Recording Studio Management

Research, published and unpublished, conducted by James Hearn. Feel free to use, cite, and build upon. Also, contact James regarding any team research possibilities or additional research possibilities.


Threats to Studio Survivability and What Studio Owners and Managers Are Doing About It

According to the Recording Industry Association of America statistics, the prerecorded music business lost 38% of its value between 1998 and 2008, with every link in the vertical chain feeling the effects. From artists to labels, distributors to the retail sector, all segments of the prerecorded music business have suffered from the attrition of the music business. Whereas, some “experts” lauded the end of the music business as early as 1979, there seem to be additional factors at work in the past decade that are making the music business an even more difficult environment in which to be financially successful….

Four Square Studio: Anatomy of a Small Recording Studio’s Marketing Tactics (MEIEA Journal)

Michael Stevens owns Four Square Studio, a small, single-owner recording studio business in the Nashville area specializing in Christian and Southern Gospel recordings. Stevens has recently made an effort to cultivate his clientele by increasing the quality of clients he records and by focusing on the Southern Gospel and Christian markets. Turning a customer into a client, “a regular, repeat customer,” has many advantages, including securing loyalty and generating new business…

Square One: A Case Study Into an Entrepreneurial Recording Studio

Entrepreneurship is an important aspect of the music industry, especially in the recording studio business. In a region where over 1,500 companies comprise the entertainment industry, owning one‟s own business is a reality for many people. Nonetheless, Billboard Magazine says it best, that “most recording studio proprietors will say that theirs is a very difficult business in which to be financially successful”. The reality of owning this type of business can be both challenging and rewarding….


9 Replies to “Recording Studio Management”

  1. Im starting a Recording studio business and i was wondering if there are any pointers or suggestions you guys could give me ?

  2. This is my friends studio who has a partner currently who want out. My friend is kinda scared. They barley make enough to keep the doors open. It a very nice studio rooms and booths etc. Has all the equipment one could ask for including many type of amps for guitarist! I am one of the session players there and I have also booked time there for my stuff. How do we get this thing really profitable?

    1. Hey Michael. That’s a good question, and one that gets harder to answer each year, unfortunately.

      One of the primary pieces of advice that I give to anyone in the recording business is this: Sell yourself, not your gear. Anybody can go out and purchase a computer, software, interfaces, consoles, mics, and pre-amps. It takes, literally, no talent, to buy stuff. What you can’t buy is the talent and technique to produce quality recordings that people will pay for.

      There’s no way to go out and buy the ability to make good-sounding recordings. That’s something you can only get through education and experience. So, something that can set your buddy’s studio apart from most other people’s is to make sure to sell what can be done there, not what he uses to get the thing done, if that makes sense.

      I, for instance, hardly mention what equipment I use to produce my recordings. That’s because I don’t want a potential customer to focus on the gear needed to produce the correct results, but the skills and knowledge needed to produce the correct results.

      Gear wars only end up well for those companies selling the gear.

      I also suggest looking for multiple income streams. For example, if all you do is record music for others, then that’s all you can do, so if you can’t get people to pay you to record them, you’re out of luck. But, if you can find other ways to get income out of your studio, during the times when it’s not being rented by a client, then that’s more money in you pocket. For example, can you make your own music in the studio to sell? Some of my most-consistent income streams have come from some library tracks I did years ago. These aren’t popular music tracks that I’m using to compete with other popular music artists, but holiday tunes and religious songs that I recorded and uploaded to iTunes and Amazon. They are easy to make and people buy them consistently.

      Your buddy may be able to teach recording in his studio, as well. Maybe he can set up a weekly teaching session, and get people to pay tuition to learn to record in a real, live recording studio. With the trend in home recording, maybe he can set up a program that teaches people how to record at home inside his studio. Once again, this is selling your skills and knowledge, not the equipment.

      If your friend, or you, have any songwriting ability, you may be able to look into writing songs and getting them published. Once again, the idea is to use what you have to create sources of income from places other than JUST recording another band in the studio.

      I hope this helps! Feel free to e-mail or write back and let me know how things are going!

  3. Hi! I am cyder from SA north west in brits, I produce gospel, hip hop, kwaito and RNB music, I want to build a new small recording studio, I just want to know if there is more of the equipments I can add in my studio on top of the ones I have..I have a C3 condenser mic,, midi key-board and the soft wares that I use which are fruitloops11 and adobe audition,my PC has more space, I have powerful and an amplifier. Is there more stuff that I need?

    1. Hey Cyder!

      Don’t focus on stuff, focus on what you can do with the stuff you have. All of the recording tools in the world don’t help if you don’t know how to use them properly. Focus on your experience with the equipment, and maximize what the software and hardware can do for you. Stretch it to the limit!

  4. Hi James, I like your advice on this subject and agree that it’s about doing what you can do with your gear and not focus on the gear itself. But could you expand a bit more on making ‘library tracks’ from your reply to Michael? Do you mean making ‘royalty-free’ music or is that a different thing? Can you point to any websites or books that talk about this particular field? Thanks!

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