Peter Gabriel on the industry’s future behind the music

The former frontman of Genesis talks about trustworthy filters, crowdsourcing, and why he would commission a show to replace The X Factor.

One manager told me that girls are more interested in the band on the cover than in the people who worked on a record when I wrote a blog post about the dearth of women in the music industry. That may not be totally accurate. I was one of those females, after all, who looked at the credits on every song and would frequently purchase records based on the producers or musicians listed there.

I was in the company of what I would regard to be British music production royalty on Tuesday at the APRS Fellowship awards. Legendary producers Steve Lillywhite, Robin Millar, Peter Gabriel, Trevor Horn, and George Martin, who produced the Beatles, were among those receiving honors. I was quite excited because they were all in charge of making my life’s soundtrack.

The record industry is in peril, as was mentioned early in the event. In the past few years, a number of storied studios have been forced to close. According to Metropolis Studios’ Katy Samwell, the majority of their clientele is American (Rhianna recently reserved several studios there). “UK labels have less budget to spend on studios,” she claims. Recording in a UK studio still costs the same as it did in 1972, even with modern equipment. They recorded albums in such a short amount of time since it cost a pound a minute back then. Certain individuals question whether professional studios are still necessary in light of the increasing affordability and portability of digital recording technologies.

Trevor Horn is certain that it exists. “The acoustics are what’s missing today,” remarks the album’s producer, Robbie Williams. “If you can’t hear what you’re listening to properly, or you can’t get a proper perspective of the sound, then you can’t push any boundaries – everything is destined to mediocrity.” It’s hard to argue against Horn when you listen to the amazing depth and space of his productions like Art of Noise, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Grace Jones, and Seal—records that sound as good now as they did when they were first recorded. Of course, Horn also uses strings, which need a large enough studio in order to record adequately.

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