Originally Posted by latestflavor
i'd pitch a two-part solution: invest in a space at the bottom of the RE market, and you could both run the studio of your dreams, until he/she decides to monetize the RE and move on.
Given how much time, effort, and money it would take to design, build, and equip a decent studio, I'm not sure I'd go this route. By the time you pour slabs, drop ceilings, float everything, and do the build according to all of the correct principles and with all of the correct materials, you could easily spend 100-200K on a decent sized control room with large studio and one or two booths, and you're not going to get this money back
when your partner the doctor needs to sell the place. I think what this post gets right is the "partnering up" part, whether it's with yourself or someone else, maybe a couple of someone elses. I see a lot of this.
First, as I said before, I wouldn't build a damn thing without knowing that cash flow from existing work would become a primary "client" to the proposed studio.
In my case, it was my production career or my publishing deal. For someone else, their freelance engineering career. Whatever. I can't see building a studio without knowing IN ADVANCE that 25% of its hours were going to be booked. Nobody needs the pressure of having to fill every single hour of a newly constructed studio from nothing.
Next, I would be looking to team up with like-minded businesses that would benefit from proximity and want to share basic costs like rent, utilities, maintenance, personnel. Find a mastering guy, an A/V company, an artist services company (what we used to call record labels), management, whatever. Music-industry related small businesses that need space. You can all share the basic shell of the space, share the kitchen, the bathrooms, the single receptionist, the lounge, and the natural spill that happens when a bunch of music businesses occupy the same building. Your clients will need mastering, label clients will need recording space, there be will some level of synergy that could help you raise your profile and get some of those "over the transom" clients.
I think mostly, though, the previous posters have it right. With studio time such a devalued commodity, it's crazy to build a studio if your business model is strictly a commercial "time for money" one. You have to have something to bend that a little. The only other thing I can think of is that your proposed studio offers something incredibly unique that a lot of people would want AND doesn't cost you an arm and a leg to provide. If you already happen to have a huge collection of vintage guitar amps and drums, that would be cool. I don't know if that's enough to get many clients, though. I see a lot of studios with vintage gear. So many people are driven by rates, and rates are very low, as has been said.
I think studio owners need to shift the paradigm away from "fee for service" to other ways of thinking. People will still need studios and engineers. We just need to be more creative about how to capitalize these ventures. Perhaps crowdsourcing is the wave of the future............