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Build a studio from scratch...or buy an existing one?
Old 12th July 2004
  #1
Gear Nut
 
SLS's Avatar
 

Build a studio from scratch...or buy an existing one?

Wow, been a long time since I've posted.

I have been posed a question of whether it would be better to build a recording facility from the ground up, or buy (or buy into) an existing studio.

I obviously know it depends on many factors, needs, etc., but what are some ways of finding out what studios are going under, coming up for sale, or looking for new capital partners, i.e.: looking for financial backing?

Any thoughts on the matter? Are there people in the industry to help develop/research these ideas and act as a consultants for someone wanting to open a new studio (either from the ground up OR buying one)?

Thanks,
Adam
Old 12th July 2004
  #2
Where are you located?

For example I know an agent in London who sells studios (and the properties they exist in)
Old 12th July 2004
  #3
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Well, this would refer to the States. I believe the person who asked me is thinking LA or Nasheville.
Old 12th July 2004
  #4
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It really depends on your needs. If you need to start working immediatly it would be best to find a well kept studio for sale. If you'd like to customize a place to your liking then build one....but it'll take a year or so...

What kinda budget is this person looking at?


Personally...I'd build one if I could...but I'm just picky like that.
Old 12th July 2004
  #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by djui5
It really depends on your needs. If you need to start working immediatly it would be best to find a well kept studio for sale. If you'd like to customize a place to your liking then build one....but it'll take a year or so...

What kinda budget is this person looking at?


Personally...I'd build one if I could...but I'm just picky like that.
I agree. Like I said, it depends on many variables, primarily what the studio will be used for, but I guess the main question is how to go about looking at those options. Lets assume for this sake that the budget is not an issue.
Old 12th July 2004
  #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by AdamONE
I agree. Like I said, it depends on many variables, primarily what the studio will be used for, but I guess the main question is how to go about looking at those options. Lets assume for this sake that the budget is not an issue.
Then the next question is time....how much time do you have before you start working? Not profiting....but working.

You can expect to turn no profit or a minimal profit for the first year at least. If you build then add another year or so to that, the time it takes to build the place.
Old 12th July 2004
  #7
Quote:
Lets assume for this sake that the budget is not an issue.
Good thing because I can do more than assume that anyone opening a commercial studio today is going to need to be independently wealthy and had better not plan on staying that way!!
Old 12th July 2004
  #8
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Having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on walls, electrical, HVACs and such I would strongly advise starting up in an existing space. You cannot take your walls with you.

It is much better to let a previous owner/tenant get stuck with these considerable expenses. If business goes well then renovate or relocate but trust me...it is no fun to know that by the time you have finished the amortisation cycle on fit-ups you are looking at numbers on a ledger that could have bought you almost any console in the world.

Do not build from scratch unless you are well financed and prepared to make a longterm commitment.


Cheers,
Aardvark
Old 13th July 2004
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by not_so_new
Good thing because I can do more than assume that anyone opening a commercial studio today is going to need to be independently wealthy and had better not plan on staying that way!!
What's the best way to make a small fortune in the Studio Business?























Start with a large fortune!
Old 13th July 2004
  #10
My studio has a project studio build quality.

We do major label work about 15% of the time, the rest is paid by the band / managers of acts.

It does for me and my clients..

Old 14th July 2004
  #11
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Thanks for the thoughts! This would be well financed I'm sure, and I am also sure that they will have people to look into this stuff, but I was also curious myself about others' experiences and recommendations were.

Adam
Old 14th July 2004
  #12
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If you're in one of the major US recording centers (NYC, L.A., or Nashville) I would definitely look at buying an existing studio. Here in L.A. it seems liek we lose one major room a month. I'm talking top of the line-hit making studios. You really don't want to strangle a new studio with construction debt and in this environment you don't need to.
Old 14th July 2004
  #13
Quote:
Originally posted by Drumsound
What's the best way to make a small fortune in the Studio Business?

Start with a large fortune!


