The pro audio industry has changed out of all recognition over the last 10 years, no, make that 5 years, or is it 2 years? What ever timespan you consider, the changes are significant! It can be summed up by a phrase I've coined, the 'cottage-isation' of our industry, both in the music and post sectors. What I mean by this, is more and more people are working from home or in very small facilities working largely ‘in the box’ without the need for large format consoles, big rooms, large multi-room studio complexes and so on.
Take sound post production in a feature film for example. It is more than likely that, most if not all, the different stages of the post production workflow will be done by different individuals working from home, just take a look at the series we did a while back on Audio Post Production Workflows and most of this work was done in home based facilities. Working in the box also means we don’t need lots of expensive hardware to do what we can do. A computer with a reasonable monitoring environment and we can do almost everything. The term ‘bedroom boy’ is no longer valid as some kind of insult, this is the reality of the modern audio production industry.
What Is Behind This Cottage-isation Process?
Is it work/life balance or necessity? Is it being driven by the fact that we no longer need large studios full of expensive equipment anymore for a lot of what we do in both music and post? Or is it perhaps budgets, costs and overheads are the driving factor here?
Recently I read on someone's Facebook wall that after 20 years working in the pro audio sector they are leaving. The frustration of clients cancelling or deferring jobs especially in the last 12 months has pushed them to breaking point and they have had enough and they are leaving pro audio completely and going into another sector. This is some who has a long term and excellent track record, has moved with the times, and provided appropriate facilities to reflect the changes in our sector, but they have still been brought to breaking point. This is not the first story like this I have read recently.
How Are You Managing Change?
We would love to hear from you about your experiences of how you have had to adapt or not. Have you found that you have needed to diversify, or specialise? Have you had to expand into new facilities or bring your work back home. There is no doubt there isn't one answer, I know one person who is expanding into dedicated facilities and another that has closed their facility and brought the work home. So how do we survive, or better still, expand in this very fluid business? Please do share your thoughts and experiences...