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Why did your studio close?
Old 9th May 2019
  #541
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutetourettes View Post
ha! wow, just when i thought this thread couldn't get bleaker...

(I kid - I'm actually finding quite a bit of positive message in here)..
Yeah, quite a leap from studio closings to the end of all humanity. Some might think the two to be the same.
Old 9th May 2019
  #542
Lives for gear
 
mutetourettes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Popular music has been turned from a profession into a hobby.
surely it mostly started as a hobby, though, for everyone involved? so maybe it has 'reverted'.
Old 9th May 2019
  #543
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mutetourettes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
I'm reading an interesting book by a guy who studies people being addicted to internet porn. His theory is that corporations are getting really good at exploiting neural pathways and mechanisms to get people addicted to what they offer. Internet porn is one, food is another, social media is a third. I can't remember all the elements that have to be present for this to occur and in what context, but it's basically like being addicted to anything behavioral...gambling, sex, etc., and the food aspect is like being addicted to any chemical...nicotine, cocaine, etc.

I think the elevated acumen that corporations have researched in this area and are intentionally exploiting is driving a lot of human behavior these days. At least in the US.
hey doctor, what was the book please? sounds like my cup of tea...
Old 9th May 2019
  #544
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutetourettes View Post
hey doctor, what was the book please? sounds like my cup of tea...
It's called "Your Brain on Porn: Internet Pornography and the Emerging Science of Addiction," by Gary Wilson.

However, what I have found is that the idea itself is more intriguing than the book—everything is too focused on just porn addiction and not the same ideas applied to other types of addiction. I recommend just going to the guy's website and following some of the addiction related science links instead of buying the book, unless you really are specifically interested in porn addiction.

https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/videos/
Old 9th May 2019
  #545
Lives for gear
 
mutetourettes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
unless you really are specifically interested in porn addiction.

er... um.... who?... me?
Old 9th May 2019
  #546
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutetourettes View Post
er... um.... who?... me?
I knew you were asking for a friend.
Old 9th May 2019
  #547
Lives for gear
 
nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
It was very much that way. I was fascinated with radio and took five years of radio drama in jr. and sr. high school. I understood that I needed a college degree in order to get a job in radio so I went for a recording career. Recording studios were thrilled to find a kid who already knew the basics. The glamour came in the late '60s.
Looks had a HUGE impact..
Old 9th May 2019
  #548
Lives for gear
 
kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutetourettes View Post
surely it mostly started as a hobby, though, for everyone involved? so maybe it has 'reverted'.
In the sense that everything begins as a hobby, maybe. But the total atmosphere was different because access to professional gear was not commonly available.

People have always gotten into production track careers in a huge number of ways. Glyn Johns backed into production almost without realizing it. Others went to school for electronics and such.

Today, things are decidedly two-fold... and complex.
Never before has there been a time when music production gear was so available at the local GC or ma and pa music store, so anyone with a beat in their head can set up a studio at home. With talent, "hobbyists" can produce masters at home that compete.

OTOH, never before have there been so many "music engineering" schools. Previously, maybe you learned production at a few New York and LA schools, but now nearly every university has at least a music engineering course. Many offer BA/BS degrees, and a some get so specific as to offer specialty MA's like "Audio for Film and TV." People are more formally educated now in audio production than ever before. You can't swing a cat without smacking a Full Sail or Columbia grad hoping to pay off a $100,000 loan by making minimum wage interning. And many were staked by their parents, so they work for free to get a foot in and make friends, locking out those who need the work.

Add to that distribution via internet, music company consolidation and closing of large commercial recording facilities, and the whole situation is far more complex and varied than ever before.
Old 9th May 2019
  #549
Lives for gear
 
Funny Cat's Avatar
I can't wait to wade into that future thread..."How did you keep your studio doors open?"

