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Where are all the recording studios going???
Old 12th September 2019
  #31
Gear Addict
 

A llama rancher from California bought mine along with the 20 acres it sat on (plus house in Michigan) 9 years ago. Haven't been by to see how the new sweaters like the building. Also the "talent" really started to take a back seat to "you can fix it in the computer".

g
Old 12th September 2019
  #32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 5cc75a2 View Post
classic deflection and smoke and mirrors right there. anyone defending either of those pirate crooks, and by definition that is precisely what they are, I seriously question their motives.
You can't have a civilised discussion if someone's going to respond by saying I'm not allowed a point of view!

You're totally entitled to your opinion, but the law states there's a legal distinction between someone who's actually pirating and someone who's in the business of selling a service.

If we were being paid $5/stream, would you still consider it "piracy"? of course not, that's a better return than any musician has ever made. So it's the boundaries/rates that are the issue, not the actual mechanism.

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as a professional in the music making business, of course I am bitter, but that does not negate any of my correctness.
Well, it does. It's clouding your judgement, charging your opinions with emotion instead of fact and forcing you to see the negative only.

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everything i said is publicly documented fact. saying and believing otherwise is turning a blind eye and living in denial. again, I seriously question the agenda at work here.
Just because someone doesn't agree with you, doesn't mean they're "in denial". I disproved (as far as we can tell without being accountants) one of your "facts" with a simple google.

Personally I have no "agenda". Personally I don't really get affected whether someone is streaming a song or buying it on iTunes; I'm still getting paid.

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we as a society enthusiastically allowed the crooks into our homes with open arms. piracy made it free. streaming made it free. free is good, right? the two combined, we have what he have today. but hey, today we live in a world where nobody cares (so long as they get theirs), so its par for the course. we made our bed...
As I said - your bitterness is making your blind to the positives. The major issue is the rate of pay per stream, and I agree that spotify etc trying to reduce that (as they did recently) is a bad thing of course. I just strongly disagree with your whole assertion that it's the same thing as piracy. Legally it's not; functionally it's not. You've got no leg to stand on there, other than you think the rates are too low; which I agree with. Fix that and everyone is happy (or they should be at least).
Old 12th September 2019
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Which is what I've always said - humans respond to carrots, not sticks. If instead of Metallica suing mums whose kids were downloading, we had the iTunes store straight away, I feel piracy in the western world at least wouldn't have been such a killer.

Well... there couldn't be an Itunes at the time as Apple and The Beatles had an agreement -
'Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business, and Apple Corps agreed not to enter the computer business'.

Apple went back on this agreement (nice) , and as rumoured tried to bankrupt The Beatles through the courts
for a few years.. Nice people...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_...Apple_Computer
Old 12th September 2019
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post

The place keeps going because the guy who owns it gets money from his father. Without that money-hose, the place would be gone in a few days! If you want to run a conventional studio, get yourself a money-hose.
I've seen this a couple of other times but the property appreciation
cancelled out any losses - they maybe thinking along those lines more
as a good sized plot in most major cities has been rocketing over the past while.
Old 13th September 2019
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P View Post
Well... there couldn't be an Itunes at the time as Apple and The Beatles had an agreement -
'Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business, and Apple Corps agreed not to enter the computer business'.

Apple went back on this agreement (nice) , and as rumoured tried to bankrupt The Beatles through the courts
for a few years.. Nice people...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_...Apple_Computer
That may be true, but it’s largely irrelevant - Google or anyone could have launched the service, the point is taking the stick approach without providing a legal option is dumb, and people making the rules never seem to learn this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P View Post
I've seen this a couple of other times but the property appreciation
cancelled out any losses - they maybe thinking along those lines more
as a good sized plot in most major cities has been rocketing over the past while.
Why not just mothball the studio and sit on the property then? Or turn it into something that might cover its costs - warehousing or offices?!
Old 13th September 2019
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post



Why not just mothball the studio and sit on the property then? Or turn it into something that might cover its costs - warehousing or offices?!
Because that's the son's passion in life and it's kept heated and maintained and
in 20 years time will probably be worth 10 or more times what they
initially paid for the building the way things are going.

We're talking about people who have many millions and many other
properties, investments, etc... The loss in gear versus the property is nothing..
Old 13th September 2019
  #37
Gear Nut
 
zooloop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doom64 View Post
Look at all of the top engineers giving seminars or who started up YouTube channels or sell their names to software companies. They're not doing that because business is booming. This is a tough, cut throat industry and it can be stressful. It's a boutique industry through and through.
It's definitely a tough, cut throat industry.

I don't really want to go to much in detail about how I know this, so I will not reveal names of artist/labels/mixers.

Major label artist who is very successful in his/hers territory and also quite successful internationally with 200 million plus streams for each of the two previous singles on Spotify.

The mix budget for the album was ridiculously small. It's a 12 track album and one of the big name mixers mixed the 2 "singles" and gets most of the money. The other mixers that mixed "the album" are also fairly well known. The budget for mixing the remaining 10 songs was the same as the mastering costs.

