I was recently at a store in New York City, getting a FireWire Drive for my Pro Tools system, and there was a guy in front of me trying to get a cheaper price on a 500-gig drive. It cost around $250 for a pro drive; he was saying, “can''t you do better on the price?” I said to myself, you can put ten full CDs on that drive! It brought back a studio story from 1988. . . .
I was working on a new album with Luther Vandross; I was doing the synth programming on the album. We had been at Right Track Studios in New York for around two months. Crazy stuff was going on, including a Broadway show next door where, when women saw Luther walk in the studio during “matinee day,” they would go crazy. Luther decided it was time to leave New York and finish and mix the album in L.A.
We had about 30 reels of analog tape. In 1988, a roll of tape at a top studio was about $250 per reel. They had to make safeties for every roll of tape. I figured it took two days to make all of the copies and get them ready to ship. The studio time was about $1,500 per day to copy. Then you had to ship 30 tapes to L.A. via overnight FedEx. When all was said and done, I figured that the whole process cost about $13,000. These days, you could have a great studio setup in your home for that amount of money, and you could also make an album for that. I interrupted the salesman and told them both the story. The guy looked at me and said, “I get the point; I''ll take the drive.”
Just an interesting story about how far this whole thing has come—for better or worse.
Grammy-winning producer, composer, and keyboardist Jason Miles has worked with Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Diana Krall, and hundreds of other artists. His new project, Global Noize: A Prayer For The Planet, will be released in July.