Politics and economics are well beyond the scope of this site and ridiculously far out of my area of expertise. But at what point does economic confidence start to impact music technology? That’s a question I know colleagues and industry figures are starting to wonder about. Here is an entirely non-scientific “temperature test” — even if these feelings may shift over time. Feel free to answer from wherever you live in the world.

[Direct poll link, in case the embed isn’t working]

  • I don't actually spend much on music tech, since my favorite tool, Csound, is free. However, I was hoping to eventually get a Moog Voyager. And that's probably been pushed back at least a couple of years.

  • Well I was already saving money and avoiding stuff so I can actually use the gear I have. But im still scanning craigslist for desperate ex bear sterns employees gear dumps 😀

  • Well, of course, this is just one question. Music making is free, but healthy music making (particularly with technology) is dependent on people having good, stable jobs, health care, and the like. So naturally the issue of whether people are buying new synths and such aside, we also care very deeply about whether people's livelihoods are healthy, because good economies are generally good for musicians (as many other sectors.)

  • synthetic

    Hardware is probably a better investment than software, since you can always sell it if times get really tough.

  • mountebank

    I personally think that it is time to max out the credit cards and keep your fingers x. I'm holding out for the government buying all my bad debt.

  • imakenoise

    Well im off to buy Ableton Live 7 tomorrow so i guess im doing alright.

  • Mattbot

    I just bought a load of gear while I still can, in case the company I work for goes under. At least I'll have something to do.

  • jason_md2020

    Well, my space for a studio is rather small, so if want new gear, I generally sell something older to make space, and or get funds for what ever it is.

    When it comes to gearlust I try to keep a sense of balance.

  • bliss
  • bliss

    @ mountebank

    Maxing out credit cards on gold and silver coins is a good idea. That is if you can find a dealer that isn't short of supply. Paying interest on appreciable assets makes good sense in times like these.

    Just a tip.

  • Adrian Anders

    I was already hurting for cash even before the crisis. Now at least I can be trendy with my paupery.

  • Bob

    yup, with money about to loose all value, tis best to spend now while your savings still mean something

  • I don't really spend much money on music gear, because most of my rig is software-based these days. Things have changed dramatically since the hardware frenzy of the mid-1980s, thank goodness.

  • CollinMel

    One could always stock up on electronics parts, build up a nice palette for building analog synths, midi gear what have you. The price of a Little Phatty could likely set up a damn fine workshop.
    Plus – handmade originals can sell for impressive sums on the international market.

  • I will learn how to build stuff in Reaktor that emulates the hardware I want.

  • J. Phoenix

    There is a side-benefit to the economic crunch, which is that if you have resources available, equipment on the aftermarket side can become quite cheap to purchase as people reevaluate their priorities.
    Of course, that's assuming you have the resources ready to buy it from those who have to sell their gear.

    Negative side? Well, using credit to make purchases probably not going to work out so well.

    Secondary is that I suspect many recording studios are going to go under as musicians turn to home recording rather than book time.

    My last comment is that we creative types should hang in there–entertainment remained at a premium during the Great Depression, because people needed something to take their minds off reality.

  • llamasinspace

    Not really economically speaking, but I am starting to take a more serious look at gear's cost/benefit ratio as the prices of some things are crazy inflated now (look at the insane premiums on all things Virus).

    The new DSI mopho (on order) seems to deliver a lot of fun for a small price, though I have a hard time pulling the trigger on something like a Voyager… or a Machinedrum, which I think I'd really like.

    To be honest, my waiting on the MD is mostly me waiting on the Linndrum II, which I suspect since they aren't leaking much info with regards to timetable/cost, may end up with me buying the MD.

    The weak dollar, however, royally sucks which is another reason to want to buy US-made gear.

    Hopefully various shops do take notice and learn they can perhaps make more money with a bit more volume and a bit less markup in the current economic situation.

  • I've started to ebay all the gear i have collecting dust, to pay off the credit card and be debt free… at least for this month…

    i really hate gearlust…

  • cubestar

    My biggest musical investment in history is going to be a MOTU Ultralite.

    (I'm waiting for the holiday sales)
    I'm not well to do at all, but I figure you've gotta have something happy to hold onto during the hard times and music fills that niche for me.

    If things get terrible, we can still make concerts for each other from junkyard pieces, like that amazing band from Africa.

  • Michael Pearson

    I just bought Garritan Personal Orchestra and a JBL EON10g2.

    So, no. Being an IT professional in a stable company in Australia helps, too.

  • not that I personally endorse this philosophy but a buddy of mine was attempting to persuade me that NOW is the time to run up as much debt as possible.

    The idea being that the coming double digit inflation will effectively reduce the value of the money you have borrowed … possibly making it easier to pay off.

    'Course something doesn't add up there 🙂

    which is why I haven't maxed out the visa buying all that kick-awesome Apogee gear.

  • Ha! Now that's an interesting theory. It'd work, except —

    Inflation will increase all your *other* costs, AND

    your interest rates are likely to go UP, not down.

