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The Business of Music



I have a question for you hopefully not out of bounds of the purpose of this thread.

The business of music has changed a lot over recent decades and it seems like there is less work and more competition in all aspects of the music industry. I have talked with a few well-known pro studio session players who just don’t have the work available (say over the past 10 years) that they had in the 80’s, 90’s and even early 2000’s. This could be due to low barrier to entry, home studios, loops, samples, less sessions/budgets, average players able to play their own parts and slice and dice their performances to sound pro, etc… Lot of reasons including the music industries slow response and adaption to address streaming technologies that were eroding their profits. I am suspecting this could also true in the mixing/engineering and producer space given the vast number of home studios, online mixing and mastering training sessions available to anyone at low cost, relatively cheap entry costs, people offering services at low rates, people taking a DIY approach, etc…

How have you adapted to the changes in the music industry over the past, say 20 years, to stay ahead of the competition, not in skill, but in keeping your costs of business in line to be competitive and profitable while still addressing the needs of your customer base?

I do realize you are not competing with bargain basement mix engineers or DIY engineers mentioned above but am thinking more about popular artists finding their profits in touring rather than recording these days, shrinking budgets and all that stuff. It seems in the 70’s and 80’s people were making no money touring and did it only in support of record sales for which they had huge budgets provided by the record companies, and now it seems to be the exact opposite. Appreciate your insight for how this change has affected your business, if at all. Thx.


Michael Brauer

Guest Moderator
It’s a complex question that I’ll try to keep simple in its answer. You adapt in a way that is as efficient and cost saving without compromising the quality. Advances in technology has allowed you to no longer be dependent on hiring a room in a studio to work. Setting up shop where you live is a huge saving. Remote access via team viewer and audio movers allow you to work with anyone from home. Setting up live streaming social media webinars allow you to set up income generating activities.

Sometimes it’s about finding creative ways to use all these formats to stay ahead of the competition and other times it’s joining up with others for your success. Good management, good networking all are things you need to stay on top of to survive. Careers are like big roller coasters that keep going up and down and around hopefully never stopping to let you off until you choose to pull the handle.

I know I didn’t give you specific details on how to succeed but the target is always changing.



I would say that is a fair answer, adapt, stay efficient, grow in your skill level, and add value just like any other business. Not specifically looking to make a career change or anything like that (at my age) but am interested in business and how it has changed over the past several decades. I guess the answer is that general principles of business apply to your field like any other.

Maybe like many here, my interest in mixing is primarily as a tool to capture musical ideas and have them expressed in a specific way (without having to rely on others) as opposed to mixing for a career. People like you, Clearmountain, Lord-Alge('s), Pensado, etc.. have a level of skill and talent that would elude many due to the commitment alone (just like any professional career). Your answer does suggest that the tools for the art of mixing are now available to most, and, it is possible to do professional level stuff at home. That said, if I ever need a real mix done for any purpose I would certainly contact someone like you and not rely on my own skills to get it there. Whatever you do to increase the quality that extra 10 or 20% is what hooks the listener and ultimately sells the product.

Thanks for your input and looking forward to seeing whatever it is that Fernando has eluded to providing this week. Maybe a mix template or something to that effect?



Time passed and new technologies have been implemented in the music industry. It seems that AI can do the biggest part of the work now.
While it's undeniable that AI is reshaping our lives and the way we do business, there are still some professions that remain irreplaceable. The transformative impact of AI is evident, and it undoubtedly influences various aspects of our daily routines and professional endeavors. However, I firmly believe that certain fundamental aspects will endure.
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Hall of Fame Member
Still some professions are irreplaceable
Yes. My worry is as the tools have gotten better or more automated, who will be left to teach people how to do it? Just because an algorithm or preset says “this is how to do it” doesn’t mean it’s always right. If you don’t like what you hear what do you change? That’s the profession, and it is irreplaceable.


Venerated Member
My worry is as the tools have gotten better or more automated
Do not be afraid.
These little machines need knowledgeable people who feed them.
And that will continue to be the case for a very long time, even if the hype tells us otherwise.
What's more, music production is a very subjective, emotional and equally complex thing. We are still a long way from machines being able to do that.

I dare say that none of us here will live to see it.
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