Steve Albini is a rock producer most widely known for having produced Nirvana’s “In Utero.” The website for his studio, Electrical Audio, goes into impressive detail on the intricacies of the recording process.

This page on the Alcatraz room explains the benefits of a “dead” space and how to make one. There are diagrams, construction details, a 360 image, and more. It’s a great example of promoting by educating.

Clicking “membrane absorber” takes you to an even more in-depth page with hand-drawn diagrams:


There’s some great writing on the site too. Here’s a bit from the Control Room page.

The control room is designed to have minimal reflected energy, to provide uncolored sound from the loudspeakers. This type of listening environment is commonly called “once past the ears”, in acoustic geek circles, since the sound leaving the speakers goes once past the ears, then disappears. This provides accurate and even sound, which is great for studio monitoring, but not necessarily appropriate for dancing or making out. For these purposes we recommend the lounge or client offices.

Related: The Problem With Music is a famous rant about the economics of the music industry that Albini wrote years ago. It’s a bit dated now but there’s still plenty of meat there to chew on, especially the math breakdown at the end that reveals how a band can sell 250k records and still wind up broke.

The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 million dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month. The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. Since the previous one never “recouped,” the band will have no leverage, and will oblige. The next tour will be about the same, except the merchandising advance will have already been paid, and the band, strangely enough, won’t have earned any royalties from their T-shirts yet. Maybe the T-shirt guys have figured out how to count money like record company guys. Some of your friends are probably already this fucked.

There’s a lesson in the essay for anyone who’s counting on being “discovered” as their path to glory. When you pin your dreams on being lifted up by a major label (or, say, a VC if you’re a tech company), beware of the catch that often lurks in the fine print.