The Nashville Studio Survey

2009 Nashville Studio Survey

The 2009 Nashville Recording Studio Survey focused on two primary research questions:

  • What threats to survivability are Nashville-area studio owners and managers seeing?

  • What external factors make it hard for recording studio owners and managers to keep their studios open?


  • What are studio owners and managers doing to overcome these threats?

Threat to Survivability

Percentage of
Total Responses

Advent of Home Recording 34%
General Economic Malaise in the
Music Business and the World-Wide Economy
Illegal Downloading 11%
Decrease in Record Production Budgets 11%
Decline in Musician Quality and
Listener Expectations

What is Being Done to
Overcome Threat

Percentage of
Total Responses

Lowering Rates Charged to Clients 14%
Increasing Marketing Efforts 14%
Offering Services Home
Recording Studios Do Not
Offering “Package Deals” 11%
Increasing the Types of Work
Done at Facility
Networking More 6%
Nothing (Sadly) 6%
  • About half of all recording facilities in the Nashville, Tennessee area are single-studio facilities, and less than one-third are larger than a two-studio facility.
  • Recording facilities have been in business, on average, for 15 years. The oldest facility (35 years of operation) was also one of the largest surveyed.
  • Almost half of owners and managers stated that independent artists were their primary type of client.
  • Less than one-third of the studios in the survey offer 24-track analog recording. 90% say they offer DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) formats, such as Pro Tools, Cubase, or Logic.
  • One-quarter of respondents stated that their facility grossed less than $50,000 last year.

What is the Nashville Recording Studio Survey?

The Nashville Recording Studio Survey is committed to provide current, unbiased, and trust-worthy data on the recording studio business in the Nashville area.

The survey is conducted once per year under the direction of Principal Investigator James E. Hearn. Mr. Hearn welcomes any and all comments regarding the issues covered and questions asked. The Principal Investigator, will, however, formulate the survey in a way as to be unbiased and completely anonymous.

Also available are the press releases for the 2007 & 2008 surveys. It summarizes the findings from the previous years of research on the health of the recording studio industry in the Nashville area.

If you have questions about the methodology, results, or anything else, please feel free to call or e-mail me at (615) 478-5499 or




2 Replies to “The Nashville Studio Survey”

  1. I found your data compilation very informative and helpful. After reading all the raw data I was left with one major question. Did you find a correlation between studios taking a pro-active approach to expanding revenue and actually sustaining high levels of revenue? More specifically, were the studios that were reporting revenue over $150,000 the same studios that responded that they were aggressively adapting to the current business environment?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Alec! Thanks for the question.

      If you notice, for the most recent survey, 32% of respondents reported that their facility had gross revenues of $150,000 or more.

      Their responses, taken word-for-word form the raw data, are below:

      Nothing, we are selling our business

      Lowering our rates

      Doing more smaller budgeted projects in our new smaller studios

      More customer service

      Doing more demo sessions

      Nothing at this point

      Cost-cutting without effecting service.

      Raising quality standards

      Offering lower price point room

      Lowering studio rates

      Advertising more

      Diversification of services, active networking with industry pros

      So, as you can see, it’s a pretty broad range of responses, some more proactive than others. The more proactive responses include refocusing on smaller projects & demos, adding more customer services, and cost cutting without affecting customer service. Sadly, there are multiple “nothing” responses, as well as multiple people lowering their rates.

      Hope this helps answer your question! Do you work with the management and marketing aspects of recording studios as well?

      – James

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