Traditionally recording studios have been thought of as a soundproofed complex with a live room (where instruments and vocals are performed), a vocal room (for lead vocal singing) and a control room (for recording, editing, mixing and mastering the sounds produced in the live and vocal rooms.) This view of a recording studio reached its heyday in the late 60s when stereo went mainstream with the introduction of FM car radios and home FM receivers and amplifiers (a stereo system) hitting the market. In 1979, FM radio overtook AM radio in audience size. It was peak record label time, and recording studios were in great demand for the next 15 years.
Then, several things happened. The home computer (personal computer) took off, the Internet was born, music distribution channels morphed and audio recording switched from analog to digital. Analog equipment was big, heavy and expensive. Gear was operated by physically turning knobs, not clicking a mouse. Common tools like compression and EQ used to be stand-alone hardware units, now they are either included in your DAW or available as a software plugin.
Digital audio has changed music forever. Now, gear and software are small, portable and comparably inexpensive. The tape machines, audio console, monitors, patch bays, etc. in an “old school” analog recording studio used to occupy a couple hundred square feet and cost a couple hundred thousand dollars (1990 dollars). In today’s digital world, everything you need to accomplish the same recording studio tasks can fit in a briefcase and cost you less than $5000 (2019 dollars). This accessibility has led to whole new genres of music—most obviously everything related to electronic music which in turn has spawned live DJs and electronic dance music.
In recent years these advances in digital audio technology have changed perceptions of what constitutes a recording studio.