Last edited by zooloop; 13th September 2019 at 04:58 AM.. Reason: Spelling
Old 13th September 2019
  #38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P View Post
Because that's the son's passion in life and it's kept heated and maintained and
in 20 years time will probably be worth 10 or more times what they
initially paid for the building the way things are going.

We're talking about people who have many millions and many other
properties, investments, etc... The loss in gear versus the property is nothing..
I hear you, although I think you'll find the numbers don't work. If you're having to pump money in to keep the lights on, you could be wasting a substantial amount of that 10x value (even assuming there's no property crash). The son can follow his passion without needing a multimillion dollar studio build and an 88r.

As someone who's at close quarters with property empire owners, I know first hand people who own them generally don't think in the same terms. If the situation The Byre describes is correct, it's not a business decision nor is it wise - it's purely family support (or indulgence).

In a similar vein, I know a very rich business owner who funds his (30-something married) "kid" and his mate to make their music. He has delusions that they're aiming to put on 100-strong performances of this epic prog-rock-indian music. It's quite impressive stuff, though has zero mass appeal (makes dream theatre look like Ed Sheerhan) and they're going about it completely the wrong way as a business. Essentially he's funding his kid's lack of responsibility!
Old 13th September 2019
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I hear you, although I think you'll find the numbers don't work. If you're having to pump money in to keep the lights on, you could be wasting a substantial amount of that 10x value (even assuming there's no property crash). The son can follow his passion without needing a multimillion dollar studio build and an 88r.

As someone who's at close quarters with property empire owners, I know first hand people who own them generally don't think in the same terms. If the situation The Byre describes is correct, it's not a business decision nor is it wise - it's purely family support (or indulgence).

In a similar vein, I know a very rich business owner who funds his (30-something married) "kid" and his mate to make their music. He has delusions that they're aiming to put on 100-strong performances of this epic prog-rock-indian music. It's quite impressive stuff, though has zero mass appeal (makes dream theatre look like Ed Sheerhan) and they're going about it completely the wrong way as a business. Essentially he's funding his kid's lack of responsibility!
Interesting... I focus mainly on Indian Classical. I have recorded many of the greats. Want to connect me via PM?

-Neil
Old 13th September 2019
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I hear you, although I think you'll find the numbers don't work. If you're having to pump money in to keep the lights on, you could be wasting a substantial amount of that 10x value (even assuming there's no property crash).
I was quoting the Byre - the company he was quoting in the building makes 30 -50k a year which i'm sure is enough to keep the lights on as the owner probably doesn't have any life overheads due to other family investment streams otherwise it would be long gone by now - he said it was open many years ago.

The couple of people i've known do turn a profit in their buildings but have came from generational wealth and own many other properties, one's family even streets in London dating back many many generations, they have a very different mindset long term way of thinking than a father whose made good with a few buy to lets to fill.

ps apologies to the OP for derailing the subjective matter.
Old 13th September 2019
  #41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P View Post
I was quoting the Byre - the company he was quoting in the building makes 30 -50k a year which i'm sure is enough to keep the lights on as the owner probably doesn't have any life overheads due to other family investment streams otherwise it would be long gone by now - he said it was open many years ago.
Sure. But you're trying to justify that as some sort of smart business decision that'll pay back when the property increases in value. Which it isn't.

Byre also said it was £30k TURNOVER. Profit is likely to be way less; as for keeping the lights on, I don't think 30k is enough. Not for aircon for a large property, rates, staff etc.

It WOULD be long gone - if (according to Byre) it wasn't being propped up by cash investments. That's his point - it WON'T be covering it's costs. The numbers don't add up. It's essentially a vanity project - BUT - the crucial point he was making is that it's not financially viable to make a studio of that size workable, even near a big, media focussed, band populated city.

(arguably by being outside London, that automatically makes life 10 times harder, but within London costs are higher, competition is higher etc).

Quote:
The couple of people i've known do turn a profit in their buildings but have came from generational wealth and own many other properties, one's family even streets in London dating back many many generations, they have a very different mindset long term way of thinking than a father whose made good with a few buy to lets to fill.
I'm not sure who's father has buy to lets, or who's family has generational wealth, but what sane property investor pumps money into a property hoping the value will go up if there's ways to use said property to turn a profit in the meantime - UNLESS it's a total vanity project?

Doesn't matter where your money comes from, any way you write it it's a money hose pointing straight down the drain. Serious investors don't do things like that, wherever their money comes from. Your friend owning London streets didn't keep them by leaving them empty and renovating them every year for fun (which is essentially what you're doing with an empty studio), even if there may have been tactical decisions along the way!

Going back to the original point - it's not even very good to indulge the son's (who is a grown man I'm sure!) passion at this point - having an empty yet impressive studio lets everyone know you don't really know what you're doing!

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ps apologies to the OP for derailing the subjective matter.
It's not really derailing, it's discussing why studios often aren't profitable!
Old 13th September 2019
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Sure. But you're trying to justify that as some sort of smart business decision that'll pay back when the property increases in value. Which it isn't.

