The subject itself has also changed a lot since 2002. I used to spend hours cutting a splicing tape and twiddling knobs on my synthesisers, always with a recorder ready to go in case I got something good while it was ‘alive’ or before the synth drifted off never to return to that exact sound. When digital came we were presented with oodles of data storage alongside instruments which appeared with huge numbers of ready made preset sounds (perfectly recallable and repeatable), So the musician spent much time trawling trough this huge list auditioning each one only to rarely find that sound that fitted the job in hand perfectly. You invariably found that most sounds were useless for your purpose. At the time the best and most versatile sounds were used by everyone else! Recent trends have extended that idea much further. Now you can select not just sounds for your master work but whole samples of grooves, riffs, solos, you name it all recorded by top session people in good studios. You can simply assemble them, layer them, and even pitch shift them to suit. Brilliant! Anyone can now put a backing track together to sing over on a laptop or tablet. The down side is of course, is it’s all played by someone else in someone else’s style and can easily turn out clinical and shallowly slick. So what exactly are you expressing doing this? I have to say it’s not often I find listing to a singer with backing track anywhere near as good as the gelling of a live band even if the musicianship it not technically as good. Modern software recording also makes it very pretty easy to execute hundreds of edits from many performance takes. This can also produce a really slick often superhuman performance. This not limited to the pop world either. A famous classical musician is reported to have said on listening to the highly edited playback of his concerto performance... “ Wow!.. that’s brilliant.... I wish I could play like that!” The downside is the humanity and emotional continuity can so easily be edited out too. If 100 edits are needed for a passage then maybe it’s time to think again what you are trying to achieve. Too often it is forgotten that minor errors and mistakes are what makes us human and adds to the feeling, humanity and richness of music. A producer that sits with a score ticking off every minor diversion, minor error, to be re-done and re-done again until ‘perfection’ is achieved or an engineer who spends hours and hours getting a drum kit to sound ‘just right’ are in my view wasting everyone’s time.
Recording equipment has been revolutionised. Much of the exotic bulky recording gear you’d find in a well equipped studio now can exist in software form on a laptop or tablet. It’s often of good quality and maintenance free. The only things missing might be stuff like good mics., suitable room acoustics and, you never know, maybe the skill to know how to use all this well. Back in the day a record deal was the only way most could afford to book a good engineer at a top class studio. You had to convince someone influential you were worth backing either by live performance or a good basic demo tape. Not easy. It’s all different now. You can, if you wish, bypass this path and upload your songs straight from your laptop to an on-line store and you are in business. The trouble is, because it’s so easy and convenient, ten million other people are doing exactly the same so you have to do something that will grab the attention and appeal to the masses, which is what big businesses are rich and expert enough to do. If you have any integrity, you are certainly up against it. Uploading, however, certainly is a very good thing for the music web sites..