O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

The Music Producer’s Survival Guide, 2nd Edition

Book Description

A music-career book like no other, The Music Producer’s Survival Guide offers a wide-ranging, exploratory, yet refreshing down-to-earth take on living the life of the independent electronic music producer. If you are an intellectually curious musician/producer eager to make your mark in today’s technologically advanced music business, you’re in for a treat.

This new edition includes industry and technological updates, additional interviews, and tips about personal finances, income, and budgets. In this friendly, philosophical take on the art and science of music production, veteran producer, engineer, and teacher Brian Jackson shares clear, practical advice about shaping your own career in today’s computer-centric "home-studio" music world. You’ll cover music technology, philosophy of music production, career planning, networking, craft and creativity, the DIY ethos, lifestyle considerations, and much more. Brian’s thoughtful approach will teach you to integrate your creative passion, your lifestyle, and your technical know-how. The Music Producer’s Survival Guide is the first music-production book to consider the influence of complexity studies and chaos theory on music-making and career development. It focuses on practicality while traversing a wide spectrum of topics, including essential creative process techniques, the TR-808, the proliferation of presets, the butterfly effect, granular synthesis, harmonic ratios, altered states, fractal patterns, the dynamics of genre evolution, and much more. Carving out your niche in music today is an invigorating challenge that will test all your skills and capacities.

Learn to survive—and thrive—as a creative-technical professional in today’s music business, with the help of Brian Jackson and The Music Producer’s Survival Guide!

