Music recording

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected music recording?

When all kinds of live musical performances are shut down in the face of a global pandemic, what happens to the environment where songs and sounds are created for posterity – namely, the recording studio?

For Duane Lundy, Lexington’s versatile producer, engineer, mixer and studio head, making music in a COVID-19 world has taken two paths.

“Well, there’s ‘How I thought it would affect me’ and ‘How it affected me’,” said the owner of the Lexington Recording Company, known for several years as Shangri-La Productions. As the operator of his own studio, Lundy has overseen the recordings of a myriad of local artists (Justin Wells, Abby Hamilton), national artists (Miles Nielsen, Joe Pug) and some hybrids of the two (Vandaveer , Horse Feathers).

“I was halfway through a few projects and then finished a few more,” Lundy said. “Being an engineer and a producer obviously put most things to a standstill. So there was a small bump in the road. At one point I thought, “Uh oh, that’s gonna be a real problem. There have been a few weeks of uncertainty and I guess there is still a little bit of it all the time in the music industry.

“But my gig, basically, is a top-down situation where I’m involved in the entire recording scenario. Lucky for me, when I started out, I learned from a few great mixers how to mix my own projects. So by the time this happened, I was able to finish some projects in completion mode using my mixing skills. Then I was lucky enough to get other offers from people I hadn’t produced who wanted me to mix their material, so I stayed busy.

Duane Lundy of Lexington, owner of The Lexington Recording Company, says his knowledge of mixing has kept him busy during the COVID pandemic. Sam mallon [email protected]

The music mixing offered another advantage in terms of logistics and distance. Since many of his studio clients are from outside central Kentucky, Lundy used to mix without the artists being in the studio with him.

“Artists are rare here. About 80 percent of my work is done with artists who are not from this region and, in some cases, not from this country. Mixing has therefore been one of the advantages of the digital world. We are able to transfer files and projects from one location to another without any physical transfer. I love when the artist is here, but it’s not always a viable situation. I work to keep them very involved at every step of my mixing, but without them necessarily being there.

However, the realities of the COVID environment are still being felt, especially since the world of recorded music and live performance are so closely linked. Lundy said the pandemic highlighted long-standing flaws in a music industry business model that requires an artist to make a recording and then tour to promote it. Touring also happens to be the main source of income for artists and, in turn, the means of paying for a record to be made in the first place.

“When the relaxing part of the situation we are in right now arrives and / or when there is some sort of resolution, artists won’t have time to record because they have to go out and win,” he said. said Lundy. “Contrary to how I think a lot of people may think of creatives (artists), I find them to be some of the best small and medium business owners around. They are very familiar with their financial scenario and how their infrastructure is going to operate. So one of my hopes was that there would be a call for the material to be finished or at least moving now so that when everything calms down they would have their material recorded and ready even if it wasn’t. immediate to go out. It would be something that would come out maybe six or nine months, a year, two years later. They would post material because they would be back in income producing mode. So I fit into the storyline by trying to facilitate that and finish a project as they prepare to come away to win. “

As with many aspects of the pandemic and their effects on all forms of trade, there is uncertainty. In a business model where artists receive a meager reward for recorded work, difficulties are inevitable.

“It definitely points an arrow to the most vulnerable parts of the industry – in any industry, really. It’s a unique situation we’re seeing now. If you’re not physically able to sell, play. or make your burgers or whatever you create, if you can’t do it then you can’t win.

“It’s a shame the way the music industry is organized in this regard. There are areas where people listen to music, whether it’s in a movie, commercial, TV show, through a streaming service, or on your turntable. Someone should pay for this stuff. There is an incredibly disproportionate relationship between the people who make the music and the amount of money they make from it. It’s sad. This should have been a time when musicians in particular, even of average height, should be able to see, at a minimum, a trickle of what’s going on in their accounts. Artists see less than pennies on the dollar entering for the material they paid to have made, for which they have spent their lives perfecting their craft.

“My great fear that emerges is that there is no correction of payment, of equitable resources allocated to the intellectual property and material that these artists produce. It is a delicate land mine for an industry.

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