Byre also said it was £30k TURNOVER. Profit is likely to be way less; as for keeping the lights on, I don't think 30k is enough. Not for aircon for a large property, rates, staff etc.

It WOULD be long gone - if (according to Byre) it wasn't being propped up by cash investments. That's his point - it WON'T be covering it's costs. The numbers don't add up. It's essentially a vanity project - BUT - the crucial point he was making is that it's not financially viable to make a studio of that size workable, even near a big, media focussed, band populated city.

(arguably by being outside London, that automatically makes life 10 times harder, but within London costs are higher, competition is higher etc).
I'm not trying to justify anything.. I was just responding to Byre.

We know nothing about the property or age of the person or type of wealth of the family or type of Neve (could be an old used vr or a 53 series, newer lower consumption RND for all i know), size of paid staff if any etc.. just throwing a theory out there from previous studios i've used with middle aged owners with very wealthy backgrounds.. We all know a bigger facility is usually funded by other means in this day and age. Jungle City was opened with two thirds of the funds from outside property investers etc..

Last edited by Jack P; 13th September 2019 at 01:45 PM..
Old 13th September 2019
  #43
Lives for gear
Unfortunately, I am not going to layout whose studio that is or give out any further details. No, it was not an old manky VR and everything is spec'ed to be just the finest.

There is one major profitable studio in the UK - just one. It is in the heart of London and is only profitable because the owners were able to buy the building (long lease-hold) with contents for a song. 88R, pianos, Studers, large building, the lot for a few hundred thousand!

I am a businessman and it is my business to understand what is and is not profitable - and all other larger studios in the UK are not profitable. Some THINK that they are profitable, but then they come to someone like me and I show them that they must also place a value on the building and a value on their own time, i.e. take off a reasonable wage from what they are thinking of as profit. Then and only then can you get a proper P&L analysis laid out.

Most studios are today either running at a loss with or without their owners being aware of that - or they are tools being used for the generation of profit by other means. In that second category, I would place audio suites owned by film studios, large home studios owned by recording artists and all the smaller home studios being used for the generation of library music, samples, jingles and all that background commercial activity.

Studio owners are totally to blame here - we, as a breed, are remarkably good at spending money and pish-poor at earning money. And yes, I'm including myself here, but even we have had to change tack and diversify. Studio owners insist on having snob-value equipment, despite the fact that artists couldn't care less and the punters can't hear the difference between a Neumann and a Chinese knock-off and wouldn't know a Neve from a Behringer (apart from the smoke coming from the PSU, that is!)

Everything you need to record anything is either free or cheap - as in a few hundred dollars.

If you all want to earn money, you must concentrate on what goes on, on the OTHER side of the glass. This side has ceased to be! Recording music is today a consumer activity.

You must also realise that the punters want video with their audio and the sound in surround or 3D (Atmos, DTS-X, MPG-H, etc.)

I get a great deal of hate from my fellow audio people, but them's the market realities and you ignore them at your peril! Soon the only major reproduction device in the home will be the home cinema or large LED screen - Atmos-enabled and the punters will expect your product to appear on that screen and sound throughout the room.
Old 14th September 2019
  #44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P View Post
I'm not trying to justify anything.. I was just responding to Byre.

We know nothing about the property or age of the person or type of wealth of the family or type of Neve (could be an old used vr or a 53 series, newer lower consumption RND for all i know), size of paid staff if any etc.. just throwing a theory out there from previous studios i've used with middle aged owners with very wealthy backgrounds.. We all know a bigger facility is usually funded by other means in this day and age. Jungle City was opened with two thirds of the funds from outside property investers etc..
If it's the place I'm thinking of, it's an 88RS - brand new when buying it, and as Byre says it's top notch spec.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
Unfortunately, I am not going to layout whose studio that is or give out any further details. No, it was not an old manky VR and everything is spec'ed to be just the finest.

There is one major profitable studio in the UK - just one. It is in the heart of London and is only profitable because the owners were able to buy the building (long lease-hold) with contents for a song. 88R, pianos, Studers, large building, the lot for a few hundred thousand!
I'm not sure that's true. Although maybe it depends on your definition of "profitable" and "major". I can think of 3 or 4 off the top of my head that are not propped up in anyway that have been going successfully for years, and of course you have groups like Miloco who are running profitably and successfully.

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I am a businessman and it is my business to understand what is and is not profitable - and all other larger studios in the UK are not profitable. Some THINK that they are profitable, but then they come to someone like me and I show them that they must also place a value on the building and a value on their own time, i.e. take off a reasonable wage from what they are thinking of as profit. Then and only then can you get a proper P&L analysis laid out.
At the same time, I'd imagine you could make MORE from most buildings by turning it into housing or other commercial dealings....

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Most studios are today either running at a loss with or without their owners being aware of that - or they are tools being used for the generation of profit by other means. In that second category, I would place audio suites owned by film studios, large home studios owned by recording artists and all the smaller home studios being used for the generation of library music, samples, jingles and all that background commercial activity.
How can something be "running at a loss" without the owner being aware?

