I really can’t believe I’m writing this sentence, but… Offshoring has come to the indie music business.
Yes, just like globalized businesses everywhere, you can now hire people around the world to do session work, providing backing tracks for cheap. Leaving aside the various larger economic, artistic, and social questions this raises, let’s just look at the bottom line.
How could online recording sessions benefit the indie music business?
Session Musicians For Hire… Anywhere
One big problem for indie artists is the expenses involved in “filling out” your sound.
Want a set of backup singers doing Motown do-wops? That’ll run you thousands, at least, including studio time and equipment. Need some awesome synthesizer effects from an actual vintage Moog rather than an iPad emulation? You’re either buying one, or paying top price for an expert collector to play one.
Not everyone can do the stripped-down grunge thing and pull it off. (Over)Production seems to be coming back, and the artists that stand out are largely those who can afford a fuller sound.
Which is where online recording sessions come in.
In pretty much the same ways that things like website development or blog writing can be outsourced, now you can do the same thing with session musicians. Rather than paying top-dollar for RIAA-approved musicians, you can do it with non-union guys in Eastern Europe or just about anywhere else… just like budget-conscious symphonic composers were doing a decade ago.
As long as you provide the raw materials – MP3 demo, lyrics/chord sheets, etc – you can get a reasonably qualified studio musician for a few hundred dollars, rather than a few thousand. You send them the materials, then they record and send back their finished parts, ready to be mixed.
Should Your Recording Sessions Go Online?
It’s important to understand the fact that you get what you pay for: Don’t expect Grade-A work. However, for an up-and-coming artist, even having a B-grade backup group is probably better than no backup at all!
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