After more than 30 years as a producer and engineer, Brad Wood wasn’t sure if he still had a future in music.
Wood, a classically trained saxophonist, had gotten his start in Chicago’s early ’90s music scene, helming breakthrough albums for Liz Phair and Veruca Salt, and platinum records for Smashing Pumpkins and Placebo. In 2000, he moved to Southern California, where he thrived for a time — and then merely survived, as the downloading era sank recording budgets just as the brand of guitar rock he specialized in lost cultural relevancy.
While many of his colleagues gave up, Wood kept going, working harder while earning less. “I probably got to the point where I was making the same rate as when I started,” he said.
Then, in 2021, an emergent technology ushered Wood — and thousands of recording professionals like him — into an unexpected boom time.