, trying to do everything and juggle 45 different music production skills is not fun. It will eat up your time and at the end of the day your final product will simply be lacking.
So, rather than trying to do everything, why not collaborate with experts? If you are an expert in songwriting, rhythm guitar playing, and singing, why not collaborate with a mixing master, an arrangement aficionado, and some stellar musicians to lay down the rest of the tracks on your song. It's much better than trying to learn bass, keys, and horns in a week. There is nothing wrong with delegation, and it will allow you to spend more time doing the things that you love, and doing the things you're actually good at.
2 - Things (WON'T) Take A Long Time
Now that you aren't trying to do everything yourself your production should be a much smoother process. Plus, compared to recording in a studio, home recording is actually way quicker! For example: If you have several musicians all taking care of their tasks in different parts of the country (or the world!), all at the same time, you can get everything done so much quicker. Trying to book time at a studio for 7 musicians all at the same time, traveling, setting up, recording, and editing all on location can be a huge hassle and push things back. If everybody records at home instead, it takes a lot less travel. Plus it's better for the environment! (And your wallet.)
3 - (NOT JUST) One Set Of Ears
Collaborating with multiple musicians is one of the most beautiful things about home music production. There is no rule that says you can't share files back and forth if you're producing from home, and who is to say you can't ask another expert for their opinion. If you're working in a studio, it's basically a situation of 'You work with what you have' and there isn't a lot of room for extra exploration or ideas when you're on the clock ($). If you produce your music from home, you can ask questions! Ask an incredible guitar player what they would add. Ask a producer what the problem is with the harp and the piano clashing in the intro. Ask a mix engineer what she thinks of the most recent version. You have as many ears as you can send your music to and gain valuable feedback that will ultimately make your music better.
4 - It's (NOT) Lonely
When you're collaborating with an entire team of musicians and studio pros who are all dedicated to serving your music and making it as good as it could possibly be, you should feel supported, welcomed, and encouraged. Our goal at Fox Tracks is to help artists feel resourced in their music production process. By collaborating from home you'll never have to feel lonely. Also, you get to be the driver! Honestly there is nothing harder than hearing a 'discussion' with 3 different people about the 4th note on the 13th bar and whether it should be legato or staccato. How about this: you decide! You are the driver of this ship and what you say goes! Get feedback when you're ready for it, not when the bass player's step-brother wants his say.
Summary: Home recording fosters creativity and saves time
Today, chart-topping singles are being recorded and produced from home. Take a look at songs by Billie Eilish, Charlie Puth, Jacob Collier, and Katy Perry to start. As music gear gets cheaper, more musicians are being given access to better vehicles for their creativity. Now a singer-songwriter with a great idea for a new song can record it in the same day, lay down scratch tracks, and flesh out her idea without having to book time at a studio or travel. She can hire a group of studio musicians, an arranger, and a mix engineer to collaborate on the song to save her time and reserve her energy for more important things, like writing the next song. Having access to a network of studio pros will ultimately save artists time and allow them to create without any restrictions.
Ultimately - home recording makes better music, and more of it.