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John & Martina McBride’s Blackbird Studio Launches Music Education Platform

tazz | May 3, 2023

A decade ago, sound engineer John McBride and country music vocalist/five-time CMA Award winner Martina McBride launched Blackbird Academy — an educational extension of the couple’s Nashville recording studio, Blackbird Studio, that opened in 2002 and has since hosted artists including Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Queen, Kings of Leon and Keith Urban.

Now, the McBrides will further delve into offering accessible musical education via Inside Blackbird, a new subscription-based platform aimed at teaching viewers about the processes of recording, studio producing, songwriting and live sound/production. The series features more than 200 hours of content covering different aspects of the music industry, as well as exclusive interviews and educational videos featuring top-shelf producers, musicians and engineers.


In one video, producer Nathan Chapman (known for his early work with Swift) discusses comping vocals. In another, session player Tom Bukovac discusses building a song from start to finish, while in another, producer Dann Huff (known for his work with Urban, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton and more) discusses the delicate art of discussing ideas in a recording session. Another video features Young Thug producer Bainz as he discusses navigating a studio session.

New videos will added to the platform each week.

Other contributors to the platform include artists like Billy Corgan, Garth Brooks, Yelawolf, Aly+AJ, Vince Gill and Young the Giant, as well as producer Joe Chiccarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket), guitar legend Joe Bonamassa, producer/engineer Niko Bolas (Neil Young, KISS), vocal coach RAab Stevenson (Rihanna, SZA, Justin Timberlake), front of house engineer Dave Natale (The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Fleetwood Mac). The platform also offers tutorials on live sound, including motors, rigging, power distribution, consoles, monitor engineering and wireless audio.

“Anyone with an interest or curiosity about music will benefit from Inside Blackbird,” John McBride said in a statement. “Learn more about instruments, gear, plugins, the recording process and live touring from the best in the business. Find out how artists start their careers and what it takes to succeed. If we don’t have the answer, we know someone who does, and that is who you will find at Inside Blackbird.”

The Inside Blackbird platform is now available to users for $15.99 per month and to students for $9.99 per month. Further discounts are available through an annual subscription, while the Creator Plan offers users access to not only Inside Blackbird’s content but also KIT Plugins’ complete suite of audio tools released to date. This includes the historic Blackbird Studio emulations for $24.99 per month or an annual subscription of $249.90 (two months free). Any future Blackbird plugins will also be included in the plan as they are released.

Inside Blackbird has additionally partnered with Save the Music by donating an unspecified portion of each subscription to the organization.

See the trailer for Inside Blackbird below:

Written by tazz

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