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generating business Reverb/Delay Processors (HW)
Old 15th August 2007
  #1
Gear Nut
 

generating business

Hi,


So I am thinkin about opening up my recording facilities to the public and was hopin
some of u slutz could give me some advice. Couple things about me I have been a musician for about 15 years , studied composition and theory along the way , got into recording about 5 years and have the gear and think I have enough chops at this point to make cash. I have recorded my friends bands, and other bands over the years with good results but initially got into it becauseI wanted to record the multiplt projects I was in at the time. This is what I have done so far to generate business.

1. Went to music stores, colleges and some other places and either posted up flyers on bulletin board or the owner agreed to do a cross promotion.

2. started website currently under construction , myspace page, listed services on craigslist.

I know there is a lot more I need to do but would appreciate some advice on generating inital business and any other tips. Also I live in a suburb of Chicago
and there are not to many recording studios so I believe I gotta good cance

should I contact labels and see if they wil work with me?
should I hire a marketing team?

Thanks
Old 15th August 2007
  #2
You need to persuade people that you are the guy they should trust with their project.

Think of yourself as like a guy who digs ponds for people for a living. You can talk all day and night about the great excavator you're got, the awesome transits, how great you are with a dowsing rod...

... until you can show people examples of the work you've done, it's all theoretical. And digging a pond is a huge investment, and your customers better feel REALLY good that it will turn out the way they want it.

You need a CD with the best mixes you've done, and you need to crank out dozens of these, package them up real nice, and start harassing and hounding everyone who might want to do a project. Include a variety of the styles you can do--acoustic guitar singer-songwriter/ punk band/ a'capella barbershop quartet.

The one thing you will need to do is instill confidence in these potential customers. If you can look in the mirror and see a guy who is really motivated to make someone sound absolutely incredible-- you're on your way.
Old 15th August 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
dokushoka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dzara 4 View Post
Hi,


So I am thinkin about opening up my recording facilities to the public and was hopin
some of u slutz could give me some advice. Couple things about me I have been a musician for about 15 years , studied composition and theory along the way , got into recording about 5 years and have the gear and think I have enough chops at this point to make cash. I have recorded my friends bands, and other bands over the years with good results but initially got into it becauseI wanted to record the multiplt projects I was in at the time. This is what I have done so far to generate business.

1. Went to music stores, colleges and some other places and either posted up flyers on bulletin board or the owner agreed to do a cross promotion.

2. started website currently under construction , myspace page, listed services on craigslist.

I know there is a lot more I need to do but would appreciate some advice on generating inital business and any other tips. Also I live in a suburb of Chicago
and there are not to many recording studios so I believe I gotta good cance

should I contact labels and see if they wil work with me?
should I hire a marketing team?

Thanks
You need to think of it like this:

If no one will hire you as a freelancer, not many more people are going to hire you as a studio owner/engineer. Its all about your relationships with people in your local scene. If you have done records that people in that scene know and like, you'll do ok. If you haven't done anything that anyone has heard of, prepare to eat Ramen for a few years...

You can buy all the fancy gear you want, and its not going to bring in many heads.

The best thing, if anything, to build, is a super professional sounding and looking control room. Set yourself apart with that and a layout that works cleanly and efficiently.
Old 15th August 2007
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

As far as getting the best bands and labels, you pretty much have to work that one up. Its not a bad idea to record great talent for free when starting out. Get those great mixes and songs up right away and you can get on with it.

market your credentials to kids of rich parents. Package lessons and recording studio time together or just karaoke types of business. Also church people can be musical so you can advertise in their weekly service flyer 15% of the normal rate for the next two months. Networking good too. I know guys that will even karaoke guys/girls songs for their wife / significnat other's bday etc and package them as gifts (i pass on that biz).

For plain cash, there's a lot of ways to play up that emotional "recording studio" thing out of your everyday jane or joe.
Old 15th August 2007
  #5
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
First things first

Business License, Zoning, insurance, business plan, then the music



.
Old 15th August 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Don't forget its a service industry. People skills count for way more than folks would credit.

All my work is word of mouth and repeat business...some of my clients I'v worked with for over 8 years. I'v done the flier thing twice in 14 years, once after one year of official trading , and then during my 3rd year. Each time I got one job as a result of the flier which then created follow on business. Mind you, the recording business was quite different back then: there wasnt the home studios like now.

I dont think recording entirley for free to get started is right: charging even a little formalises the arrangment with your client, and you dont end up in the situation of open ended free projects...which often dont get finished. Even if you charged $25 a song, or $5 an hour, anything ,it gives some value to what you are doing. When you get refferal from that project you already have the precedence set that your work is worth something: you wont end up with folks ringing up expecting free recording.

I also do a small amount of live sound, not as much these days , but its a great way to meet bands. Dont think for a minute that because you do studio sound that live must be easy : it isnt!! Theres some key concepts that are different. I was lucky and got mentored in live sound.

B
Old 15th August 2007
  #7
Is your studio set up in your house? Can clients take a detour on the way to the bathroom into parts of your living areas and easily pocket cash lying around or a DVcamera etc..?