There's also a feedback loop - for example, the large studio might not be profitable without the smaller long term let production rooms in the complex (and may even be sitting empty or used for non-recording purposes much of the time), but without the availability of the large room, the smaller rooms are much less appealing/command a lower rate. It's then hard to analyse where the profit comes from.

(I'm sure YOU know this, others may not have thought about it!).

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Studio owners are totally to blame here - we, as a breed, are remarkably good at spending money and pish-poor at earning money. And yes, I'm including myself here, but even we have had to change tack and diversify. Studio owners insist on having snob-value equipment, despite the fact that artists couldn't care less and the punters can't hear the difference between a Neumann and a Chinese knock-off and wouldn't know a Neve from a Behringer (apart from the smoke coming from the PSU, that is!)
I think that might be true for the owner/operator attracting artists. For the commercial studio attracting producers and engineers, it's definitely a factor. I'm happy to use clones and such I know myself in my own space; but if I'm hiring a studio, I don't want a mic locker of might-sound-a-bit-similars that I don't know!

[quote]
If you all want to earn money, you must concentrate on what goes on, on the OTHER side of the glass. This side has ceased to be! Recording music is today a consumer activity.[/wuote]

Certainly in the lower to mid end of the market; and the high end is smaller than ever. But there's plenty of people still making a living in it! I don't know what it's like to get started now (maybe harder?) but I don't have an issue finding bands willing to drop money on proper recording, and paying for the studio time to do so. Not everyone wants to do things on the cheap.

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You must also realise that the punters want video with their audio and the sound in surround or 3D (Atmos, DTS-X, MPG-H, etc.)
Which takes serious expense and expertise to pull off properly, so isn't really an option for your average recordist just trying to keep the lights on Not to mention some of it undoubtably being a flash in the pan!

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I get a great deal of hate from my fellow audio people, but them's the market realities and you ignore them at your peril!
Mm, yes and no (no hate here, I just don't agree 100% with your analysis). The market may shrink, solidify around a few larger spaces and medium and everything else being production room based, but either bands will completely disappear or there'll always be a need to record them somehow. We've both lost and gained studios out here in Sydney in recent years, and the losses are more from building owners redeveloping than non-profitable situations.

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Soon the only major reproduction device in the home will be the home cinema or large LED screen - Atmos-enabled and the punters will expect your product to appear on that screen and sound throughout the room.
That's a massive misunderstanding of music use though isn't it? No-one ever sits down to listen to music...they listen on phones, on bluetooth speakers, on patio playback...assuming your casual listener. People don't and won't ever care about surround sound for music, or any playback system that means they can't just put things on in the background.

If I wanted to, I can already playback from spotify through my lounge system via apple TV AND to my airplay portable speaker...but I don't!
Old 14th September 2019
  #45
Lives for gear
A few points to be addressed -

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I'm not sure that's true. Although maybe it depends on your definition of "profitable" and "major". I can think of 3 or 4 off the top of my head that are not propped up in anyway that have been going successfully for years,
Not being propped up and being genuinely profitable are two different things entirely!

Enter blinking into the sunlight the concept of 'opportunity cost'!

In a good P&L account, there must be a figure placed against the final genuine net profit figure that answers a simple question - "What is the next most profitable thing we could being with these resources/capital and how much net profit would we get from that next-best-thing?"

If that figure is higher than our present net profit, we must either (1) bring our present activity up to that figure, or (2) do the next-best-thing and do it now!

e.g. Abbey Road is paying its way - but profitable it am not! As it has a preservation order on it, Universal cannot get shot of the thing and so they are stuck with what is, in reality, a great white elephant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
How can something be "running at a loss" without the owner being aware?
The same way a souvenir shop at some tourist attraction (real case study here!) run by a husband and wife team was running at a loss.

On paper, they were earning a gross profit after all costs were subtracted of c.a. £40,000. They paid themselves £10,000 each to cover state pension schemes and other payroll obligations without actually having to pay them or pay taxes on their income. That left £20,000 company profit on which they paid c.a. £4,000 corporation tax.

So our couple thought they had a gross profit of £40,000 and a net profit of £36,000. £3,000 a month gave them a comfortable income, two nice cars and a nice home. So far, so good.

Except when they wanted to retire and sell the business, nobody wanted a shop that is running at a loss.

In reality, what they were trying to sell were two very low-paid jobs and there really isn't much of a market for those!

I can already hear the cries of FTF??? OK, the real calculation looks like this -

Both were working about 60 hours a week, so it was not two jobs but three. Without going into the filthy details, an employee on minimum wage in the UK costs at least £400 a week (remember pension rights, NI contributions and payroll taxes, then add sickness, holidays, maternity leave and a few other things!) In Germany that figure is at least 50% more!

