Amped blogger Rob James discusses the chances of making a top 10 hit in the bedroom, is it possible to record, produce and licence a song which is ready for the top 10 inside your own room?
More and more people are now able to make music in their bedroom; access to low cost digital recording equipment, the promotional power of Youtube, and the availability of editing software can be combined with digital keyboards and other instruments to create songs that can be distributed online. However, is it possible to actually make a top 10 hit in your bedroom, and what other processes are involved?
In terms of setting up a home studio, most bedrooms can support a computer set up with standalone speakers and cabling - musicians can use in-ear headphones to get the best isolated sounds for their recording, and can also make use of foldable microphone stands and external hard drives to build up an extensive library of samples. Space for a digital keyboard or guitar also means that a single bedroom can become a functioning mini studio.
Anyone using pianos and other digital keyboard instruments can get a decent recording level by placing one microphone over the middle C key, or by using direct in if the option is available. Software like ProTools LE, Cubase LE, Garage Band for Mac, Reaper, and Ardour, also enable users to put together tracks with complex layering and mixing effects, while quality digital keyboards can be used as synthesizers to create orchestral and other styles for recording tracks.
This music can then be uploaded to the Internet via YouTube, SoundCloud, and other sites. Many musicians adopt this route as an alternative to the expenses of a studio, while others prefer the isolation and the comfort of working in their rooms, rather than having to commute back and forth to a studio. Tim Jonze has discussed how more musicians are now able to seek out isolation and relative anonymity when recording and releasing their music; while demonstrating the potential of the Internet for releasing recordings, there is also a danger of musicians losing a sense of connection to others.
However, can you actually produce hit music from your bedroom? Well, it is possible, even if the final version that actually breaks the top 10 isn't exactly the same version. With online streaming and YouTube now being factored into charts, a relatively obscure artist can achieve fame without going through the usual processes. Some musicians, most notably Little Boots, can turn their bedroom recordings into fully fledged studio labels.
There is an argument to be made, though, that while hit records can start in a bedroom, they do need to go through a lot of other stages if they are going to be true hits - this means getting licensing deals, and performers building up their audience live; while this may not be as important in the future, for now at least, the bedroom studio is a useful tool for a musician that wants to experiment and record outside of the usual channels.
For example, Goyte's 'Somebody That I Used to Know' originated in his bedroom studio, before being expanded and remixed for wide distribution. Most tracks consequently need some extra push from a label if they are going to break out from this initial stage.
Rob thinks more people should look around a musical instruments shop and find an instrument to play. Being able to play different instruments is key to understanding putting a great track together.
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