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The Rise of Bedroom Producers

The Rise of Bedroom Producers

The rise of bedroom producers has made the role of the producer more important than ever. With accessible music production software, anyone can become a producer, but only best producers can bring a unique vision to create technically and creatively exceptional music. How did bedroom producers take over the music industry? And how can you become a bedroom producer? Find out more about the rise of bedroom producers and the creative process behind music production.

The Rise of Bedroom Producers: Producer Erectus

George Martin - Rise of Bedroom Producers

The role of the music producer has seen an incredible revolution from its beginnings.
In the 1940s, the music industry was just starting with Les Paul experimenting and developing multi-track recordings with 4 to 8 tracks. This was a game changer which opened up new avenues for recording music.

Although, since the technology at the time was costly and available only to a few, the first record producers were most of the time record label owners, artist managers or audio engineers. Their role was mainly “technical” overlooking aspects such as microphone placement and signal levels as well as ensuring proper recording levels.

It was only in the 1960s and 1970s that producers began to take a more active role in shaping the sound of the recordings and having a more “hands-on” approach. Producers like George Martin, Alan Parsons, Tony Visconti, Eddie Kramer, and Brian Eno began to take a more active role in the creative process. Sometimes, the producer was also a band member or had previously played in bands such as Brian Eno (keyboard player) in Roxy Music. Everything was open to experimentation, from arrangement to new sounds and much more!

The Rise of Bedroom Producers: Producer Sapiens


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Fast forward to the 1980s and 1990s, the role of the producer continued to evolve with the rise of synths, drum machines and electronic music. Producers like Nile Rodgers, Quincy Jones, Rick Rubin and Timbaland began to use electronic instruments and techniques into their recordings, creating new and innovative sounds. Also, in 1982 the Commodore 64 was launched which made computers much more capable of recording music building on a technology which already in 1951 could recreate “music” (The oldest known recording is of a computer playing God Save The Queen).

We can easily say that advances in technology and the ever-shifting role of producers have always gone hand in hand. As new and affordable technology came about, producers started to have more accessibility to gear which was unthinkable just a few decades before.

The first Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) were developed in the late 70s/early 80s by Soundstream. The challenge was finding inexpensive storage and fast enough processing and disk speeds, which was resolved as home computers like Apple, Atari, and Commodore Amiga became popular. However, the high cost of storage made this equipment inaccessible to most people.

Step into the remarkable Winter NAMM of 1983, where the Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 and Roland Jupiter-6 created a mesmerizing duet. Amidst the awe-inspiring performance, MIDI emerged as the game-changer, granting the possibility to use multiple electronic instruments at the same time!

In the following years, the development of more powerful computers and new technology such  music software were the stepping stones for the rise of the bedroom producer!

The Rise of Bedroom Producers: Producer Sapiens Sapiens

the rise of bedroom producers

In the early 1990s, Steinberg released its DAW; Cubase Audio and in 1996 Steinberg invented the VST (Virtual Software instrument) and remodelled the Cubase interface to emulate a full hardware recording environment. DAWs today are inexpensive, and most bedroom producers use them to create their music.

Already in the early 1990s bedroom producers were dabbling in recording music but it’s also important to remember that home studios were very common among hobbyists using tape to record.

Subsequently, the growth of western economies also allowed for computers to become continuously more accessible and user-friendly! From computers, recording gear followed suit.

Cheaper and cheaper gear was being made, and tested, but especially pushed to limits which had never been seen before. From the 2010s onwards this trend kept growing exponentially and anyone with a small budget and lots of creativity could start producing their music, cutting out big record labels, crazy studio hire fees and even musicians.

Computers became what the producer was in the early days – an all-in-one tool capable of creating music in the blink of an eye. New music styles started to become more widespread such as lo-fi beats, ambient music, trap and many more… creativity at its maximum peak of expression.

From laptops to smartphones, anyone with a device and an internet connection is now able to record and produce music, podcasts, and other types of content. As a result, the barriers to entry for aspiring artists and producers have been lowered, democratizing the recording industry and making it more inclusive and diverse.


The Rise of Bedroom producers:
From the bedroom to the charts

How can we define a bedroom producer? Does it require to have a bed? or some grungy wallpapers? Would a closet with a microphone inside be enough to define someone as a “bedroom producer”?
One size doesn’t fit all, however, we can try to get as close as possible in “defining” a bedroom producer.

A bedroom producer is someone who creates music in their own home studio, typically using a computer, software (VST’s, DAW’s), and other digital equipment. Unlike traditional producers who work in professional recording studios, bedroom producers have the freedom to work on their music whenever they want and can experiment with different sounds and techniques without worrying about time constraints or studio fees. Bedroom producers may also collaborate with other musicians remotely, using online tools to share files and work on music together.

What sets a bedroom producer apart is their ability to create professional-quality music from the comfort of their own home, using readily available technology and their own creativity.

Bedroom producing is not to be seen as a downgrade from a “traditional studio“. The rise of bedroom producers has also been significantly brought on by success stories such as
Steve Lacy (Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar), Nosaj Thing (Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Chance The Rapper), Flume, Finneas (Billie Eilish), Skrillex just to name a few.