That is exactly what I am talking about... Many people blame this on the rise of the bedroom studio and I think that is the case. Yes I think that can be negative and can not be ignored but I do see a few positives here, it is not all dark clouds.

First there is a much larger market for smaller gear manufactures, more gear means more competition and can lead to better equipment at better cost.

Secondly, outside of film and TV work etc. I think the WHOLE GOAL of our industry is to make music. PERIOD!!! I LOVE music and I want to hear more. The rise of the bedroom studio has allowed music to be made that otherwise might not have been. It is taking control of music away from big business and putting it back in the hands of the musician. I think this is a good thing.

All of the said, I have the gear and the capital now to open a studio and I wouldn't do it. I don't think major studios as we know them are going to be around the way they are now for a whole lot longer. ?? I could be wrong but 10 years or so and you could see a major investment go up in smoke. Robmix said "Here in L.A. it seems liek we lose one major room a month." Why does anyone else think just because they purchase a studio it will be different for them??

I would stay out of it because there are too many great options open to the lower to mid level artists, this is going to move up to the top ranks as well I think. Aerosmith recorded their last CD in there house, Sting does the same as do other big time acts. With Pro Tools and the like I can see a day were the major acts just purchase $50 or $100 grand worth of gear one time and hire a producer to come in to track and mix. That same 50 grand will be used for the next CD as well, kind of a no brainer in my book.

Again things are not all that bleak but times are changing. I think the people who change with times are successful, the ones that don't get steamrolled.

I would advise against opening a studio now, but YMMV.

I wish your friend the best of luck, I do hope it works out.

Old 14th July 2004
  #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by robmix
If you're in one of the major US recording centers (NYC, L.A., or Nashville) I would definitely look at buying an existing studio. Here in L.A. it seems liek we lose one major room a month. I'm talking top of the line-hit making studios. You really don't want to strangle a new studio with construction debt and in this environment you don't need to.
Yeah... I gotta agree with this. If you go to build a NEW room here in Nashville... you are gonna pay through your teeth! All the good contractors are wise to it... and they will charge you a FORTUNE!

However... here in toon-town, the decline in the popularity of Country Music, and the increase in music pirating, and the QUALITY and QUANTITY of home studio's has put a REAL hit on the studio's here. There are empty studio's for rent and sale all over the place for really low prices.

However.... if you coming here.... keep in mind... that there is a REASON all these places are closing. You better have a REAL good business plan, or built in business that will come to you wherever you are.

Just my 2 cents...
Old 14th July 2004
  #15
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forget los angeles..... every producer either works @ his own studio or oceanway,cello....but ....now a mixing room with a k series might do well on the west side of la.... alot of producers and a&R who live or work in santa monica are tired of driving to north hollywood or the valley...also you have to really understand the landscape of studios in la... you have probably the best rooms ever built and also have new facilities built by billionaire jet setters who dont care if they lose money just as long as there are plenty of pictures with rockstars....i just completed my own room for my own productions and mixes and other than the occasional trking date @ ocean way. nashville may be worse...but i dont live there so my opinion is just that... an opinion.
Old 14th July 2004
  #16
Gear Nut
 
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Well, as I understand it, the studio in question would already have a workload and clientel, and would not need to compete with other studios in the area. I do understand the state of the industry, with so many studios, etc. etc., but I don't think that's the big question for them right now.
Old 14th July 2004
  #17
TML
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I'm in the same boat. Been looking for a building with ceiling height and atleast 1200 sq ft of space.......not easy...unless you find it in an industrial zone....the country churches are too far out of town...the city churches too big.....firehouse...no luck...peolple don't see studios as destination places anymore...as said in previous threads....you can set up shop anywhere....the kids don't care about the room etc...all the things we love about the art of music and recording has been lost....Instead of putting up a 30 by 40 ft room I'm thinking about finding a large home and doing an addition with a cathedral. That way you can live in the space ...lock in at a low interest rate...and make a couple of nice looking rooms for talent. Sell your wisdom in production...not pro tools....my 2 cents...
Tim
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