Back in June 2016, we asked you to tell us what kind of Pro Tools user you are and it was clear there were more professionals working at home. Two years later we asked you the same question and we can now compare the results of the poll we took in 2016 and the poll we took in 2018.
Pro Tools User By Type
What About Commerical Facilities, Has Anything Changed?
More than half of those still working in commercial facilities indicated that they were working in post-production with 16% telling us that you make a living from Pro Tools back in 2016 compared with 19% now in 2018. Moving onto commercial music studios, in 2016, 13% of you told us that you were now making a living from recording and mixing music in a commercial facility compared to 11% now in 2018.
The Move To Home-Based Working
Back in 2016, we said that the trend perhaps reflected the huge change in budgets available for music and post-production, now being a fraction of what they were over a decade ago. Add to that, many professionals simply do not have the money to invest in equipment and to maintain the overhead of a large studio.
Roll back even earlier to the 1980s, what started as a recording revolution to encourage hobbyists to record from home created an entirely new generation of recording professionals who start and maintain a career in audio at a fraction of what it used to cost, all from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
As we saw in 2016, this revolution has also had a significant impact on the number of people that responded as 'semi-pro', who were perhaps trying to build a full-time career in pro audio whilst augmenting their income in other ways - this too would have been largely impossible without the home-studio revolution as the only option then was to own or work in a commercial facility.
What Has Changed In The Last Two Years?
So what changes have we seen in the last two years? As we have already mentioned, the trend away from the number of Pro Tools professionals working in music studios has dropped from 13% to 11%. In post-production, the trend has gone the other way going up from 16% in 2016 to 19% in 2018.
Home-Based Pro Tools Users
What of the home-based Pro Tools users, how have their fortunes changed over the last two years? We have seen the number of professional Pro Tools users in the post-production sector, working at home, increase from 10.5% in 2016 to 12.5% in 2018. We also see a similar trend in professional Pro Tools users working from home in the music sector rising from 17% in 2016 to 22% in 2018. There is no doubt then that the cottage-isation of our industry continues to develop in both the post and music sectors of our industry.
For more on the pros and cons of working from home check out our article Run A Recording Studio Business From Home Or Rent A Premise – Which is Right?
What do I mean by cottage-isation?
It's a phrase I coined back in 2015. The industrial revolution that began in the 18th century started, when the production of things like cotton thread and woven products moved from the parlour in an artisan's cottage to a large factory. This resulted in a much-increased output as well as a significant reduction in costs, with the benefits of mass production.
What these polls show is the inverse of that process. 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 - the cottage-isation of our industry. You can read more about Cottage-isation in our article How Do We Survive In The Changing World Of Pro Audio?
What About Hobbyist And Semi-Pro Users?
Coming back to our two polls. What is interesting is that both the number of hobbyists and semi-pro Pro Tools users has declined over the last two years in both the music and post sectors as you can see in this chart...
Pro Tools User By Type
It is not clear why this might be. It could be that people who were semi-pro Pro Tools users working at home in 2016 are now full-time professional Pro Tools users working from home in 2018.
Alternatively, the decline could be semi-pro and hobbyists changing from Pro Tools to another DAW like Studio One or Logic Pro. What do think? It would be great to hear from those of you that selected semi-pro or hobbyist in 2016 what you are doing now.