Music contributed a staggering £4.1 billion to the UK economy in 2015. Over the past 4 years the UK music industry outperformed the UK economy in terms of economic growth, with Britain continuing to dominate global music charts, bringing with it both economic rewards and cultural power to the United Kingdom. The UK music industry is booming and while record sales have slipped slightly against audio streaming figures, the overall popularity of British music is still enjoying a steady increase.

While the UK boasts many longstanding musical icons such as Paul McCartney and even Adele, there are many with all the makings of a superstar, should their talent be honed. One Direction may have shot to stardom thanks to The X Factor UK but they have nonetheless reiterated the notion that young artists have the ability to outsell and outperform their older counterparts as long as they have the right guidance. Artists who aren’t reality stars seemingly have a harder time establishing careers for themselves with many not even being able to afford  the services of a professional recording studio. Luckily there are many alternate avenues to explore, such as recording at home and gigging at local venues to get their music heard.

Pros of a Professional Recording Studio 

The biggest advantage of using a recording studio is that it’s professional. Recording at a pro studio will give you access to people who know the ins and outs of the music production business. They know all the tricks to get your songs sounding great and are even able to fix any flat notes and questionable guitar riffs. The quality and quantity of the recording equipment available at a professional studio is always impressive. Such a studio can offer everything from professional microphones to processors, limiters, compressors, EQ’s and effects, all which can make a significant difference in your recording.

Cons of a Professional Recording Studio

The biggest issue especially young musicians has with a pro recording studio is the exorbitant rates. Higher-level studios charge as much as £100 per hour and taking into consideration that it can take anywhere from 50 to 300 hours to complete an album you are left with a sickening bill to pay at the end of the recording process.  Most young musicians are on a tight budget meaning that they cannot afford to spend any time in the studio formulating ideas and strategies. It will simply be too expensive.

Pros of a Home recording studio

Anyone with a computer access to a suitable audio interface is able to record at home. Even if you don’t have money for recording software all hope is not lost as there are recording programs that can be downloaded from the internet completely free of charge.  While the saying ‘time is money’ is extremely relevant when it comes to a professional recording studio the same does not apply when you record at home. Recording at home allows you to take as much time as needed which is of great benefit to those starting out, who wants to try out different ideas and concepts without being worried about having to pay for studio time.

Cons of a Home recording studio 

The greatest drawback of recording at home is a lack of knowledge and experience.  Both of these can pose huge problems when trying to record your album at home.  There is a lot of work and technique involved in recording, mixing and mastering to get a sound of professional quality and unfortunately that is not something that can simply be achieved overnight. The equipment available at a professional studio is very expensive and there is simply no way you will be able to reproduce the quality of sound with your own –free-to-download software and £5 microphone.

Whether you decide to record in a professional studio or at home is ultimately up to you. Even if you can afford to have your album professionally produced, it can’t do you any harm to learn the ins and outs of the recording process yourself. Knowledge is power and the more you can learn about the music industry, the greater your chances of becoming one of its countless success stories.

Best of both worlds

To really move your studio craft and recording techniques forward, try to find ways to observe and learn from those with more experience from you in professional settings. Have you emailed producers/engineers that you admire to see if you can help them out or observe how they work? Are you being creative about the ways in which you can learn outside of recording at home, so when you do come to making music in your bedroom, you’re already a step ahead?

– Freelance contributor Sally Writes, edited by Wired4Music

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