So now we are at three jobs costing us about £21,000 p.a. to run a shop that brings in £40,000. That is a loss of £23,000 each and every year. (And I don't see much hope for a business using the sort of staff who will work for just minimum wage!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
the losses are more from building owners redeveloping than non-profitable situations.
The owners of large buildings employ people like me to calculate their opportunity costs - stupid they am not either!

Some nutter running a studio and scratching together A$6,000 a month for an old converted cinema is hardly an inviting business proposition when we could build a block of condos there and get the same sum for each and every apartment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
People don't and won't ever care about surround sound for music, or any playback system that means they can't just put things on in the background.
And I remember being told by cinema owners back in the 60s that surround sound for cinemas is just a gimmick and will never catch on!

Then I also remember back in the late 90s being told by none other than Helmut Thoma (MD of RTL Television in Germany at the time) that

(1) Digital television will not take off. He condemned it as 'Digital Mad Cow Disease!'

(2) High definition television is pointless and stupid. "Hardly anyone can see the difference!"

The latest sound-bar technology from Sennheiser and others (but the new thing from Sennheiser is the real deal!) produces 3D sound throughout a room from just one box.
Old 15th September 2019
  #46
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doom64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P View Post
We all know a bigger facility is usually funded by other means in this day and age. Jungle City was opened with two thirds of the funds from outside property investers etc..
Yes sir. Here in the States, colleges have very nice facilities. The bills are footed mostly by this federal government loan program:

https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoa...ype=parentPlus

Pretty easy to make money when you're being paid by the currency printers.
Old 15th September 2019
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
A few points to be addressed -



Not being propped up and being genuinely profitable are two different things entirely!

Enter blinking into the sunlight the concept of 'opportunity cost'!

In a good P&L account, there must be a figure placed against the final genuine net profit figure that answers a simple question - "What is the next most profitable thing we could being with these resources/capital and how much net profit would we get from that next-best-thing?"

If that figure is higher than our present net profit, we must either (1) bring our present activity up to that figure, or (2) do the next-best-thing and do it now!

e.g. Abbey Road is paying its way - but profitable it am not! As it has a preservation order on it, Universal cannot get shot of the thing and so they are stuck with what is, in reality, a great white elephant.
But that's a different thing - you're comparing profitable and non-profitable vs profitable and could be much better!

I guess the difference is - If I have a studio that pays its way, pays me a wage and makes me happy, that's better than having an apartment complex that pays me more and bores me to tears running it.

Or it's a bit like being CEO of a charity - you get paid well, but you could be being paid much better being CEO of a bank. So is it the wrong thing to do, or is the job satisfaction/moral satisfaction worth the tradeoff?


Quote:
The same way a souvenir shop at some tourist attraction (real case study here!) run by a husband and wife team was running at a loss.

On paper, they were earning a gross profit after all costs were subtracted of c.a. £40,000. They paid themselves £10,000 each to cover state pension schemes and other payroll obligations without actually having to pay them or pay taxes on their income. That left £20,000 company profit on which they paid c.a. £4,000 corporation tax.

So our couple thought they had a gross profit of £40,000 and a net profit of £36,000. £3,000 a month gave them a comfortable income, two nice cars and a nice home. So far, so good.

Except when they wanted to retire and sell the business, nobody wanted a shop that is running at a loss.

In reality, what they were trying to sell were two very low-paid jobs and there really isn't much of a market for those!

I can already hear the cries of FTF??? OK, the real calculation looks like this -

Both were working about 60 hours a week, so it was not two jobs but three. Without going into the filthy details, an employee on minimum wage in the UK costs at least £400 a week (remember pension rights, NI contributions and payroll taxes, then add sickness, holidays, maternity leave and a few other things!) In Germany that figure is at least 50% more!

So now we are at three jobs costing us about £21,000 p.a. to run a shop that brings in £40,000. That is a loss of £23,000 each and every year. (And I don't see much hope for a business using the sort of staff who will work for just minimum wage!)
Yeah that makes sense. Again its passion vs outright capitalism. That shop might have been worth it for the husband and wife team owner-operators, but not for an investor looking to employ others!


Quote:
The owners of large buildings employ people like me to calculate their opportunity costs - stupid they am not either!

Some nutter running a studio and scratching together A$6,000 a month for an old converted cinema is hardly an inviting business proposition when we could build a block of condos there and get the same sum for each and every apartment!
Again, same thing - I don't think you'll find anyone arguing that running a studio is the thing you do for capitalist reasons!

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And I remember being told by cinema owners back in the 60s that surround sound for cinemas is just a gimmick and will never catch on!
Did they tell you the same thing about SACD 5.1 audio?! Cinema is something else - you sit there and watch. pure listening environments? I guess surround sound that works over headphones is a potential still...but the idea of surround for purely audio that involves fixed speakers and a static listener is clearly never going to happen.

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Then I also remember back in the late 90s being told by none other than Helmut Thoma (MD of RTL Television in Germany at the time) that

(1) Digital television will not take off. He condemned it as 'Digital Mad Cow Disease!'