As informative as this thread is, I need to hear some good news after all this.
Old 9th May 2019
  #550
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutetourettes View Post
surely it mostly started as a hobby, though, for everyone involved? so maybe it has 'reverted'.
It started for many of us as a required class in school.
Old 9th May 2019
  #551
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
I can't wait to wade into that future thread..."How did you keep your studio doors open?"

As informative as this thread is, I need to hear some good news after all this.
It already exists! I'll bump it...
Chris
Old 11th May 2019
  #552
Gear Maniac
 

Damn what a ride!

Thanks for sharing everyone, most of what has been discussed resonates with my experience of growing up in a society built around a debt based currency..

Thanks again.. Great thread..
Old 28th May 2019
  #553
Lives for gear
 
BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funny Cat View Post
As informative as this thread is, I need to hear some good news after all this.
the good news thread is called

how did you studio STAY OPEN.

some very experienced people, giving very good ideas and advice, away for free.

actually helping the competition, which is rare, as mostly people keep those things to themselves.

Buddha
Old 3rd June 2019
  #554
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post

how did you studio STAY OPEN.
Diversification!

Just recording musicians in this age of home recording ain't enough any longer!
Old 1 week ago
  #555
Here for the gear
 
evancooney's Avatar
 

This is easily one of the best GS threads of all time. It's been cathartic and insightful to hear others stories. Almost like a support group for grieving former studio owners

Here's the mistakes I made, and the things I wish I knew before I opened my studio:https://studio.sound.farm

Some of these have already been stated by others, but*certainly bear repeating:


INVEST IN NEW GEAR SLOWLY...
... because most artists don't give a **** about your fancy gear


In order to complete with DIY bands and makeshift home studios, I theorized that buying the best gear would help me stand out and attract business. Turns out, most artists do not care, or even know about, the gear we lust over. I think in maybe a hundred bookings, I had 3 clients say they were really excited to sing through a U87 or mix/sum through a Neve 5059. I put nearly $70,000 into gear, and 3 years later realized that a $5,000 UA based rig sounds just about as good as all the outboard I owned.For artists, it’s about whether you helped actualize their sonic vision, not the tools you used to make it happen


DON'T (over) BUILD OUT A RENTAL SPACE
I put about 7k into HVAC, hardwood floors, an iso booth, etc. I still have my lease, but I can't ever really walk away from this lease without losing all that..


NEVER DO FLAT RATE WORK
It's hard as a new or struggling business to turn down work, but always charge an hourly rate. You'd be amazed how*much*faster and efficient sessions go when the bands realize "experiments" cost money. Also, if you're not careful, you can lose money on a session if the band/artist ends up being difficult and you don't have a contract/ revision policy in place.


MARKETING IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS QUALITY WORK
It's harder for emerging artists to get heard, so don't expect that amazing mix you slaved over all weekend will help bring in business when the band has 24 SoundCloud followers. Make sure you either hire someone or carve out time for marketing, networking at shows, etc. Keeping a flow of business is one of the biggest and most volatile challenges, so put a lot of energy to reign that beast in.


ARTISTS ARE VERY OFTEN BROKE
You will spend a lot of time chasing down clients to pay their bills. I always required a deposit, but getting the last bit was sometimes difficult, so bill as you go.


DON'T TRACK BANDS (unless you have an assistant and proper iso)
This one is more of personal preference, but running a tracking session by yourself with a full band who insists on recording live is an ENORMOUS amount of work. Also, the overhead of having a full locker of great mics and tons of pres is brutal, especially when they just sit there for most sessions


HAVE A CONTRACT OF DELIVERABLES
Write up what you will be offering, and what you won't be offering. Explain that things like making stems or pre-production are billable. Also, make sure they understand you are not an archive facility for their sessions, and can't recall their session two years from now because they need an instrumental mix for a sync placement.

