Your Studio is NOT a Tech Startup

I gotta get something off my chest.

We live in a strange time in history, especially when it comes to the way businesses are created. As someone who has built two successful businesses from scratch (and will likely build more in the future), I’m very interested in business.

I received an email the other day about the fact that the company Uber has not yet turned a profit, although its revenue has grown considerably over the last year. The writer of the email said, “That’s the way business works.”

Amazon famously lasted years and years before ever turning one penny of profit.

These “businesses” are funded by investors with deep pockets, in the hopes that one day they’ll gain enough market share to turn a real profit. Now, I know this has worked successfully for many businesses. I’m a big Amazon fan myself. But these businesses aren’t the norm.

The existence of these businesses tends to distort our view of what a business should be.


Gear Acquisition Syndrome


What is G.A.S.?

If you’ve ever worked in music retail, you’ve heard of Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It’s this phenomenon that happens once somebody gets hooked on music equipment. Suddenly having one guitar isn’t enough — they need seventeen. Owning one good vocal microphone isn’t enough — they need a closet-full.

Now this certainly can be an awesome thing (especially for the music store you buy from). Having a home studio decked out from floor to ceiling with all sorts of gear is pretty satisfying.

However, I want to raise a concern I have with Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I see it in myself, and I see it in most home studio owners that I meet (and I’ve met a lot). My concern is that we can get so caught up in buying new equipment that we lose sight of the music.

My last few years of college are a perfect example of this. My freshman year I had a cheap little audio

interface, a cheap mixer, and a cheap microphone, but I recorded a ton of music. Even back in high school, when I had even worse equipment, I recorded an album.


Take a Minute to Celebrate Your Studio

It’s Independence Day here in the US.

That means lots of food, fireworks, and celebrating.

We have a lot to celebrate. I’m actually celebrating a few personal victories this month by buying a new guitar! (I’ll tell you all about her once she arrives.)

I’m immensely thankful that I live in the US, a land of freedom.

But I’m also immensely thankful that I live in the 21st century, a time of insane technological advances. For a minimal investment, normal folks like you and me can start making and recording great-sounding music.

And for that I’m stupid thankful. (more…)

Holiday Noise: A Christmas Collection

Holiday Noise: A Christmas Collection Cover Art.jpegIf you’re the kind of person who likes Christmas music, you should know about a fun Christmas album.

You may remember my friend Ben Gortmaker. He’s the guy who I interviewed on the podcast about his recently-released album, recorded and mixed completely in GarageBand.

Well, several years ago Ben wrangled up a bunch of independent Nashville artists to put together a compilation album of Christmas songs. Three albums later, Holiday Noise has gotten a lot of attention.

Now Ben has released a compilation “best of” album, featuring one song by yours truly (“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”).

These songs really are fantastic. I encourage you to check ’em out.

Check out Holiday Noise: A Christmas Compilation on iTunes and Bandcamp.

Merry Christmas!

The Battle of Technology vs. Good Music

I love technology. It is a beautiful thing. However, while there’s nothing wrong technology itself, we need to consider the role that technology should play in our lives.

I’m mainly referring to technology as it pertains to making music, particularly in the recording world. These days everybody and their dog can have a home recording studio. Don’t get me wrong, that can be an awesome thing. Thirty years ago it simply wasn’t possible to spend a couple hundred dollars and be able to make high-quality recordings at home. The technology wasn’t there.

Technological advancements of the last few decades have brought a new, massive percentage of the population into the world of studio recording. My life would certainly be dramatically different if I couldn’t record my music (and the music of others). Without the onset of new technology, the entire recording industry would consist of the select few who could drop $400,000 on a huge recording studio, fully equipped with analog tape machines and massive recording consoles.

Today an average Joe can pick up an interface and a microphone and do a lot of things the big analog studios of the past could do, and a lot of things they couldn’t!