Be careful!

Old 15th August 2007
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules View Post
Is your studio set up in your house? Can clients take a detour on the way to the bathroom into parts of your living areas and easily pocket cash lying around or a DVcamera etc..?

Be careful!

jules don't forget - can they steal your sigificant other too?

its probabaly better just to buy the chastity belt upfront, don't you agree?

one does need to make contingencies for doing business from the home....

surveilance cameras help. that way if they do steal your sweetie you might have some good footage to sell on the 'net. always be one step ahead of the business.....
Old 15th August 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Kris's Avatar
Yellow Pages ad.
Old 15th August 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 
AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dokushoka View Post
If you have done records that people in that scene know and like, you'll do ok. If you haven't done anything that anyone has heard of, prepare to eat Ramen for a few years...
Exactly. The best way to get business is to make good-sounding records! If your clients are happy, you can probably get by on their referrals alone. You can even set up a referral rewards system for your close clients. Most of the business I get is repeat business, or new clients from direct referrals. It's a good thing too, since I have a young one at home and I go to bed around 10pm every night and wake up around 6am and get up during the night a few times, so I can't really go out to shows.

If you haven't done a lot of work yet, you might consider working with some close friends for next to nothing/free just to get some projects under your belt.

Ramen is your friend.
Old 15th August 2007
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dzara 4 View Post
Hi,


So I am thinkin about opening up my recording facilities to the public and was hopin
some of u slutz could give me some advice. Couple things about me I have been a musician for about 15 years , studied composition and theory along the way , got into recording about 5 years and have the gear and think I have enough chops at this point to make cash. I have recorded my friends bands, and other bands over the years with good results but initially got into it becauseI wanted to record the multiplt projects I was in at the time. This is what I have done so far to generate business.

1. Went to music stores, colleges and some other places and either posted up flyers on bulletin board or the owner agreed to do a cross promotion.

2. started website currently under construction , myspace page, listed services on craigslist.

I know there is a lot more I need to do but would appreciate some advice on generating inital business and any other tips. Also I live in a suburb of Chicago
and there are not to many recording studios so I believe I gotta good cance

should I contact labels and see if they wil work with me?
should I hire a marketing team?

Thanks

Your chance has nothing to do with the number of studios.

If you're expeting to engineer, that means you're expecting clients who are not engineers. Therefore, they really don't have the ability to evauate you or your studio with the necessary expertise.

That means word of mouth is your best marketing tool.

Figure out a way to make that happen and your set.
Old 15th August 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris View Post
Yellow Pages ad.
anyone who locates a studio thru the yellow pages you don't want for a client..our biz is WoM

teh best advertisment is your work and the people you did that work for
Old 15th August 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Kris's Avatar
Well for me personally, two of the larger label projects I've worked on came from the Yellow Pages... In general though you may be right. But for some, business is business...
Old 15th August 2007
  #14
It's a valid point, though-- all musicians live in an inter-connected world where they know and talk about the studio projects they've done and heard about. Generally, someone looking to do a project will confer with their fellows and seek out studios they've heard good things about. The people who came through the ads I've placed in papers... sorry I answered the phone...
Old 15th August 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
 
8th_note's Avatar
 

Quote:
If you have done records that people in that scene know and like, you'll do ok.
Yup, that says it for me. All my work has come this way. The only thing I'll add is go out to shows. Be a part of the scene and go out to hear bands play that you haven't heard before. But the most important thing is to go to shows of the bands you've recorded.

I've become pretty good friends with several of the musicians and bands I've done projects for, even though I'm quite a bit older than they are. When I go to a show I stick out like a sore thumb (I get asked if I'm a parent of one of the band members) but I'm there chummin' with the band and frequently they'll introduce me to another band who's playing that night. They will say, "Hey, this is Steve, he recorded our CD." And the other person will look at me like I'm a Martian for a moment, and then say, "You recorded their CD? We need to talk to you."

Truly my favorite part of this hobby is not the tracking or mixing. It is the relationships I've made with the people I've worked with. Several of them have become lifelong friends. If you genuinely make a connection with the people you work with and you go out to support them as they are trying to claw their way up the music business ladder, you will get work. Of course, your work had better sound pretty good in the first place but being a competent engineer doesn't go very far these days if you're just getting started, IMO.
Old 15th August 2007
  #16
Lives for gear
 
dokushoka's Avatar
 

Quote:
Truly my favorite part of this hobby is not the tracking or mixing. It is the relationships I've made with the people I've worked with. Several of them have become lifelong friends.


Great post!
Old 16th August 2007
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dzara 4 View Post
Hi,


So I am thinkin about opening up my recording facilities to the public and was hopin
some of u slutz could give me some advice. Couple things about me I have been a musician for about 15 years , studied composition and theory along the way , got into recording about 5 years and have the gear and think I have enough chops at this point to make cash. I have recorded my friends bands, and other bands over the years with good results but initially got into it becauseI wanted to record the multiplt projects I was in at the time. This is what I have done so far to generate business.

