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Old 9th August 2004
  #16
Gear Head
 

I empathize with you, Tibbon. I, too, made an attempt at running a commercial facility in Boston for 3 or so years, although I gave it up in 1999 and relocated my studio to my home. Being in the Boston scene for about ten years, I can tell you that you may be facing an uphill battle. First off, the overhead in Boston is extremely steep. Making rent alone on the crappy warheouse space I leased was a challenge just about every month. And I tried just about every marketing technique I could afford, all with fairly limited success. Flyers might have yielded a few calls over the years, but maybe just one or two clients. Specials that included some free time brought a few people in, but in the end, bands will low-ball you for everything they can get. And forget about advertising in the local mags (Northeast Performer, etc.). I spent a lot of money trying to draw clients that way, and it just wasn't worth the expense. The problem as I see it is that, as stated earlier, there are just too many people offering recording services out of their bedroom to really compete, unless you house one of the few premier producers in the area whom everyone wants to work with. Plus, I can't speak for other cities, but let's face facts: The starving musicians (without backing of some sort) here just don't have the money they need to pay for a professional production from start to finish. Someone earlier mentioned an artist trying to get a CD done for $1000. That scenario, in my experience, seemed to be the rule, rather than the exception. And your potential share of that budget is just too little revenue to run a business. The only advertising that really seemed to work for me was word of mouth, and building that up takes time.

So, you might wonder what advice I have for you. Well, I certainly don't claim to have the answers, but I will say that I don't think you should sell any of your beloved gear just to pay the landlord. You may want to consider what I have done. I got a day job to pay the bills and now only work with a few artists on a project basis in my studio. Sure, I still hope to make some money from music some day, but for now I'm just glad that I don't have to worry about where that next rent check is coming from!

Anyway, I hope I haven't been too discouraging. You may fair quite a bit better than I did, After all, I really was pretty naive in the beginning and certainly suffered from the "if you build it, they will come" mentality. And the facility I had wasn't really much to write home about. But, eventually, I just couldn't forsee any way to make a decent living from charging $30 - $40 an hour, at least not at that time or place.

Best of luck,
Chris