sr1200

Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« on: January 10, 2012, 04:29:54 PM »
OK, so this past year has been quite a quirky ride for me.
I made a huge (for me) investment in my studio (over $20k) which I need to start seeing a return on (im not in debt, so thats at least good...)

I've moved the studio a few times over the last 10 years (mainly because of leases and rent increases) but I recently re-did my basement (separate entrance to the place from the outside).  So now I've essentially cut the overhead completely out of the equation.

I left my studio during the busiest time of year to go do a European tour (which was nice... get out and see the world... meet some DIYers from across the pond), but from a business stand point, might not have been the best idea.  My plan was to get things going last summer.  But whats done is done. 

I "think" I have halfway decent equipment, the room sounds good, my mixes translate really well, and I have a great relationship with a top mastering house with a huge name engineer that fast tracks almost everything I send him.

I have a website. Was thinking of doing either Facebook ads and/or print ads in the local music rags.  I have had decent luck in the past putting nice color flyers out at Guitar Center and Sam Ash and mom/pop shops. 

I don't know if I should drop my hourly rate to something REALLY ridiculously low just to get bookings going, then inch them up over time again, wait to see if the advertising pays off, sell all my gear and quit the biz... lol.  Any advice?

PS What is an "acceptable" rate for a project studio these days anyway... i know the economy sucks and I'm sure that's a factor.

MEI Studio - Long Island, NY: http://www.meirecords.com


Biasrocks

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2012, 06:45:47 PM »
The key is networking, get out and meet the musicians where they play. Let them know what you're up to.

When it's slow I like to take on one song projects where I'll record, produce and mix a song for free. Gives them a taste for what you can do and most (but not always) they'll come and spend money on a project.

Rates depend on the area your located, my studio in a bigger city would be worth more hourly. Do your research and find out where you completion is, then double it. (kidding)

Never, I repeat never drop your rates to get business. Give away your time or give some extra time on a session, but always charge your going rate.

Regards,
Mark

http://SharktankPro.com

"I'd rather use an SPX90 than a UA plugin....." Joe Barresi

Paultec

    Sherwood Forest, not so Great Britain
  • Posts: 75
Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 07:32:25 PM »
When you stop thinking about music as being a business, you'll become more creative and productive.

If you spent $20k on your studio expecting it to some how miraculously transform your skills with a stroke of the midas touch, then you lost your creativity and vision.

This is just my opinion.

Money kills creativity.

If you want money, in the words of Doug Stanhope..."go suck a dick"....

 ;)


pucho812

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 11:06:02 PM »
If your pay is banana's(not worth time, etc) then people will treat you like monkey's.


Reasonable prices, a demo of the studio, and networking is imperative.  Go out to shows and meet bands, express interest and tell them who you are and what you do. fear not in talking with them, just be nice and so forth. have ways for them to check out your work and or your studios work either online or even the old fashion way of a CD. Have a way for them to view the studio in good light like making a PDF brochure that is good , has good photos and is small enough in file size to e-mail to people. Talk to the guys at the local instrument shops. They are well connected. Befriend those guys who in turn can pass your info onto the people going in there to buy things. You would be surprised how often the local mooks at guitar center get asked about studios in the area.



Main thing is to be visible to the people you need to be visible to.
You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is.

sr1200

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 12:35:43 AM »
Thank you all.  Theres some real good ideas here. Im in a suburb of new york city, the biggest problem with my "competition" is that the facility is not big enough to hang with the big boys, but im too well geared to compete with the "bedroom" studios. I put my prices between $30-$45hr depending on what i have to do (or deal with lol). As far as the reasoning for the upgrade, they were purely physical limitations and/or sonic issues (ie building an acoustically sound ctrl room and live room, building really good sounding DIY analog gear... ;) )

I was kicking around the idea of doing some kind of commission thing with the people at the music stores, if they send business i kick back a lil something to the referrer. I was told this might be viewed negatively.

Looks like i got some graphic work to do putting a brochure together... :-).  Thanks again!
MEI Studio - Long Island, NY: http://www.meirecords.com

ruairioflaherty

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 02:47:43 AM »
This might sound negative but I don't intend it that way....

