No. Not really. I wouldn’t say popularity. Textbook definition of ‘popularity’ would be a state of being liked, supported, and admired. Popularity in this case is basically a measure of respect for someones skill. Not a measure of their ability to monetize the skill. Someone can be highly popular, and exceptionally skilled, but if their credentials (say their recent number of media base credits) aren’t current enough, the market value of their services starts to drop. So take a guy who’s activity in the commercial market is completely dormant, but everyone still loves him because he’s so respectable and talented. In this case, the Grammy/Billboard credentials are the difference between being skilled and popular vs being able to actually demand $3500 to mix one song.
I think that’s going to be a tough argument to defend for a couple of reasons. Here’s why I think that: money and market. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on what we are conditioned to perceive as the top echelon of pop music (Gaga, Beiber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Adele). The decision making process on how that money gets spent has a huge impact on who gets chosen to manage these projects. Executive producers assemble the absolute top teir of talent they can find. No corners get cut, and no compromises are made in the process. When the project is mixed, the production and mixes are so heavily combed over and reviewed by layers of personal before a release, that people who lack either the gear or expertise to execute a project at that standard get shit-canned long before stuff ever reaches the distribution level. I assure you from having been a small part of these processes at times, that a guy mixing on headphones in his bedroom will not EVER be entrusted with this kind of cash investment. Not in music, not in film, not in gaming, not in broadcast. I just doesn’t happen.
Yes and yes to both. But look at where are here and now in 2018. Songs that push a billion plus plays on youtube are delivered at a nearly flawless standard. We can say that in hind site about tracks in the past, but I feel its debatable if the logic still applies. The day may come where we have headphones that speaker technology that enables someone to achieve this from a living room in a mobile home, but not all commercially released mixes are the same. The award winner tracks that pass the billion mark in streaming plays always have top notch engineering. The investors (record labels) that front the money for this stuff can demand standard from the producers and mix engineers now more than ever.
That was why I challenged @bozmillar, @takka360, and Michelle @FluteCafe to show me an actual example of a track that pulled this off. The guy that Boz mentioned (Andrew Putney) really did pull off a work of genius here, but it that mix was never intended to be a competitor in the US mainstream market. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely am curious to see this happen. And I want to know when it does as I think it will signal a definitive change in the world of music and technology as we know it. Believe me, I’m in no way ‘anti-small-studio’. I’m a huge fan of the home based workflow. I just don’t believe the domesticated studio technology can quite reached that level, regardless of the engineers skill.