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Old sounds with new technologies? Examining the creative potential of guitar ‘profiling’ technology and the future of metal music from producers’ perspectives

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Innovations in music technology have the potential to change practices of music making and to contribute to the development of new forms of music. In 2011, a ‘profiling’ technology was released, capable of copying any valve guitar amplifier and shaping every detail of its sound. Many rock and metal guitarists and producers embraced this new technology, and the renowned producer Michael Wagener even claimed it to be ‘the biggest innovation for recording at least for the last fifteen years’. Building on an initial study on the quality and public reception of profiling technology in a metal music context, this article explores the attitudes of metal music producers towards new guitar amplification technologies, their uses thereof, and their conceptions of future music including the role of technological inventions. The findings indicate that although most producers experiment with modern technologies, they regard these as special effects or backup solutions. Traditional guitar sounds and engineering practices are still preferred, partly as a strategy to retain distinction between their established businesses and new enterprises. Developments in music technology are viewed sceptically regarding its positive contribution to future music.

Keywords: competition; democratization; electric guitar; future; metal industry; music producers; music technology; profiling technology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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  • Metal Music Studies is the journal of the International Society for Metal Music Studies.

    The aims of the journal are:
    • To provide an intellectual hub for the International Society of Metal Music Studies and a vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies;
    • To be the focus for research and theory in metal music studies – a multidisciplinary (and interdisciplinary) subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines, including (but not limited to) sociology, musicology, humanities, cultural studies, geography, philosophy, psychology, history, natural sciences;
    • To publish high-quality, world-class research, theory and shorter articles that cross over from the industry and the scene;
    • To be a world leader in interdisciplinary studies and be a unique resource for metal music studies.
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