Rules for sharing music evolve with easy production access


Ian Feld, Staff Writer

A decade or two ago, publishing music was a practice reserved for artists signed to labels and those with enough money to buy expensive equipment and enough knowledge to create what they intended to.

Today, the scene looks quite different, and it has a lot to do with the wealth of options available to creators, allowing more people, especially in the younger generation, to get their foot in the door.

“Now more than ever, it’s crazy accessible,” Kevin Craig, sophomore, said on music making. “I can just pull out my phone and laptop and record a song and post it.”
Craig began writing music when he was 7 years old, but didn’t think of the impact he could make with it until recently.

“Music is great because of the message it can send,” Craig said. “I just want to get a message across.”

U. City alumni Jacob Giles is another artist who has used the advances in production and distribution to help pave the way for his future. A longtime guitarist, Giles began releasing his own original songs in his final year at U. City in 2018. Currently a freshman at the University of Louisville, he plans on majoring in classical guitar performance.

“You can just do it in your room on your phone without going to a recording studio,” Giles said of today’s methods of recording. “It may not be ideal, but it’s extremely accessible.”
All that accessibility has led to artists, especially young ones, gaining popularity among many people in many places.

“Making music used to be something where you either had to be popular enough to have the connections to get booked or have studio access, but with the internet today it’s easy to share stuff and gain an audience,” Marley Gardner, freshman, said.

Gardner is another example of someone who has begun to create music because of what’s available to the public.
“Having software like GarageBand has made a huge change for people looking to start their musical careers,” Gardner said. “It allows you to work on music solo without a producer or anything like that.”

Singer and songwriter Aliyah Mitchell, junior, started writing at age 10, but only started releasing music within the past year. Like many, she believes the advances in technology have made recording a simpler process.

“I find it really easy,” Mitchell said. “Usually my producers send me my tracks and I may have a song to go with it, or I’ll start a song from scratch. With the internet, it makes it much easier to finish songs without working directly with other people.”

Producers, like the ones Mitchell mentions, used to play an integral role in the production process, but because of the convenience of equipment and software, more and more people are learning how to make their music sound good on their own.

Zion Smith, sophomore, began writing and producing in the summer of 2017, and his efforts have landed him a cult following across multiple music sharing platforms. Smith doesn’t think success like his is attainable only for an elite few.

“Anybody can make music today,” Smith said. “Anybody can learn how to produce. There’s nothing special about what I’m doing.”

Smith believes that although it may take some skill and practice, creating a product you can be proud of is something that’s attainable for anyone with an interest in music.

“Music isn’t something that just comes to you,” Smith said. “It’s something you have to seek out.”

Beyond simply recording and producing, the meteoric rise of free platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube have made it possible for artists to distribute their work to a wide audience.
“Putting music online is helpful because now you can share it over the internet,” Giles said. “It’s a lot easier than handing out your CD mixtapes on the street and hoping you find an audience.”

With everything about creating and sharing music so easily accessible today, the only question is whether or not to start. All it takes is a willingness to put yourself out there.
“If you’re happy with what you can make, and it’s something you’re proud of,” Smith said. “Share it.”