Electronic music isn’t all about EDM these days. While it’s still one of the most popular genres and a mainstay on the pop charts, there are literally hundreds of subgenres that have popped up that are completely synth-based in nature. Artists are creating an unprecedented amount of synthesizer music in every corner of the industry – creating new niches and filling them with an avid community of listeners constantly.
A lot of this has to do with the incredible advances in nearly everything tied to music. In this post, I want to dive into just a few of the ways that growth is happening for synthesizer music genres and where we can expect it to go from here…
Consumers Becoming Creators
For many, the desire to become an artist is there, even as a technical person. Many coders, developers, and PC builders want to have an artistic outlet of their own beyond their work… Enter synthesizer music.
With synths, there’s very little music ability required to get started. You don’t need to know music theory to get started (even though it can help). You don’t need the experience of picking up an instrument or hours of lessons and rehearsals. You just need a computer and some music creation software.
Just like mixing has shifted to a heavily in-the-box process, writing music and creating synthesized soundscapes can be done right inside your DAW. We’re seeing this huge community of creators appear as the cost of DAWs get less expensive and are able to run on smaller machines.
Creatives no longer need a studio to work in – they just need a laptop (or phone, or tablet), some headphones, and a good synth. Between online courses, instant downloads & a plethora of online reviews and product-specific tutorials, it’s easier than even for a listener to become an artist with synthesized music.
The New Synthesizer Hardware
Synthesizer hardware has always been a bit of an interesting niche within the music industry. Dating back to the 70s and 80s, synths were much like computers – huge pieces of machinery that took up whole rooms. They were temperamental and required as much technical knowledge as they did music composition knowledge.
Today, music manufacturers are starting to realize that people want affordable, customizable synth options. Rather than putting out elaborate workstations geared toward composers, the shift has been toward inexpensive modular options where a “collector” can build out their perfect, custom setup. A great example of this is the growth of Eurorack synths – a hardware format that started out strong with a DIY community and is now seeing such explosive growth that the biggest names in traditional keyboard hardware are throwing their hats in the ring and expanding the options available even further.
While nearly every other aspect of the traditional, hardware-based studio setup seems to be getting replaced with in-the-box solutions, Eurorack and other small-format synths are booming. Often, these units have the same benefits as their digital counterparts when it comes to musical proficiency – you’re less likely to see a keyboard in the majority of setups, but a step sequencer and arpeggiator are often at the core of these systems providing a sense of musicality to those that want to focus on tone and timbre more than notes.
The Opportunity In Synthesizer Music
If you’re somebody coming from a musical or studio background, the opportunity to make synth music a viable career option has never been better. While many of these new creators consider themselves hobbyists, they’re looking to the pros for guidance and inspiration. For us, that means a massive untapped audience of listeners looking for specific sounds that match their goals.
We said that entry to this niche is easy – but doing it the right way is tough. If you can find a niche that fits your style, what are you waiting for? Pick up a clean and powerful synth like Sub Destroyer, spend some time learning how synthesis works, and start making some music!
The Production Spectrum
Everyone falls somewhere in their technical proficiency in the studio, but that shouldn’t limit you from learning more. Whether you’re someone who’s just getting started and needs some basic mixing advice or someone that’s been making music for years, having a set of resources is imperative to growth within this industry.
Come see what JST VIP can offer music creators of any level today. For the beginners out there, we’ve got tutorials teaching you how to use plugins the right way. For those with a bit more experience, our courses offer more advanced, instrument-specific techniques. Regardless of your level, we offer mix critiques where I’ll tell you exactly what’s working in your mixes and where you should be spending your time to improve your sound.