Monday, March 31, 2008

Do All New Mainstream Records Sound Alike?

Yes, according to this Word Magazine article:

No, it’s not you – records do all sound the same these days. Desperate to get their music on the radio at all costs, record labels are employing a new and powerful software to artificially sweeten it, polish it, make it “louder”… and squeeze out the last drops of its individuality.


When you turn on the radio, you might think music all sounds the same these days, then wonder if you’re just getting old. But you’re right, it does all sound the same. Every element of the recording process, from the first takes to the final tweaks, has been evolved with one simple aim: control. And that control often lies in the hands of a record company desperate to get their song on the radio. So they’ll encourage a controlled recording environment (slow, high-tech and using malleable digital effects). Every finished track is then coated in a thick layer of audio polish before being market-tested and despatched to a radio station, where further layers of polish are applied until the original recording is barely visible. That’s how you make a mainstream radio hit, and that’s what record labels want.
I'll post some further thoughts on this when I have more time later in the week.

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