With the proliferation of high speed broadband musicians are finding it’s now possible to contribute to each other’s recordings on a truly global scale…
Here’s the scenario – you live in St Petersburg and you’ve recorded a killer country song that is crying out for the weeping sounds of the pedal steel. You don’t know anybody who’s seen one, let alone can play one.
Five years ago you would have forgotten about it and got a guitar player to imitate the pedal steel part but, in these days of fast broadband connections and good digital home studios, you can call in a session steel player without having to relocate to Nashville.
Session Players Available at the Click of a Mouse
Do a search on the Net and you’ll find more than one player happy to do your session. Here’s how it normally works – email your track in mp3 form to your chosen player with as precise instructions as you can muster. If there are sections you’d like him to stay out of, or passages where you’d like him to put his foot to the floor tell him because you’re paying for it after all.
He’ll play along to your track in Pro Tools, Nuendo, whatever digital recording software he’s most comfortable with and he’ll email back the steel guitar tracks as .wav files or .aiff files of suitable resolution that can then be dropped into your song for the final mix. He (or she) will normally also provide a rough mix of the song in mp3 format so you know how the part is supposed to fit in. He should supply the tracks without effects so you’re not stuck with a particular reverb or delay when it comes time to do the final mix. Of course, the same basic principles apply whether you’re hiring a drummer, guitarist, piano player, string section or triangle master.
The Downside of Session Musicians by Email
Musicians in all countries, masters of many different instruments are beginning to work this way from time to time, but there is a downside. You, as the producer, don’t get to meet the player and control the session in real time so you need to be fairly certain that he’s the guy for your track before you start. Most will give some kind of warranty of satisfaction before you pay the full fee.
Transhemispherical Musical Collaboration
This kind of trans hemispherical collaboration is one of the truly great things brought about by the internet. It opens up the possibility of musical collaborators who never actually meet face to face to slog it out in rehearsal rooms and studios or go on tour but still make great records together. And it also helps you out if you’re a country songwriter in St Petersburg.