(2) High definition television is pointless and stupid. "Hardly anyone can see the difference!"
Yeah, that's a bit short sighted - I don't really know what to say other than I don't think his view would have been shared by other more forward thinkers. Didn't have anything to say about 3D cinema, or definitely 3D TV at home did he? both quietly dying (particularly 3D TV).

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The latest sound-bar technology from Sennheiser and others (but the new thing from Sennheiser is the real deal!) produces 3D sound throughout a room from just one box.
I can't say I've heard it. It'll be interesting to hear - these things have always been a bit smeary and fudged in the past..and what happens when you leave the room?!
Old 15th September 2019
  #48
When I first started into business I had to make up a "business plan" which included potential income vs expenses. The first five years we were able to stick to the business plan but things went down hill from there and really went down in 2008. With the rise of DIY and the unprofitably of the music industry in general things went from just OK to ??? We have diversified and diversified over and over again. It is still hard to make a buck and if we break even at the end of a year I am happy. I see in the pages of MIX magazine all the new studios being built, but if you read deeper a lot of these are at educational institutions or home studios for the rich and famous. Not a good time for studio owners due to rising costs and failing to meet income projections due to lack of clients.

The local college just built a 20 million dollar jazz building with a 10 million dollar studio as part of the cost. The studio is used for recordings, for lectures, for concerts, for classes and for meetings. I doubt that if it were not part of the college it would be able to sustain itself in today's world. FWIW.
Old 16th September 2019
  #49
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 

Great up-to-date thread concerning reality perspectives of engineer owned/operated studios around the World.
Old 16th September 2019
  #50
Lives for gear
Some important points here that really need to be addressed -

This thread is asking where are all the studios going? The true answer is that they are hitting the brick wall of commercial reality. There are those who think that there is somehow a magic world where we can potter about running a lifestyle business and it will all work out OK somehow. If you are rich and you've got a money-hose, fine. It's a nice hobby that sometimes pays towards its costs!

For everyone else, please remember the words of Ayn Rand - “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

To claim that opportunity costs are not real costs is to fly in the face of economic reality. If I have $1m to invest in a business, I can put it into a (loss-making?) studio, start a (hopefully) profitable business, or I can simply stick it into a growth fund and leave it there. If the growth fund would have given me 5% p.a. then all other alternatives must be measured against that 5%, if I am to work out if they are genuinely more profitable than doing nothing.

Doing nothing would earn you $50,000 p.a. less inflation of about $20,000.

There is nothing wrong with spending about $1m on a recording studio - I should know! But I am not under any illusion about the profitability of a studio.

As for schools and colleges opening state-of-the-art studios - that is all part of the Great American (and British) Education Scam. Some pointless vocational degree at a no-name college but in a windswept and groovy subject!

"Here at the Wysuckie College for the Totally Dumb, gain vital college credits for money paid!"

All part of the Dewie, Cheatem & Howe group of companies!
Old 16th September 2019
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
Some important points here that really need to be addressed -

This thread is asking where are all the studios going? The true answer is that they are hitting the brick wall of commercial reality. There are those who think that there is somehow a magic world where we can potter about running a lifestyle business and it will all work out OK somehow. If you are rich and you've got a money-hose, fine. It's a nice hobby that sometimes pays towards its costs!

For everyone else, please remember the words of Ayn Rand - “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

To claim that opportunity costs are not real costs is to fly in the face of economic reality. If I have $1m to invest in a business, I can put it into a (loss-making?) studio, start a (hopefully) profitable business, or I can simply stick it into a growth fund and leave it there. If the growth fund would have given me 5% p.a. then all other alternatives must be measured against that 5%, if I am to work out if they are genuinely more profitable than doing nothing.

Doing nothing would earn you $50,000 p.a. less inflation of about $20,000.

There is nothing wrong with spending about $1m on a recording studio - I should know! But I am not under any illusion about the profitability of a studio.

As for schools and colleges opening state-of-the-art studios - that is all part of the Great American (and British) Education Scam. Some pointless vocational degree at a no-name college but in a windswept and groovy subject!

"Here at the Wysuckie College for the Totally Dumb, gain vital college credits for money paid!"

All part of the Dewie, Cheatem & Howe group of companies!
Very well said and lots of important points.

I am not sure how long "commercial recordings" can be done in stand alone professional studios. It is just too expensive for the studio operators to maintain a facility with a just a few clients. There are the THE BIG "once in a while" clients but you cannot support a full studio with no ongoing income. IMHO there are too many semi pro and DIY studios today who are doing recordings for literally nothing because they are hobby studios or musician maintained studios and they are paid for by the hobbyist or musician and any income is gravy.

Glad I got to see the whole picture from the 60s the present. It was certainly a roller coaster ride for many.

Thanks for your keen insight.
Old 17th September 2019
  #52
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
Some important points here that really need to be addressed -

This thread is asking where are all the studios going? The true answer is that they are hitting the brick wall of commercial reality. There are those who think that there is somehow a magic world where we can potter about running a lifestyle business and it will all work out OK somehow. If you are rich and you've got a money-hose, fine. It's a nice hobby that sometimes pays towards its costs!