These producers have shown in the last few years remarkable sound quality and an amazing ability in bringing music to life with a fraction of the equipment used in a high-end studio.

Bon Iver’s first record “For Emma, Forever Ago” was recorded by band leader Justin Vernon in his father’s cabin during a harsh winter. In 2020, the record was listed on Rolling Stones as one of the greatest albums of all time.


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The Rise of Bedroom producers: Essential gear

Is there a secret formula in becoming a bedroom producers? or some hidden secret for the rise of bedroom producers? Well, there are many elements to analyse in order to understanding how to produce a great song such as gear, technical aspects and creative aspects.

When producing your own song all of these elements are highly important as changing just one of them can create a completely different sound.

No matter if you already produce your own music or if you are just starting out, the essential gear remains the same for everyone: a computer (laptop or desktop), a digital audio workstation, audio interface, studio monitors, a microphone, XLR & jack cables, studio headphones, MIDI keyboard and some VST’s.

There are so many options available in each of these categories and what you choose will depend on the genre as well. Always try out things with your ears and in your own studio as the room your in can affect your sound.

Some bedroom producers prefer mixing up digital elements with analog instruments such as pianos, guitars, drum machines. Others prefer adding more MIDI controllers to be able to manipulate more parameters in their DAWs like the Arturia Beatstep Pro. Maybe drum loops are more of your thing and going for a Novation Launchpad Mini MK3 can simplify the process of creating sequences. It’s not uncommon to see bedroom producers using their smartphones to record or create a rough draft.

Sampling is your friend

Most bedroom producers prefer using samples over digital MIDI instruments as they capture the warmth of high-quality classic recordings. Sampling has so many different faces, some of the main ways of obtaining samples is through sample packs, online sound libraries, through YouTube, field recording or vinyl sampling.

Sample packs can be downloaded online and are filled with single hits of hi-hats, bass drums, snares, and more, giving creativity to design one’s drum kit and melody by pairing unique elements together. Another way of getting samples online is through sound libraries such as Splice, Freesound or Artlist.

YouTube is a platform that is dominated by music, and it offers a range of audio options, from jazz solos to movie dialogue. Field recording allows the capture of unique sounds for music, which can be manipulated into new, atypical sounds. Each method has its rewards and requires dedication, but they all offer an explorative and rewarding experience.

Vinyl sampling is a classic method that beat-maker pros have used for years, and it’s still being used today. While this classic approach is much more time-consuming than surfing the internet and using a free sample pack with pre-cut samples, it’s feels so rewarding and exposes you to a plethora of music. There are several record players today that are built so you can rip the audio to your laptop.

So many hip-hop, trap and rap artists have incorporated samples using this method – sometimes the sample has been used so well that people often think that the song doesn’t have any type of sampling!

Drake’s colossal 2015 single caused some controversy in the Hip Hip world for its similarity to DRAM’s ‘Cha Cha’ but few people will recognise the actual sample used throughout. The song ‘Hotline Bling’ samples Timmy Thomas’ ‘Why Can’t We Live Together


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The 808 & 909 sound

Today, producers have such a pletora of sounds that it can be easy to get lost picking the right one for your song! Between loops, VST’s, hardware synths where do you actually start? It’s undeniable that the rise of bedroom producers has definitely been defined by the “808 Sound“.

The Roland TR-808 is a legendary drum machine that has played a vital role in shaping modern music since its debut in 1980. The 808’s distinct sound comes from its analog synthesis, which generates its drum sounds using a combination of analog oscillators, filters, and envelope generators.

One of the most famous uses of the 808 is in Marvin Gaye’s hit song “Sexual Healing.” The 808’s deep bass drum sound provides the backbone of the track, while its snappy snare and hi-hat sounds give the song a crisp, polished feel. Another classic example of the 808’s sound can be found in Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock.” The track’s distinctive electro-funk beat is built around the 808’s claps, cowbells, and toms.

In recent years, the 808 has made a comeback in the world of trap music. Producers like Metro Boomin and Sonny Digital have made the 808 a staple of their sound, using it to create the heavy, distorted basslines that define the genre. Songs like “Mask Off” by Future and “Bad and Boujee” by Migos feature the 808’s signature sound prominently.

However, let’s not forget the Roland TR-909! The 909 is another iconic drum machine that has had a significant impact on music production. Released in 1983 as the successor to the TR-808, the 909 expanded on the capabilities of its predecessor and introduced new sounds that became widely influential. The 909 was the first drum machine to use samples for some sounds, and the first with MIDI functionality, allowing it to synchronize with other device. A famous track where the 909 has been used is the house hit “Show me Love” by Robin S.

In conclusion, both the Roland TR-909 and Roland TR-808 are more than just drum machines. They are cultural icons that have helped shape the sound of popular music for over 40 years. From classic hits to modern trap anthems, passing through techno and disco, the 808’s and 909’s influence are undeniable. Why not add them to your gear? Both the Roland TR-808 and Roland TR-909 are available as a virtual instruments which makes it so easy to integrate them in your tracks!


Do you produce your own music? Are you a bedroom producer? And are you ready for #beatmaking week? Leave us a comment and keep your eyes peeled for exciting news and opportunities 🙂

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