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Studio Album

A studio album is an album of audio recordings made up of tracks recorded in a recording studio. A studio album contains newly written and recorded or previously unreleased or remixed material, distinguishing itself from a compilation or reissue album of previously recorded material, or live recording made at a performance venue. A studio album is usually planned and scheduled in advance, and may take anywhere from a few days to more than a year to complete. Some studio albums may include one or more covers, occasionally as live tracks within the studio album. Studio albums may also feature guest performers or session musicians that would not usually perform live with the artist. A studio album may also be released or rereleased years after it has been recorded, or even posthumously, containing material recorded before the death of the artist. The majority of studio albums contain an abundance of editing, sound effects, voice adjustments, etc.


With modern recording technology, musicians can be recorded in separate rooms or at separate times while listening to the other parts using headphones; with each part recorded as a separate track. With a theoretically infinite number of tracks available with many modern computer and hard disk based recording systems (the only limit being processing power and size of the recording medium), one song can consist of hundreds of recorded tracks, employing dozens of overdubs and complex layering of instruments. This allows studio albums to be considerably more complex than live albums, and can potentially be compiled of 'perfect' takes of the same part.

Although studio albums can be recorded using large multitrack systems with many overdubs and different takes of the same instrument, many albums are still recorded live by the musician(s), in order to reproduce the feel and energy of a live performance. Often basic parts such as drums and rhythm guitar will be recorded live, then overdubs such as solos and vocals recorded later. Studio albums are often recorded, mixed and mastered at different facilities, often due to touring restrictions and time constraints of the artist or financial considerations.

A studio album will often consist of songs which will be played in a different order live, or in some cases rarely or never played at all after the album or its accompanying tour. Concept albums and rock operas, such as those by Pink Floyd, are often played in their entirety live, usually in the same order as the album, and featuring the same instrumentation (and even the same sound effects) in the album's accompanying tour. Though studio albums may not include singles released at the same time, the single is usually one of the album's songs, and is meant to promote sales of the album as well as the single itself.

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