For everyone else, please remember the words of Ayn Rand - “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

To claim that opportunity costs are not real costs is to fly in the face of economic reality. If I have $1m to invest in a business, I can put it into a (loss-making?) studio, start a (hopefully) profitable business, or I can simply stick it into a growth fund and leave it there. If the growth fund would have given me 5% p.a. then all other alternatives must be measured against that 5%, if I am to work out if they are genuinely more profitable than doing nothing.

Doing nothing would earn you $50,000 p.a. less inflation of about $20,000.

There is nothing wrong with spending about $1m on a recording studio - I should know! But I am not under any illusion about the profitability of a studio.

As for schools and colleges opening state-of-the-art studios - that is all part of the Great American (and British) Education Scam. Some pointless vocational degree at a no-name college but in a windswept and groovy subject!

"Here at the Wysuckie College for the Totally Dumb, gain vital college credits for money paid!"

All part of the Dewie, Cheatem & Howe group of companies!
I wouldn’t disagree with that. I think you can RUN a studio profitably. I think building one properly from scratch and expecting to to become profitable is a lost cause. You can also run yourself as a studio/business profitably (lots of us do that!).

I don’t always thing measuring what you might make from a given business against what else you could do with the money is the right thing however. It truly depends on what you value, and for some of us “enough” money and a job you enjoy is better than “maximum” money and hating every minute at work.

The difference between a business as an investor, and a business as an owner/operator.
Old 17th September 2019
  #53
Here for the gear
 

This thread makes me sad and contemplative...

But tomorrow I'll go to work - work longer than most of my friends in tech jobs, juggle multiple things at once, and get paid less than I should. But, I'm still happier than when I worked for said tech companies.... but now I have a baby son... so more contemplation... some sadness.
Old 17th September 2019
  #54
Lives for gear
There can be light at the end of the tunnel -

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvg View Post
This thread makes me sad and contemplative...

But tomorrow I'll go to work - work longer than most of my friends in tech jobs, juggle multiple things at once, and get paid less than I should. But, I'm still happier than when I worked for said tech companies.... but now I have a baby son... so more contemplation... some sadness.
Yes, and I'm sorry about that! So to hell with all that negativity - let's be positive here for a change!

If you want to build up a business that will actually create future equity and be a comfort to you and your family in years to come - diversify!

Those here with their own studios do not have to sit around and wait for Godot or the Money Fairy to alight on their shoulders, here are a couple of money-making ideas that I KNOW work and can be integrated into an existing studio environment -
Product manufacture.
  • Manufacture. Make something simple and straight forward that solves a problem that you and/or others have had for which there is no Gizmo available on the market. e.g. a passive volume control for 5.1 and 7.1 audio feeds. A different and better surround-sound single or double box speaker system. An HDMI or DMI to analogue surround converter with volume control. A ribbon mic with an extra-long ribbon for bass cabs and bass fiddles. These are real man-in-a-shed type of products that you could be making, just remember to get all that CE and FCC certification. Also remember that a funky little product enhances your studio's reputation!
  • Music School. For three years we ran a profitable music school. All those aspirant middle classes - you know the ones, they deliver their spoilt kids in Audi SUVs and need park-assist to do a U-turn in a football field - they want their sprogs to learn trumpet or violin, piano or saxophone, kazoo even! They are less keen on guitar as it encourages independent thoughts and dope use. Just make them pay a subscription, rather than by the lesson, otherwise, they haggle over every session they've missed and you still have to have the teacher there costing you money. Young qualified female teachers are the best and cause fewer problems. Retired male music teachers tend to try to steal the customers!
  • Film and video. The music school has now had to make way for a film studio. Have you ever seen some of the pish-poor videos that are being made for corporate customers? And the audio is invariably crap! Come on, we all could do better! You can pick up 4K cameras for a song and even real professional cameras with 6K sensors start at under $3,000. Remember to budget for a workstation, lights and grips (stands, dollies, jibs, etc.) and learn the basics of framing and lighting.
  • Live concert recording with video. You can now get AI-driven cameras that follow the action all by themselves and so all you need is a basic multitracker and a splitter box and some audience mics and a couple of guys helping with cameras. Most gigs of this sort can be covered with a 24-track recorder - so stick with that and keep yourself affordable! Modern video software auto-syncs using the audio as a guide so no need for word-clock or other complications from yesteryear!
There, that's my list of four things off the top of my head that you can be doing to not just keep the wolf from the studio door, but actually earn a real profit like a proper business!

So what are you waiting for? Come on! Let's go!
Old 17th September 2019
  #55
Gear Maniac
 

Never tried to do the studio thing myself - doing a simple swot analysis in college suggested I'd be far better off investing in lottery tickets.

Mate of mine was doing quite well though. Despite not being in one of the big cities, he was able to build the business up to the point of having too much work.

But last I heard, he was working on moving on to something else non audio related with a much bigger payoff.
Old 17th September 2019
  #56
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
There can be light at the end of the tunnel -



Yes, and I'm sorry about that! So to hell with all that negativity - let's be positive here for a change!

