So we’re one week into the new year and some resolutions have come and gone. But one resolution we should all fight to keep this year is to get value from our gear. Whether it’s your current setup or gear you hope to purchase this year, make the commitment to squeeze every ounce of value and musical productivity out of your stuff as is humanly possible. That way your purchases can be justified and you’ll have more music to show for it.
Via 401(K) 2012 Flickr
How Much Music Did You Make With That Purchase?
So you know that shiny new piece of gear you picked up last year? Yeah that microphone, audio interface, preamp, set of monitors, computer, or plugin bundle that you simply had to have to make the music of your dreams. Well tell me this: how much music have you made with that gear? Have you made enough music to justify having it? If so, congrats! Keep up the great work and enjoy your gear. If you haven’t used that gear on at least 3 projects, then keep your wallet in your pocket and put the catalog down. You’re just getting warmed up so stop looking at other gear.
Since life goes by so fast, it’s all to easy to make a purchase and hardly get around to using it before we’re enticed to buy something new. So instead of measuring value of gear based on how long you’ve had it, measure it on the basis of how many projects you’ve completed with it. This could be an album, EP, or single. Doesn’t matter. Just track your value on the basis of use, not time. Otherwise we can make silly decisions like buying a new DAW because we’ve had our current one for 3 years, when maybe we’ve only recorded two albums on it.
Is There Anything In Your Studio You Can Sell?
I am such a firm believer that limitations lead to more productive and fruitful lives (both in and out of the studio), that when it comes to gear in my studio I am constantly looking to get rid of stuff. If there is some gear that I never seem to use anymore or has been replaced by something better suited for me, it’s time to kick it to the curb. It’s taking up not just physical space, but mental space (wondering if I should ever use it again) and financial space (redundant gear equals cash that I could have in my pocket).
So here’s something to consider this year. Right now survey your studio and see what you can sell. Throw it up on Ebay and be done with it. You don’t need to get top dollar for it, just make a few bucks and get it out. Then every 6 months from now repeat the process. You may have either accumulated stuff that you no longer need, or you may discover you’ve turned your back on a piece of gear. Don’t feel bad, just eject that sucker and get back to making music!
Stop Reading Up On New Gear
Every moment you spend reading up on a new piece of gear that in some alternate universe you COULD be using in your studio, is a moment you’re not ACTUALLY making music in your studio with your current gear. Such a sad waste. I fall prey to this so often that I have to slap myself to think clearly. Everyone studio person I’ve met is perpetually one piece of gear away from making pro recordings/mixes. What does that say about us?
It’s just human nature, we love to accumulate stuff. And we always believe that there is something else out there that could make us happier or give us better results. (On a side note this unfortunately happens far too often with relationships.) So by simply acknowledging our weakness, and confronting it with humility we can change our foolish ways and instead pour our time and attention to actually making great music with the gear we have.
It’s Your Money. Demand Value.
Remember, it’s your hard earned money at stake here. Make sure that when you do spend it, you squeeze value out of it. There’s nothing wrong with buying gear. There is, however, something very wrong about buying gear and not getting value for your dollar. Make the resolution to be different this year. Your music (and wallet) will thank you for it!
Image by Pictures Of Money