A Studio of One’s Own: music production, technology and gender

Although the question of women’s minority status in music production has been raised in scholarship, it has not been accompanied by a detailed study of women working in the field. This article hopes to address this by examining the self-production practices of a study group of female artist-producers. The study is placed within a feminist framework and draws parallels between a feminist response, in the early part of the twentieth century to the woman novelist, who accesses available tools within a domestic environment to create literature, and a feminist reading today of the woman artist-producer, who accesses available technological tools in a domestic environment, to create and produce music.

What Studios Do

This essay is focused around a seemingly simple question – what do recording studios do? First, a clarification. I am not primarily asking “what are studios” or “what do people do in studios,” two comparatively straightforward questions that are tangentially addressed in academic and trade writing. Rather, I wish to consider some of the ways in which the studio itself shapes the kinds of social and musical performances and interactions that transpire within. I contend that studios must be understood simultaneously as acoustic environments, as meeting places, as container technologies, as a system of constraints on vision, sound and mobility, and as typologies that facilitate particular interactions between humans and nonhuman objects while structuring and maintaining power relations.