Studio Musicians – When Expensive is Cheap

Studio Musicians – When Expensive is Cheap

posted in: Business, Recording | 0

So it’s time to go into the studio again. Maybe for the next album, single or remix. One question to ask yourself is which musicians/singers you will use. Friend or professional? Where to find them?


The first thing to think about is the budget. There is no perfect budget and a lot can be done with limited means. However if you want the best producers and the finest studio a larger budget will be needed. With musicians it’s a little bit different which I will explain further down.

With your own studio you have one less expense to think about but never forget also to value your time. If you can opimize the time spent you can get on to next project or start selling that recording to get return on the investment. If you rent a studio time is even more important.

Using your friends

To use your friends for the recording can be tempting but make sure they are more than just friends. Using inexperienced musicians can actually be more expensive than using experienced ones. If you choose to use a friend it may also be a good idea to pay them. If they help you for free you may get trapped in not being able to put any pressure on them and the risk is you never finish your recording.

The benefit of using experienced musicians

I have been in situations both with experienced musicians and less experienced ones. What I have found out is that the amount of time spent can very extremely. Everything from a whole day for one track down to one to two hours for a full album with the whole band with really good musicians playing live together. So paying three to four times the amount per hour for experienced musicians may very well be worth it and actually cheaper in the end.

The second benefit with experienced musicians is that even after you have gotten your keeper on the first or second take the quality of sound, timing etc. will probably be much better than a recording made by more inexperienced musicians durng much longer time. So in the end you will spend much less time afterwards mixing and editing which will save you studio time too.

Good musician or good Studio Musician?

Another thing I have noticed is that being a good musician is not enough. It’s advisable that your musicians have spent hours in the studio, not only done live performances. Recording is very different. We once recorded a violinist doing her last year in music university. She was a very good musician playing in the orchestra but had no studio experience. The recording was more or less unusuable. When playing live appearance, feeling and attitude are good to have and can get someone very far but in the studio every tiny thing is heard like timing, intonation, ability to follow a metronome or keeping the tempo and small mistakes.

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