Business of Music in India

…exploring the future…

“A Full Circle” in Music Recording Technology

In the late 70s (when i was still sucking my thumb), and then in the early 80s (when it stopped), I’ve been audience to “live” recordings at my father’s recording studio in Andheri, Mumbai.

Musicians walked in much before their booking hour, used to chit-chat with one another, cracked jokes, took innumerable tea breaks and then left by 6pm. During such recording sessions, a single mistake by any musician meant that all of them had to play their parts again. But it was still fun to them. No one complained!

The evolution of computers in music:
When computers entered the data-entry related functions in offices, many jobs were lost; especially the ‘secretaries’, who could use the typewriter even in their dreams. Musicians seemed confident that the computer would never touch their skill-sets, but they were indeed upset with the entry of synthesizers and drum machines. In the late 80s, multi-track recording equipment was seen as a boon for both the studio owners and musicians!

Now, a musician could play (or a singer could ‘dub’) on top of someone else’s track, and they all finished their work faster – as chances of mistakes in group-playing no longer existed! They also took up more bookings in a day at various studios across the city. The studio owner too got more hours to ‘bill’, as each musician would come in separately for playing his/her part on the same track. Unfortunately, what took a big hit was teamwork, and the fun elements of making music “together” = real-time collaboration. What then??

Starting in the mid-90s in a small way, and then by year 2000, computers not only invaded the musicians’ territories, but also affected the studio owners big time. Today in 2010, we have almost every “computer-savvy” musician working out of his or her home studio setup, and using larger recording studios only for live recordings and vocal dubbing sessions. Does this affect the quality of music production? Not at all! Since technology has given power to everyone to create world-class productions in the comfort of their homes. Whether the soul in today’s music exists when someone does almost everything by himself is a point to ponder over.

Also, good musicians who still aren’t computer experts are not totally jobless either. Live shows, TV programmes, high budget films, music classes, etc have come their rescue.


What’s the future in music recording?
Here’s an example: With the ongoing ‘green’ initiatives, high speed Internet access worldwide, here is an example of OHM STUDIO (www.ohmstudio.com). It’s a standalone real-time collaborative music making application (DAW/sequencer) in addition to a web based collaboration platform, and a music driven online community. And this is a first in the world. Other software companies will naturally follow. With Ohm Studio, it is possible to set up a productive workspace to make music together and with ease. No more big files transfers, no more endless set up incompatibilities. And as with a conventional studio session (just like till the good old 90s), communicate with each other thanks to the in-app chat system that makes it simple to share any thought, instruction or comment. Just like you would do in a yahoo chat or a facebook chat today!

Have you ever wanted to just make music online with your friends in real-time?

Well, now it’s possible.

Online music recording sessions!

Real time collaborations - virtually.

Musicians will be able to search for other music talents from around the world. Through the ‘Ohm Studio Cohmunity’, one can discover collaborative projects that are appealing and find new people with whom to make music, searching by style, mood, skill, city, country and more. One can discover that the drummer or the singer (s)he has always been looking for is only a few clicks away! In such a scenario, Indian music producers can collaborate with each other even in different cities.

For example, a music director in Kolkata can record a talented flautist like Naveen Kumar, while Naveen is playing ‘live’ in his Mumbai home studio. Saves a lot of money on transport, hotel stay, etc and you still get that dream track done! With such a concept of online recording collaborations, musicians in India have to showcase their work and skills, in order to be discovered and/or be invited into groups or sessions. Could it be that you have just the right profile those Brazilian guys need for their funky nu-soul project? Now just being computer savvy is not enough. Musicians need to be visible and active on the Net through their own websites, social community networks and also use these to their advantage. Keep net-working guys.

Music apps have become exceedingly powerful with near unlimited creative potential, but still one feature has been relegated to the world of dreams and fantasy: real time collaboration. It seems we’re going back a full circle to an era where a musician was able to work with others while sharing the same tools at the same time, as if they were all together in a studio.

Good old times are back again… so what if its only virtually! ☺