What are you doing to stay afloat in the studio business?

There are a lot if indicators that point to the fact that the studio business is a tough place to stay alive.

If you read Billboard, Mix, or some of the other professional trades that deal with the studio business, they’ll tell you that studios are closing up shop left and right and those spaces are being turned into condos. Yeowch! Priorities, eh?

Anyway, the recording studio business has never been easy, and it’s being made a lot tougher on studio owners that aren’t very business savvy and those that try to cling on to the way they did business ten or fifteen years ago.

My research shows that at least SOME studio owners are charging less for their services as a way to stay competitive in the marketplace. How bad of an idea is that? With the increased cost of doing business (employee salary/wages, rent) there’s no way you’re going to stay in business if you continually charge LESS money over time. May work in the short term, but that’s not an effective long-term strategy for success. And, once you DO start to charge less money, when you try to increase your rates, all your clients are gonna grumble and complain about how much it costs to record at your facility.

So, my challenge to you is this:

What can we do as an industry to keep ourselves alive (a la Queen)? I think it’s going to take some pretty innovative thinking. It looks like the people that are out there making a real go of it are doing something creative and unique. I’m not sure of the right answer(s), but I have my thoughts… How about you?

J

NARAS Producers & Enigneers Wing – DAW Guidelines for Music Production

As some of you may know, the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) created their Producers & Engineers Wing several years ago and charged them with the task of establishing a set of guidelines that would offer solutions to some of the traditional problems we face in the recording studio.

To that end, they have developed a set of guidelines to follow when using DAWs. The guidelines are meant to simplify the file management process and keep your sessions orgainized for future use.

There are two versions of the guidelines, a short version and a longer, more complete version.

The short version of the guidelines can be found here.

The longer version can be found here. Wow, 40 pages worth of guidelines.

2007 Nashville Recording Studio Survey Quick Facts

Highlights from the 2007 Nashville Recording Studio Survey

Most studios are commercial and for profit. Most owners and managers said their studios were
commercial and open to the public (87%) rather than project studios closed to the public (7%) or
private and not-for-profit (7%).

The recent increase in independent record labels in Nashville is seen in clientele. Independent
record labels were the primary client for studio owners and managers in the past year (29%), while
business that aren’t record labels as well as independent artists with no manager account for 21%
each of studios’ primary clients.

Nashville is still home to country music. The most common style of music produced in studios by
owners and managers that responded is country (16%), with rock (13%), contemporary Christian
( 12%), gospel music (11%), and demos (11%) all following close behind.

Studio owners and managers that responded said their studios grossed an average of $125,205 last
tax year.
Additionally, most studio owners and managers either saw an increase in gross revenue or
stayed the same (73%) compared to the previous tax year. 91% of studio owners and managers say
they are experiencing growth or the same amount of gross revenue this tax year compared to last
year. Also, the average length of time studios have been in business in Nashville is 15.55 years.

Engineers are the most common type of employee in a Nashville Studio. Every studio owner and
manager (100%) that responded to the survey that have any full-time employees have at least one
Engineer on their full-time staff. More than half (55%) of studios also hire a full-time Studio
Manager as well.

Studio owners and managers are looking for help from interns more and more. While there were
increases in the number of Engineers (9%) and Studio Managers (11%) hired, Interns saw the
biggest hiring increase (27%). Assistant Engineers and Engineers saw the greatest increases in
independent contractor work (30% and 18% respectively).

Primary use of studios is to track audio. Almost half (47%) of studio owners and managers
surveyed say they use their studio primarily for tracking, while only 13% use their studio primarily
for mixing. Mixing, however, is the largest (57%) secondary use for studios.

6 out of every 7 studios have at least one mixing room. 86% of studios have at least one room
used for mixing, while less (71%) studios have at least one room for tracking.

While 70% of studio owners and managers feel the studio business is getting worse in the
Nashville area
compared to last year, 45% say that their own business is performing better than the
rest of the Nashville
recording studio businesses. Also, while 18% of studio owners and managers
feel optimistic about the future of the studio business in Nashville, over three times as many
(64%) feel optimistic about their own studio’s performance.

The PDF with all of these results can also be found here. More information regarding the Nashville Recording Studio Survey can be found here.