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Preface to the Second Edition
  8. Preface to the First Edition (Revised)
  9. Introduction
    1. DIY.Independent.Electronic.Music.Producer
    2. What Is the Goal of This Book?
    3. How Is This Book Structured?
    4. What This Book Is Not
    5. Whom Is This Book For?
    6. Can I Get a Venn Diagram?
    7. DIY
    8. Independent (Indie)
    9. Electronic Music (EM)
    10. A Few Words on Major Labels and the Corporate Media Business
    11. Magic Might Make Machine Mechanism, Moegen Macht
    12. Welcome to the Future
    13. The Accidental Producer
    14. Faster, Smaller, Cheaper … Easier?
    15. From Musician to Producer: An Author’s Version
    16. One Thing Leads to Another: Positive Chaos
  10. Chapter 1: Musica Universalis
    1. Music Is Universal
    2. Music Is Diverse
    3. Music Is Technological
    4. Music Is Personal
    5. Music Is Vital
    6. Music Is Fundamental
    7. Nature Is Musical
    8. Music Is Mathematical
    9. Music Is Evolving
      1. Music’s Evolution Is Chaotic
    10. Basic Dynamics of Genre Evolution
      1. Baker’s Transformation
    11. The Technology
    12. “Nothing Sounds Quite Like an 808”
    13. Arthur Baker’s Baker’s Transformation
    14. A Very Brief Intro to the History of Electronic Music
      1. EM’s Two Timbral Sources
      2. Source 1: Sound Reproduction
      3. Source 2: Sound Synthesis
    15. Independent Label Pioneers
      1. Jamaica, U.K., and New York
      2. American Punk, Metal, and Aggressive or Alternative Rock Styles
      3. Various Styles of Adventurous Rock, Underground Metal, and Industrial-Related Genres From Germany, U.K., U.S., and Canada
      4. Electronic Music Labels From US, Canada, Germany, and U.K.
    16. Music Is Cybernetic
    17. Cadence
  11. Chapter 2: Plot Point on the Space-Time Continuum
    1. Putting Things in Perspective
    2. Music Is More Than the Recording Industry
      1. Yo Ho Ho, and a Bottle of Rum
    3. Context Is Everything
      1. History … zzZzz … What’s in It for Me?
    4. A (Very Incomplete) Brief History of Everything
      1. Epoch 1: Back in the Day
      2. Epoch 2: Recent History
      3. Epoch 3: The 20th Century
      4. Epoch 4: The New Millennium
    5. Where Are We Now?
      1. Era 1: Local and Exclusive (? to 1877)
      2. Era 2: Transmission and Storage (1888 to 2000)
      3. Era 3: Global Information Networks (2001 to 2029[?])
      4. Era 4: Biotechnology Network Integration? (2029[?] to ?)
    6. What Goes Around Comes Around
      1. Industry Expansion and Limited Access to Technology
      2. Industry Contraction and Expanded Access to Technology
    7. A Parallel Teachable Moment From Recent History
    8. Where Is the RIAA’s Equivalent of Deep Blue?
      1. Gains From Complexification
      2. Losses From Complexification
    9. The Argument for the Industry
      1. Technology
      2. Economics
    10. The Industry’s Weak Argument
      1. P2P and CD Sales (Correlation Does Not Imply Causation)
      2. Other Factors
    11. The Argument for Self-Destruction
    12. RIAA Failures + Apple Computer = Apple, Inc.
    13. Emergence of the “Celestial Jukebox”
    14. What Is a “Producer”?
      1. The “Classic” Record Producer
      2. DIY/Independent Music/Producers
      3. Electronic Music Producer
    15. What Does “Professional” Mean?
    16. Aspiring Pro, Semi-Pro, or Serious Hobbyist
    17. Last Refrain
  12. Chapter 3: What Is Your Plan?
    1. Did You Choose This, or Did It Choose You?
      1. Sense of Direction
      2. The Butterfly Effect
    2. Patience and Persistence
      1. Luck, Talent, Preparation, Opportunity, and Success
    3. Defining Your Goals
    4. Brainstorming
    5. Developing a Plan
      1. Possible Pieces of the Planning Puzzle
      2. Are You Already a Pro or Skilled in Something?
      3. Are You Just Getting Started (or Starting Over)?
      4. School
      5. Personalized Training
      6. Learning on the Job
      7. Moving
      8. Backup Plans Versus Alternate Paths
    6. Be Flexible
    7. Some Considerations, Strategies, and Options
      1. Technology and the Internet
      2. Before Skills Pay the Bills
      3. Paying the Bills With Your Skills
    8. Getting Paid
      1. You Are Your Business
      2. Advances
      3. Residual Income Is Awesome
    9. Personal Finances
    10. Be Involved
    11. Thoughts on Partnerships and Collaborations
    12. Planning Your Artistic Musical Identity
    13. Outro
  13. Chapter 4: Master Your Craft
    1. Multiple Intelligences and So-Called “Styles” of Learning
    2. Stages of Learning
    3. Developing and Integrating Specializations
    4. The Big Four Production Holons
      1. Music
      2. Sound Design
      3. Tools/DAW
      4. Audio Engineering
    5. Skills Does Not a Skill Set Make
    6. Workflow: Putting It All Together
      1. The Concretization of Potential
      2. From Start to Finish
    7. Learning Strategies
      1. Identifying Strengths
      2. Identifying Weaknesses
      3. Learning Sessions
    8. Outro
  14. Chapter 5: The Social Scene
    1. Scenes and Communities
    2. Networking 101
    3. The Cast of Characters
      1. Connectors
      2. Mavens
      3. Salesmen
    4. Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies
      1. Vampires
      2. Werewolves
      3. Zombies
      4. Implications
    5. Final Thoughts, Tips, and Strategies
      1. Scarcity Is Often an Illusion, Especially in the Realms of Cultural Currency
      2. Respect Others Dedicated to Their Craft Especially Veterans and Even Has-Beens
      3. What If You Really Don’t Like Networking but You Know You Need to Do It?
      4. Tips for Newbies on Interacting With Successful Artists
    6. Outro
  15. Chapter 6: Producer Tips
    1. Keys to Success
      1. Plan and Prepare
      2. Create a Budget
    2. Time Management
      1. Separate Sessions
      2. Keep Things Moving Forward