1. Went to music stores, colleges and some other places and either posted up flyers on bulletin board or the owner agreed to do a cross promotion.

2. started website currently under construction , myspace page, listed services on craigslist.

I know there is a lot more I need to do but would appreciate some advice on generating inital business and any other tips. Also I live in a suburb of Chicago
and there are not to many recording studios so I believe I gotta good cance

should I contact labels and see if they wil work with me?
should I hire a marketing team?

Thanks
Read, read and then read some more (9 out of 10 fail within 5 years). So you should read, read and then read some more (of those who have not failed by then 9 out of 10 of those will fail within 10 years).

In other words, when you don't want to read, you should probably read... Just read and it'll be OK...
Old 16th August 2007
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainbowStorm View Post
9 out of 10 fail within 5 years
i thought he was talking about part time. if the desire is full time, i would say "don't quit your day job"!!!!!
Old 16th August 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 
The dman's Avatar
 

dzara 4

How's it going? I'm about 8 miles north of Crystal Lake and have been doing this out here for 20 years. I do higher quality projects than I did 15 years ago,some of my clients don't even live around here anymore buts it's taken a long time to get there. I do very little what I call "Wham Bam thank you mam" projects anymore, I think I'd hang up my hat if I had to do that again. One studio out here that I know does real good mainly does corporate audio/video but not for companies around here. The owner said to me that if he had to depend on bands he would have closed a long time ago, he started when I did in the hey day of recording bands. Remember when releasing a CD meant something?

Quote:
should I hire a marketing team?
Like others have said results is what keeps people coming back, save the marketing money for something else, this isn't that kind of business. I've seen many rooms open and close out here through the years with the same intent that you have they rent a space, spend money on advertising etc and are gone within a year. I almost went in over my head a couple of times myself and boy I'm glad that I didn't, my timing would have been terrible. This business is a shadow of what it use to be and understand that living out here lowers the numbers even more, this is no mans land when it comes to a music scene. I'm not being negative I'm just trying to convey to keep your eyes wide open and listen to what these guys are saying your getting some good advice. Keep your costs low, your nose to the grindstone and you'll do fine. There' are some good rooms out here but there's always room for morethumbsup, we all have out specialty.

One more thing
Also realize that recording some ****ty band for $$$ to pay the rent won't help your cause much because they'll still sound like crap which will be a reflection on you.
Old 16th August 2007
  #20
Gear Nut
 

everyones responses so far have been very helpful,


Thanks
Old 16th August 2007
  #21
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

A studio business is almost entirely based on word of mouth along with location, location and location.
Old 16th August 2007
  #22
Gear Nut
 
Audiophile20's Avatar
 

Mess with the locals first. Go to a show or concert. Meet the bands. Introduce yourself and tell them what you're trying to do. Tell them if they're interested in recording to contact you. Give them a website name and phone #.

It's really not that hard.
Old 16th August 2007
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Glenn Kuras's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kris View Post
Well for me personally, two of the larger label projects I've worked on came from the Yellow Pages... In general though you may be right. But for some, business is business...
When I was open for business I had a Yellow Page ad (also ad in local rag) and 9 out of 10 people calling where just kicking tires or where kids with no clue. Not that it was really a bad thing to do but I found myself screening people BIG time. I think if I was to do it again I would try Google ads. That seems to be the wave of the future.
But with that said the other ideas of getting out there and talking with people and showing them your work is going to REALLY get you clients you want.

Glenn
Old 16th August 2007
  #24
Lives for gear
Some great comments in this thread.

FIRST...the Yellow Pages is perhaps the single poorest way to spend money. Iys VERY expensive, and attracts people that want to why it cost XX dollares to remove the vocal from "The Wind Beneath My Wings" so their kid can sing it in their third grade pageant.....

My first rule ...ESPECIALLY when you are starting. "You pay for your operation 24 hours a day, use them" If you don't have clients....create then. Do some spec stuff for a band that is making noise. Make a fair deal, but understand you will probably not make money. But you working with a band with some visability is the single best advertisement you get buy. Of course...making them happy and doing a good job is critical....or your ad will be ass backward.

Cut deals....do whatever to get your name out there and build buzz about your place. If you are working with a band, that has paid you decently, and you sense that they are close to finishing a project but uptight about money.....sit them down and offer to finish PROPERLY for a flat rate they can afford. Its a win win deal....because A) the roecord will sound right, and B) they will talk you up to their buds. You can't imagine the light that shines on a session when financial pressure is relieved.

MY point is...a few hours out of your life, that would sit idle anyway, is a much better investment than the yellow pages. Some folks might bristle at the idea of working for free.....but you aren't. Spec deals should always give you a fair back end, even though they often don't pan out. And giving up a few hours to get someone's mix right only reduces your hourly a bit.

All this stuff comes back a thousand times over the course of a business career. And frankly, your only ADDITIONAL cost is a little electricty and a little sleep. The rest you are going to pay no matter what happens.

Be nice to people...always be positive, don't bitch about whatever. Make your studio the hub of the local scene.

All of this stuff puts a solid foundation under your operation. THEN you can think about labels and the like.
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