Album production has changed drastically in the past few decades. With advancements in technology, the process of producing a finished product, a product with an outstanding sound, has become much-more efficient, and much-more outstanding in sound. In this article, by Kip Allen, one of the most respected songwriters, professional drummers, and music producers in Nashville, we will learn how the process of album production has changed for the better.
Back in the old days of album production
The earliest albums, in vinyl form, were produced in the early 20th Century, and they played at 78 rpms. They only held about three-minutes of music, necessitating that a normal album, back then, consisted of several vinyl records per package. These were replaced in 1948 with the single-play records, which could hold much more music per vinyl, and they played at 33 rpms.
Vinyl records dominated the music scene until the early 21st Century. At various times, efforts to replace the vinyl record were attempted, including the 8-track tape, cassette tapes, and finally compact discs.
Originally, albums were recorded in a music recording studio. There the acoustics were outstanding, and sound levels could be controlled for best results. Albums recorded on a first take were considered live albums, even though they were mostly produced in the studio. Those albums not considered live were a compilation of individual tracks, recorded separately, and then mixed together to arrive at a “perfect” sound.
Innovation in the 60’s
Many of the innovations currently used in music production were introduced in the 1960’s, with many accredited to The Beatles and their album productions from “Revolver” thru to “Let It Be,” or the years 1965-1970. Many sounds introduced at that time were sounds which could not be replicated in live performances, but made for outstanding special effects in studio recordings.
Technology matches the innovation
Because of innovations, many “albums” are produced in a variety of different settings, and the traditional recording studio is not nearly as important as it once was. Several musicians can record their own portions of a song from home studios, and then download those tracks and send them to the music producer, who will then do the mixing and mastering necessary for a finished product. There are, in fact, many albums which are produced in this manner, and the individual musicians/singers never really meet together during the production stage.
And what to expect in ten more years of innovation
What innovations we will see in another ten years is anyone’s guess, but chances are excellent that sound quality will improve during that time. Perfection may never be attainable, but computers are making perfection at least a talked-about possibility in the music industry. The real artistry, in album production, happens with the talents of the music producer, whose job really hasn’t changed that much in all of these years. A talented music producer knows how to find near-perfection. They posses an ear, and a talent, which is still rare in music today, and once you have heard their finished product, you will never be satisfied with mediocre again.
A final word about Kip Allen
Since 2008, Kip Allen has been a trusted pro in the Nashville music scene. Call Kip if you need a songwriter, music producer, sessions drummer, or touring musician. When the final product calls for the very best, Kip Allen is the name to remember.