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How Audio Engineers Survive in the Music Industry

Learn the pros and cons of pursuing a music career and what it’s like to be an Audio Engineer in Atlanta. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

A career in music can consist of many different pathways. A variety of different jobs make up the music industry, one of these being an audio engineer. When it comes to music, audio engineers make sure recording sessions go smoothly and work on the more technical aspects of music production.

“The first time I ever went to a professional studio, I was amazed by the engineer running the session,” Isaiah Silva, an Atlanta-based audio engineer, said. “I knew immediately I had to learn this stuff.”

However, a career in this field typically begins with many years of musical education, which includes knowledge of instruments, theory and other things music-related.

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“I started getting serious about guitar in the 6th grade [and] joined my first band in 7th grade, which was 2009,” Adam Dumas, an Atlanta-based producer, said. “I went to SAE Institute for audio engineering, but that was after 7 years of experience.”

 

For audio engineers, a career in music can bring a variety of advantages to them, such as being able to do what they love all the time. The job itself is making music and making it sound good, so engineers always get to fulfill their creative needs.

“I’ve been obsessed with creating since I was a kid, so, really, I love and need to be making things,” Dumas said.

A career in music can also provide many connections to people, and ultimately make great creative experiences for an aspiring musician.

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“You get the opportunity to connect with so many amazing creatives and make something that can really resonate with them,” Silva said. “Music is the universal language, and frequencies can truly heal people.”

Audio engineering and production also come with pitfalls that make it a difficult career in which to thrive. A musician never really knows when their career might fall off completely, which makes it a very unpredictable and competitive job.

“It may take a long time until you start making money; it is also an extremely competitive industry because everyone is trying to make music now,” Kenyatta Jones another Atlanta-based engineer, said.

The job is also underpaying and is full of criticism from others, making it difficult for a lot of people to maintain a long-lasting career.

“There’s going to be a lot of long nights and a lot of criticism, but if you can’t handle that, then this isn’t for you,” Silva said. “If you want to do this because of the money it’s also not for you. There will be times where it may seem like there’s no money in this career but that’s just part of the process, and you have to be ok with that.”

However, a career in music values originality. Audio engineers are focused and hard-working, which allows them to go further in their career and build relationships with people, building their clientele.

“I try to be irreplaceable,” Silva said. “People will value relationships more than money sometimes, so always try and maintain a good relationship with anyone you run into. Atlanta’s music industry seems huge but it’s much smaller than you think. Everyone knows the same people.”