    I'll be frank here. I don't think the music tech/instrument industry benefits from people buying on credit they don't have, not if it wants to be around for the long haul. The credit market we're talking about in the larger US and global economy is much larger than your Visa bill, but it is at the same time a reflection of the same basic problem. What this industry ideally wants is people earning more money and investing more of that money they earn on tools. We hear a lot about "consumer confidence," but artificial consumer confidence isn't healthy, a least not beyond the short term. People finding a good balance between spending and saving is good for any sector in the long haul.

    That said, yes, I expect in any economy you have some people who are stable — and for musicians and composers likewise dependent on that same economy, you expect to rely on that to get through leaner times.

  • MonksDream

    When I read the title of this post my immediate thought was "Like they don't already?". I have the best disincentive to indulging gear lust: a wife and kids. I save for my gear and never buy it on credit. I guess I'll just be saving longer. On the other hand, the prices are likely to come down. Here in Canada we haven't been hit as hard as you have south of the 49th…yet.

  • My studio is pretty much at a point that I am happy with so no big purchases on the horizon for me at the moment except a pc upgrade next year, but I am going to wait and see what happens.

    The one side that does worry me slightly is that I do sell quite a few albums and my sample library 'electronic critters' has been doing ok, but I expect it to tail off as times get tougher.

    I am just glad I didn't make the choice to do this full time and still have a decent job, so the music making "business" is just a profitable hobby at the moment. I did consider making it a full time thing, but glad I didn't.


  • Stang

    I've always spent my money on gear, and am not about to stop now unless war breaks out in the streets.

  • lematt

    in france it's difficult to find a "real" job anyway. so starving or starving ? i chose starving, the odd jobs and music making.

    i don't spend that much in music, and i already bought max/msp. so i'm safe !

  • michael

    The reason why "US-made gear" is still reasonably priced is because it's made in asia and they use USD to trade commodities and electronic components. As soon as they decide that USD is no longer a good thing everything will be as expensive as Virus synths for you guys.

    /European 🙂

  • badburt

    "Never spend money you don't have", is my Dad's maxim and, too be fair, I think there's a lot of truth to it. The whole set of problems we're facing now is due to a credit crunch, you can't spend what you don't have without it coming back to bite you on the arse at a later date.
    The banks have been far too quick to give out loans and have totally forgotten the true purpose of what they're there for, i.e. for people to save their money. There needs to be a complete shift of thinking generally away from loans and credit back to saving. If anything this crisis has proved that beyond all doubt.

  • "Stang says….

    I’ve always spent my money on gear, and am not about to stop now unless war breaks out in the streets."

    I'm with Stang – except I want to start war in the streets with all the gear I've got!


  • Paul

    What lematt said, except I don't live in France. Still, the principle is the same.

  • Robbo

    I'm still ready to get iklax creator Pro that should be out by the end of october… must have in the new era of music.

  • Actually I read something a while back (I have no idea what or where so it is quite possibly a complete load of bollocks) saying that historically musicians do well in hard times like depression/war etc – people need cheering up. I think we are at a point where you can make decent music cheaply, and many of us have already made a lot of our purchases. Whether gear gets cheaper etc I have no idea! Nice idea though, the first impulse is to freak out over all the hype, thinking 'if it's hard now being a musician/audio guy then how will it be if things get really tough?' so there is something comforting to think it could be a boom time for musos!
    The other side to that is I am already well used to living cheaply and I have no debt at all so I think learning through my muso's lifestyle that it is possible to live on very littlemay well have been the best possible preparation for this kind of situation – I may not even notice! 😉

  • The fundamentals of my studio are strong.

  • foosnark wins Best Comment Award.

  • Paul Norheim

    I`m very pessimistic regarding the global economy, but optimistic on behalf of those who play instruments and make music. For many of us, the coming years may represent an opportunity to become more familiar with the gear we actually own, exploring the possibilities as well as challenging the limits.

    And that`s a good thing.

  • Neil

    I won't buy mp3 because I have all of them already 😉 but maybe in other format like the one from TronMe I like to play music and video in an interactive way.

  • bliss


    foosnark for President!

  • poorsod

    Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

    That is all.

  • I AM ZOG.

    Please use your brains. The sky is not falling.

  • General Earmuffs

    Perhaps people will find new ways of getting the best out of the equiptment they've already got and we might see a boom in new ideas. Alternatively people might find new ideas elsewhere i.e from old toys and homemade instruments.

    Recession always seems to have a postive effect on creativity.

  • thesimplicity

    My company just laid off most of it's associates (several hundred in one morning)… I made the cut, but this is just 'Round One.' I have a feeling I won't have a job by the end of the year. Before this summer, I was pretty much on track to buying new studio monitors and an Aspire One (for perfomances). Now I'm so worried about keeping up with my student loans that I'm actually reevaluate my studio and throwing anything I don't use on eBay.

    I guess it just depends on where you live and what field you're in.

  • calyx

    In Australia here, the dollar's just plummeted against overseas currencies, especially the USD, because of all the economic kerfuffle. So seeing as almost any decent gear comes from overseas… yes it impacts on me. But I don't spend what I don't have, and my income is unlikely to be affected by any downturn.