Any musician, producer or engineer that is in any way above absolute beginner does not choose a studio based on a flyer, online ad or press ad.  It just doesn't happen that way.  By trawling in that way I think you'd be in for a world of pain.  As per the guys above dropping rates is not a good idea.

At the moment it appears you don't have a business, your business is all about loyal clients who come back time and again and refer others.  I recently moved 6,000 miles and most of my clients still master with me, my gear, room and even physical location don't matter but my relationships do.  My studio(s) over the last 15 years have never had a website, ads or even a name!

So you need to get out there and meet bands and start building your network.  Personally I'd rather make some of my living doing something else and get to work with the clients I want that having to accept every gig.  You may want to take on some work that doesn't pay to get things moving, obviously it needs to be with folks that can bring you more work and more importantly that you enjoy working with and believe in.

Sometimes doing something like a charity project where you record 10 bands for a good cause can be a great way to meet people.  I did various projects with schools and youth groups over the years that always led to repeat business.

One last point - 95% of people don't care what gear you have, they care about how you are to work with.  Your energy and positivity will count for a lot.  Be the guy they want to work with!

Good luck.

Ruairi

sr1200

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 10:11:04 AM »
ruairioflaherty, i agree with you 110%.  Up until now ALL my business has been from word of mouth and referrals.  I'm looking to bring in some new blood, and I really enjoy working with new people (new challenges and personalities... after a while with the same people you get to know the routine, change is a good thing).  I have people that come to me from as far away as Texas to work with ME, so I completely get what you're saying about the personal relationships.  And my very first customer (from about 12 years ago) still comes to me on a regular basis.  He's since started his own management company and now sends all of his acts to me.

I've never had anyone question the equipment in the studio, gear upgrades are for ME to be able to choose different tones and textures.  Kind of like adding all those "weird" colors to your set of crayons... you have your basic red, blue, green etc etc, sometimes you want a "sea foam green" or "puce" lol.

You also kind of hit on a big fear of mine, which is why i started the thread in the first place.  There are always the "undesirables" that answer the ads when you advertise.  We all know the type, no matter what you do, they can't be satisfied or are just royal pains in the @$$ or have absolutely NO talent and expect YOU to "fix" everything...
MEI Studio - Long Island, NY: http://www.meirecords.com

EmRR

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 10:16:03 AM »
Agreed again; it's all word of mouth.   I don't advertise in any way, other than a basic web page that I doubt anyone sees.  It was a huge relief when my business phone listing went away, and then again my business phone.  No business ever came from them, but lots of 'potentials' that weren't worth the length of the conversation.  My pile of esoteric toys have never attracted a job.  They may have helped retain a client once I had them, but who knows. 
Best,

Doug Williams
Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

"I think this can be better. Some kind of control that's intuitive, not complicated like a single knob" - Crusty

"Back when everything sounde

Biasrocks

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 02:32:00 PM »
My pile of esoteric toys have never attracted a job.  They may have helped retain a client once I had them, but who knows.

It sure makes the job fun when you've got some cool toys.  8)

Regards,
Mark
http://SharktankPro.com

"I'd rather use an SPX90 than a UA plugin....." Joe Barresi

okgb

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 07:58:07 PM »
A U87 shockmount  may tell some your place is " pro "  in terms of gear
it's just another sales job , it just makes my life easier knowing what i have
and how it sounds . A successful place i worked would never buy gear [ or spend money ] unless
they had to for a job or it would earn them money in some way , likely a few trends passed them by
but they didn't have to bleed , and there's always a latest thing & a new kid around .
More a mercenary if you're not tied to big overhead also , good luck [ & skill ]
GKB Audio / Greg Boboski


EmRR

Re: Seeking Advice: Studio Owners
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2012, 01:00:52 PM »
I avoided buying a DAT machine until they became extinct, that was a good one. 
Best,

Doug Williams
Electromagnetic Radiation Recorders

"I think this can be better. Some kind of control that's intuitive, not complicated like a single knob" - Crusty

"Back when everything sounde


 

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