    3. Working with Others
      1. (Social) Psychology
    4. Knowledge Is Power
    5. Communication
    6. Presets: Data Mining or Time-Saving Sound Designing?
      1. The Yamaha DX7, Suspect Zero
      2. Presets, Complexification, and Proliferation
      3. Presets: Synths and Sample-Based Instruments
    7. Good File Management = Saved From Destruction
    8. Saving, Backing Up, and Archiving
      1. What’s in a Name?
      2. Saving, Exporting, Rendering, Bouncing, Printing
      3. Backing Up
      4. Archiving
      5. Transferring
    9. Upgrades and Updates
      1. Never Upgrade in the Middle of a Project!
      2. Synths, Samplers, and Sound Modules/ROMplers
    10. Things You Should Know
      1. Listen
      2. Avoid Distractions When Working
      3. If It’s Not Broken
      4. Less Is More
      5. Bass
      6. Sound Selection and Voicing
      7. Watch Your Levels
      8. The Art of Analysis
      9. Tips and Tricks on the Internet
      10. Regular Practice and Maintenance
    11. Outro
  16. Chapter 7: Creative Process
    1. There Is Nothing That Is Not Creative
      1. Unlimited Creativity, Limited Relevance
      2. Integration of Art and Science
    2. In the Beginning
      1. Gravity, Stars, Supernovae, and Black Holes
    3. Being Creative
      1. Influences and Originality
      2. Stages of Creative Process
    4. Defining Boundaries and Priorities
      1. Intentions and Mis-takes
    5. Methods, Practices, and Techniques
      1. Let Your Subconscious Do the Work
    6. Isolation, Quiet, Focus, Clarity
      1. The Sounds of Silence
      2. Meditation
    7. Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness (NOSC)
      1. Low to Moderate Risk
      2. Moderate to High Risk
    8. 20th Century Innovations
      1. Dada and the “Cut-Up”
      2. Surrealism and the Unconscious
      3. Assemblage and Bricolage
      4. Music Concrète
      5. Tape Music
      6. Aleatory Processes
      7. DUB, DUb, Dub, dub
    9. Practical Techniques
      1. Generate, Sift, Edit
      2. Jam Sessions
      3. Knob Twiddling
      4. Generative Approach
      5. Audio Processing
      6. Time Stretching
      7. Granular Synthesis and Resynthesis
      8. It Slices, It Dices
    10. Not So Random …
      1. Define Limitations
      2. “Bad” Cover Version
      3. Fake Score
      4. Play the Fool
      5. Daily Practice
    11. Time Limits, Deadlines, Pressure
    12. Creative Blocks
    13. When the Thrill Is Gone: Completing Ideas
    14. Outro
  17. Chapter 8: Selecting Your Tools
    1. Tools
    2. Creativity and Tools
    3. Users and Designers
    4. Users Influencing Designers That Influence Users That …
      1. Moog
      2. Roll Your Own
    5. Tools of the Trade
    6. Analog and Digital, Hardware and Software
    7. Hardware
      1. Computer
      2. Audio Interface
      3. Instruments
      4. Speakers and Headphones
      5. Acoustics
      6. Microphones
      7. Preamps, Channel Strips, and Other Outboard Gear
      8. Mixer, Monitoring, Control Room
      9. Furniture
      10. Necessary Accessories
    8. Software
    9. The Digital Audio Workstation
      1. Basic Considerations
      2. Specific Considerations
    10. Selecting Your DAW
      1. Avid Pro Tools
      2. Apple Logic
      3. Ableton Live
      4. A Few Other Considerations
    11. Subjective Terms and Hype Words
    12. Listening Decisions and A/B Comparisons
    13. Your Setup
    14. Using Software Without a License
      1. Bits Want to Travel
      2. The Facts of the Matter
      3. Why You Should Care Even If You Are Broke
      4. Early in Your Career and Implications for Later On
    15. Ways to Legally Get Your Software Cheap or Free
    16. Outro
  18. Chapter 9: Lifestyle Tips
    1. Trust Me: I’m an Engineer
    2. A Fish Doesn’t Know It Is Wet
    3. Vital Holons Versus Sex, Drugs, Rock N’ Roll
      1. Faster and Faster
      2. Balance
      3. Not Unlike a House of Cards
    4. Protect Your Hearing!!!
      1. The Science (In Brief)
      2. Earplugs: Get to Know Them Well
      3. Earbuds and Headphones
    5. Avoid RSI at All Costs
      1. What Are the Symptoms?
    6. How to Avoid RSI
      1. Ergonomics and Good Posture
      2. Breaks
      3. Follow The Four Pillars of Health
    7. The Four Pillars of Health
      1. (Alternative) Medicine
      2. The Ambient Temperature of Your Mood
    8. Diet
      1. Your Diet
      2. What to Minimize: A Short List
      3. What to Maximize: A Short List
    9. Exercise
      1. Yoga
      2. Martial Arts
      3. Pilates
      4. Whole Body Vibration (WBV)
    10. Rest and Relaxation
      1. Sleep Aids
      2. Breathe
    11. Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)
    12. Set and Setting
    13. Pick Your Friends With Care
    14. Why Is Good Music So Often in Shady Places?
      1. The Leading Edge of Gentrification
    15. This Is Your Brain On…
    16. Last Call
  19. Chapter 10: Dénouement
    1. The Producer’s Mindset
      1. #Trending
      2. Like a Flock of Birds
    2. There Is Always More
    3. Finale
  20. Chapter 11: Interviews
    1. Motivations and Perspectives
    2. Hank Shocklee
      1. The Interview
    3. Hillary Johnson (Earthlight Room, Avatar Studios)
      1. The Interview
    4. John Jansen (UNH/SAE)
      1. The Interview
    5. Laura Escudé (Alluxe/Electronic Creatives)
      1. The Interview
    6. Stanley Jungleib (Seer Systems, Sequential Circuits)
      1. The Interview
    7. Eric Hoegemeyer (Rust Belt/Tree Laboratory)
      1. The Interview
    8. Jason Drummond (DJ Spun/Rong Music)
      1. The Interview
  21. Appendix A: Chaos Theory and Complexity Studies Primer
    1. Complexity Studies
    2. Systems Theory
    3. Cybernetics
    4. Emergence
    5. Bifurcation Theory
    6. Set Theory
    7. L-systems
    8. Chaos Theory
    9. Order Out of Chaos
    10. Fractal Geometry
    11. Self-Similarity
  22. Index