eventually allowed people to record music at home. Artists were thinking if I spend
100,000 on MIDI equipment in my home I could create five albums for that money as
opposed to taking money from a record label and wait to pay that off before my first royalty
check. So the studios lost the business and I saw that. Then I moved from mixing music
into mixing audio post in the 1980s and I saw the same MIDI-like thing happening again to
audio post in the early 2000’s.”
I asked about the status of studios and Bill says, “They’re shrinking or subdividing. For
instance, in New York City it is down to two or three rooms where you can record a
Broadway cast. The other studios went out of business or they took those big rooms and
subdivided into three rooms and charge a third of the rate.” It is reminiscent of cinema
multiplexing. Bill agrees, “That’s exactly it. They have to keep all of those rooms working in
multiple shifts and yet they can’t get enough work because they’re charging too much per
hour. You can call it bottom feeding or what you want. I’m just going there and picking it
off and I’m not playing by the old rules. I’m making new ones up. It’s like the old armies.
They’d point their guns at one another and fire. I’m one of those guys that hides in the
trees and shoots the general.” Cavanaugh is armed with flexible system he created that
allows him to be highly competitive, creative and actively engaged with his work.
Invention, Adaptation And Affirmation
Bill’s Invention of a portable sound mixing system was clearly a way to get ahead of a
collapsing industry and he had the foresight to see it coming early. “I thought, I’m going to
get on the front side of the curve and use the technology this time rather than letting it
overrun me. I was a little early to market and clients were still in the mindset of I really want
to be in a studio but we can’t afford it. They treated it like a bargain basement kind of thing
and said you can’t really charge us if you’re not in a studio. I said, ‘no you’re getting the
same mixer, the same mix, the same software, you’re getting everything except you’re not
doing to pay $16,000 for a show you are going to pay $4,000. All of a sudden I’m
working the same show on a desktop system instead of a studio a show like ‘Biography.’
At that point they had worked the studios down to editing, mixing, building the whole thing
and recording the talent for less and less. If I was going to record the talent I’d go rent a
studio, record the talent bring the file back and then do the mix in my home. When the
mix was ready to go let’s say an A & E program, I would go to the A & E headquarters ––
and we would do a final review of the mix.”
The positive affirmation for Bill is that he’s working when most studio engineers are
suffering. To this day, he was a forerunner and one of the first to create a system that is
portable, affordable, and created a whole new business model for mixing. He comments,
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