DON'T SMOKE IN YOUR STUDIO
The after-stank of the rock band that was tracking all weekend does not vibe well with the corporate V/O session you have on Monday @ 9am. More than a few times I had to delay bookings to air out the studio…


This post DOES have a happy ending- Nov 1st I've decided to re-open my studio exclusively as a mix/overdub facility. Hopefully, I won't be writing another post one day about the next set of mistakes I made.
Old 1 week ago
  #556
Lives for gear
 
Funny Cat's Avatar
Nice post @ evancooney

Good luck with your new mix spot!
Old 1 week ago
  #557
Gear Addict
 
nuemes's Avatar
 

I'd started recording at age 13 on two track cassette and started reading Recording and Electronic Musician magazines each month at that time - that was my education, pre-internet.

At 18 I bought a Tascam 424 4-track cassette recorder, an AKG C1000S, SM57 and SM58 and started recording my own band and friends bands.

In my early 20's I bought an ADAT and slowly started buying used gear: C414uls, Soundcraft M8, Avalon M5.

In my late twenties I saved up and moved to Seattle during the Spring from the Bay Area - because Seattle was still cheap then - and rented a house with multi-room unfinished basement. The owner gave me carte blanche on the basement so I created a sealed off dry drum room with plexiglass for the musicians to see each other and had plenty of space to create amp closets.

I picked up some low budget group-buy mics to get my mic count to 8, a RNC, an EQ, created a website that offered a four song demo deal for $120 (8 hours with break for lunch, any additional time was $20/hour), befriended my neighbors, placed an ad in Craigslist each morning and crossed my fingers.

Things were going well enough a few months in that I upgraded (read: downgraded) to a DIGI 001, went through that nightmare, figured out how important AD/DA was, got a Lynx Aurora, Pacifica, UA pres, SM81's, etc.

By December I was steadily making over $4k/month, mainly from repeat business with a client who had a label deal. The hours were wild. I rarely saw the sun. I could not hear any music without analyzing it to death. I could turn on KEXP and likely tell you accurately which songs had a SM57 on the snare, which was starting to drive me nuts. The hours were enveloping me.

I was so busy that I got to a point that I often had to reject new business and refer them to other local studios.

Then Seattle had record rain, which flooded the basement. Nothing was damaged but it put an end to my run.

For that I am grateful. I got my ears and the sun back, likely some sanity too, and now focus on recording my own projects.
Old 1 week ago
  #558
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuemes View Post

Then Seattle had record rain, which flooded the basement. Nothing was damaged but it put an end to my run.

For that I am grateful. I got my ears and the sun back, likely some sanity too, and now focus on recording my own projects.
I do not believe for a minute getting out of the basement got the Sun back in Seattle.

Sincerely,
Portland
Old 1 week ago
  #559
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by evancooney View Post

DON'T SMOKE IN YOUR STUDIO
Can't be very good for your mics either I'll bet. I wonder if tobacco and marijuana smoke is one of the reasons expensive old studio mics "sound different"?
Old 1 week ago
  #560
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carllock's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dillweed View Post
You've got to own the building.
Putting massive amounts of money into a space that you rent is ludicrous.
A recipe for loosing your life savings.
This is why all us veteran mid to upper level guys are building in our house or property.

I even Book the occasional artist to stay at an AirBNB hotel near me.

I can take naps when I want, wife knows where I am, play with my dogs, no rent or non-business foot traffic on my mind...to me this is the best time ever to be an audio professional.

P.S.
One thing I would advise to anyone doing the home studio build...DONT BUILD IN A BASEMENT! It depresses one after some time.
Old 1 week ago
  #561
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by carllock View Post
This is why all us veteran mid to upper level guys are building in our house or property.
On residential zoning It's a great thing for those who can make it work, but this is an area where people do need to be careful IMO. In most metro areas, zoning regulations are pretty restrictive regarding home businesses in terms of square feet, % of the house, detached buildings, number of employees, number of clients, parking, noise and so on...It varies by local municipalities what the exact rules are, and definitely a lot of people are able to get away with more than what they are technically allowed. But whenever this get's put out online as a great way to go I think it's important to mention that people really should call their local building department or research "home-occupations" or "home base business" in the area to at least know what they are up against.

