Recording studios as museums? Record producers’ perspectives on German rock studios and accounts of their heritage practices

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Over the last decade, research around heritage has flourished in popular music studies. Work has explored music museums (Baker, Istvandity & Nowak 2016), grassroots activism and online documentary of heritage objects (Bennett & Strong 2018), DIY music preservation (Baker 2016), community archives (Flinn 2007) and ‘heritage rock’ (Bennett 2009). Yet, as Bennett and Janssen (2017) have recently pointed out, the technological side of music making has received relatively little attention. Recording studios are shrouded in mystery. Some have become sites of pilgrimage; other studios have been converted into heritage museums. These practices are driven by city authorities, commercial heritage institutions or music fans. This interview study gives a voice to an understudied group, record producers and studio owners as the people in charge of popular music creation. Three German rock and metal producers expressed their opinion on the usefulness of studio museums. Their insights demystify the ‘magical aura’ associated with recording studios, picturing these spaces as places of pressure and anxiety. Hardly convinced of the technologically deterministic ‘magical contamination’ of technical equipment, the producers see little sense in studios as museums. For them, the released record is what counts. Instead, they use social media to stay in touch with the community and to keep the memory of their work alive.
Period13 Mar 2021
Event titleTransformational POP: Transitions, Breaks, and Crises in Popular Music (Studies): 4th Biannual Conference of IASPM D-A-CH
Event typeConference
Conference number4
LocationPaderborn, Germany, North Rhine-WestphaliaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational