Producing Good Music for Bad Singers


By Steve Oppenheimer

(June 2004)

One reason that choosing topics for EM stories is such a challenge is that our readers have such a diverse range of production experience and musical taste. In order to help as many electronic musicians as possible, we usually focus on genre-neutral, bread-and-butter subjects. For instance, in this issue we have Nick Peck’s “Making the Cut” about audio-editing techniques; Maureen Droney’s “Sweet and Low,” in which top producers discuss how they record electric bass; Brian Knave’s “Recording Musician” on mixing drums; and Kevin Smith’s “Desktop Musician,” which explains how to get your computer ready for service as a DAW.

Once in a while, though, we like to offer a story you probably didn’t anticipate. We have a good one this month with “CD+G=$,” in which author Will Connelly gives us the inside scoop on producing graphics-enhanced compact discs for karaoke.

Admittedly, karaoke production is an unusual field for many musicians. Most of us think of ourselves as original and creative artists, and karaoke is all about covering the hits. Besides, many karaoke singers are so bad that we’d rather listen to a catfight, and some musicians have a hard time accepting the idea of producing music for such a purpose. But a lot of people love to sing karaoke, and if you can make the right business connections and deliver the goods, producing the needed CD+G discs can be another modest revenue stream for your studio. So check it out; I assure you, reading the story is painless, and you will not be required to listen to bad singing!

In the “they come, they go, and the beat goes on” department, long-time associate editor David Rubin has left our staff and returned to the freelance life. David has been a linchpin of our team for the past seven years, and we hated to lose him. Ironically, you may see his byline in EM more than in the past because he now has more time to write articles.

Fortunately, we got lucky and were able to add not one but two outstanding new associate editors: Len Sasso and Rusty Cutchin. Len Sasso needs little introduction in these pages; his byline has appeared in more than 80 EM articles, mostly about products and techniques for desktop music production. It should be no surprise, then, that Len has taken over David Rubin’s “Desktop Musician” column.

Rusty Cutchin is also a familiar name to many in the music industry because he is a former editor of Home Recording magazine. Rusty is a fine writer and researcher who has a strong audio-engineering background and is equally at home recording with hardware and software.

I could not be more pleased with our two new “bandmates,” and I am confident that our readers will be just as delighted with the results.