I know this isn't always a popular subject on here, but I think before investing a lot into a project it's a good idea to at least know if you are legal/protected, or just one phone call from a disgruntled neighbor/client/competitor away from being shut down.
Old 1 week ago
  #562
Lives for gear
 
thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LettingDaysGoBy View Post
I do not believe for a minute getting out of the basement got the Sun back in Seattle.

Sincerely,
Portland
Haha, for real!
Old 1 week ago
  #563
Lives for gear
 
ponzi's Avatar
Maybe this goes without saying, but the contract should be clear that customer gets zero product until they pay their bill in full. Once you give them the stuff--even rough mix, stems, whatever, you are just a beggar trying to get the rest of the payment. This is true of all businesses, but certainly in intellectual property. There is a wry saying that lawyers and prostitutes both know that the client is motivated to pay before the services are performed, not after...

Same goes for employees off or on the books. When my son was younger he went to work for a guy who sold old macs out of his townhouse--cash under the table type dea.. I guess dude would buy a pallet of old macs and get them running if possible and sell them. My son asked if this job was hinky, and the advice I gave to the person I love most in the world was "The day he does not pay you must be the last day you work for him." So, all others can take this advice even though I don't love you... Turns out it was a crappy job, but junior never got stiffed on wages.

I understand a lot of people here got killed by the overhead--lease, investments in equipment. But there were some comments here about collections, so I did my little sermon.
Old 1 week ago
  #564
Lives for gear
 
telecode's Avatar
Interesting thread. Interesting stories.

It sort of more sounds likes a why do SMB( small businesses) fail which are rules and pretty much apply to anyone and everyone who owns a small business. Most SMBs do indeed fail within 3 to 5 years. The reasons vary across the board, but the main reasons are people aren't any good are running an SMB or don't put the extra time into running it or just get tired of running it and want to do something else.

I have never run or owned a recording studio but I have run my IT consulting business for a long time which catered to the SMB to medium business markets in my region. ( I don't do it anymore because I have a full time job now and I don't want to be the guy going in and fixing the heavily ****ed up IT environments that small companies have allowed to creep up on them on my saturdays and sundays because i have the family and dont need the extra money).

But what I can share with community in this thread is -- if you are a wanna be "studio owner and operator" -- you need to look at it from the Economics point of view of what you actually really are and strip away the fancy music, entertainment and fun fluff that its wrapped up in away from it.

What you really want to be is a mall business owner offering a service to a specific market segment that is pretty narrow and focused. You are at a greater disadvantage because, compared to other SMBs, you have to incur a big nasty capital expenditure to compete with other SMBs offering your type of services. (The big room and estate space that the bedroom producers don't have!).

This scenario sort of reminds me of one of the customers I used to cater to. The small car manufacturing contractors that provide services to the large car makers and factories located in Southern Ontario. They are small business operations, but compared to a realtor who can just work from home in one office with a laptop and fax machine, these little car parts makers can't operate that way. They have to incur capital overhead in the form of a) they have up front capital expenses that they need to buy in order to get into the business -- have to purchase a large, loud, dirty piece of equipment that moulds steel and b) they need to house that piece of equipment somewhere because you can't put in a basement for obvious reasons -- so they incur commercial real estate lease expenses.

My point is, its probably good idea to, in addition to learning gear and reading the manuals and liking music -- you need to take a short how to run a small business course where you learn how to balance budget and think more like a small business owner instead of a gearslut addict. (There should be free ones offered by your government office that is mandated to stimulate small business activity in your local region. we have there here. basic free courses on how to budget and manage and how to properly pay your businesstaxes)

FWIW -- all the successful SMB owners I personally know are cheap. They go to dollar stores to buy office supplies and stock up on cases of cans of pop from large discount grocery stores that are having bulk specials so they can sell the can that they bought for 15 cents for a $1 or $2 when the time comes. ;-)
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