How Pro Tools Changed Music

Published: 15th October 2010
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Pro Tools has totally revolutionized modern music production. Before Pro Tools came around if one wanted to change a piece of music you would literally have to slice a piece of tape with a razor, move it and replace it again. This was the standard practice. In fact it was a necessary skill to learn if you wanted to become a sound engineer. There were simply no colleges to learn it from in those days. You had to apprentice with an older, more experienced engineer who would guide you and show you the ropes. After a few years of this you would finally be allowed to touch a mixing desk or piece of gear like a tape deck. It was considered an honor and a privilege to do so.

It also made sense financially. Equipment in those days so expensive that if someone was careless and broke a machine, the studio could easily be a few tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. So they had to make sure that only the most well trained and experienced people operated the machines and equipment. It all relied on tubes, tape and massive old analog circuits that were incredibly time consuming and expensive to manufacture and very heavy to ship. All these factors combined to make the recording studio an extremely expensive place to be as a musician.

This is where the now standard practice of record companies lending bands money came from. They could never afford studio time so the record label would loan it to the band up front and hopefully recoup their cash investment from the profits of the eventual CD sales. This was a pretty risky venture for record labels seeing as though most bands never sold more than a few thousand discs.

These days that has all changed. On the gear front, almost any band can afford a Pro Tools Mbox Mini system and a few microphones. And the editing side is completely effortless too with the digital editing tools like the scissor and hand tool in Pro Tools. These days anyone who has an inclination to make music can do so with relative ease.

This has created a massive glut of new music being made. This means new musicians have way more competition than ever before. On the other hand however, the old production and distribution channels have mostly died thanks to the internet. New aspiring musicians with talent are getting out there and making a name for themselves every single day. If you're talented and have a good product, with a little bit of hustle and grind you can create a career for yourself and have a worldwide following without the help of a record label. That has never been the case before in the history of mankind.

So next time you boot up your Pro Tools system, do not take it for granted.

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