If you want to build up a business that will actually create future equity and be a comfort to you and your family in years to come - diversify!

Those here with their own studios do not have to sit around and wait for Godot or the Money Fairy to alight on their shoulders, here are a couple of money-making ideas that I KNOW work and can be integrated into an existing studio environment -
Product manufacture.
  • Manufacture. Make something simple and straight forward that solves a problem that you and/or others have had for which there is no Gizmo available on the market. e.g. a passive volume control for 5.1 and 7.1 audio feeds. A different and better surround-sound single or double box speaker system. An HDMI or DMI to analogue surround converter with volume control. A ribbon mic with an extra-long ribbon for bass cabs and bass fiddles. These are real man-in-a-shed type of products that you could be making, just remember to get all that CE and FCC certification. Also remember that a funky little product enhances your studio's reputation!
  • Music School. For three years we ran a profitable music school. All those aspirant middle classes - you know the ones, they deliver their spoilt kids in Audi SUVs and need park-assist to do a U-turn in a football field - they want their sprogs to learn trumpet or violin, piano or saxophone, kazoo even! They are less keen on guitar as it encourages independent thoughts and dope use. Just make them pay a subscription, rather than by the lesson, otherwise, they haggle over every session they've missed and you still have to have the teacher there costing you money. Young qualified female teachers are the best and cause fewer problems. Retired male music teachers tend to try to steal the customers!
  • Film and video. The music school has now had to make way for a film studio. Have you ever seen some of the pish-poor videos that are being made for corporate customers? And the audio is invariably crap! Come on, we all could do better! You can pick up 4K cameras for a song and even real professional cameras with 6K sensors start at under $3,000. Remember to budget for a workstation, lights and grips (stands, dollies, jibs, etc.) and learn the basics of framing and lighting.
  • Live concert recording with video. You can now get AI-driven cameras that follow the action all by themselves and so all you need is a basic multitracker and a splitter box and some audience mics and a couple of guys helping with cameras. Most gigs of this sort can be covered with a 24-track recorder - so stick with that and keep yourself affordable! Modern video software auto-syncs using the audio as a guide so no need for word-clock or other complications from yesteryear!
There, that's my list of four things off the top of my head that you can be doing to not just keep the wolf from the studio door, but actually earn a real profit like a proper business!

So what are you waiting for? Come on! Let's go!
We do audio and video recordings of classical concerts and we do commercial productions for local merchants. Neither are real "money makers", I am sorry to say. Cheap HD video cameras, free video editing software, people volunteering to do the video taping of the concerts for free and also do the post production and the local college having HD cameras to DVDs in every venue has cut our local concert recordings to basically zero.

We were doing some recording for a regional orchestra in Lorain but they were only willing to pay basically nothing and wanting us to record them all over Northern Ohio for $200.00 a concert even if the concert was 50 to 75 miles from here.

As to commercial productions...same story no one wants to pay for quality anymore. They do it themselves and say it is good enough to put up on YouTube so they don't want to spend the money on professional productions. One person even did his entire commercial on his IPAD. It is hard to compete with "FREE".

Maybe in a larger town or in a different country this could work but not here and not now.

FWIW
Old 17th September 2019
  #57
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Byre View Post
There can be light at the end of the tunnel -



Yes, and I'm sorry about that! So to hell with all that negativity - let's be positive here for a change!

If you want to build up a business that will actually create future equity and be a comfort to you and your family in years to come - diversify!

Those here with their own studios do not have to sit around and wait for Godot or the Money Fairy to alight on their shoulders, here are a couple of money-making ideas that I KNOW work and can be integrated into an existing studio environment -
Product manufacture.
  • Manufacture. Make something simple and straight forward that solves a problem that you and/or others have had for which there is no Gizmo available on the market. e.g. a passive volume control for 5.1 and 7.1 audio feeds. A different and better surround-sound single or double box speaker system. An HDMI or DMI to analogue surround converter with volume control. A ribbon mic with an extra-long ribbon for bass cabs and bass fiddles. These are real man-in-a-shed type of products that you could be making, just remember to get all that CE and FCC certification. Also remember that a funky little product enhances your studio's reputation!
  • Music School. For three years we ran a profitable music school. All those aspirant middle classes - you know the ones, they deliver their spoilt kids in Audi SUVs and need park-assist to do a U-turn in a football field - they want their sprogs to learn trumpet or violin, piano or saxophone, kazoo even! They are less keen on guitar as it encourages independent thoughts and dope use. Just make them pay a subscription, rather than by the lesson, otherwise, they haggle over every session they've missed and you still have to have the teacher there costing you money. Young qualified female teachers are the best and cause fewer problems. Retired male music teachers tend to try to steal the customers!
  • Film and video. The music school has now had to make way for a film studio. Have you ever seen some of the pish-poor videos that are being made for corporate customers? And the audio is invariably crap! Come on, we all could do better! You can pick up 4K cameras for a song and even real professional cameras with 6K sensors start at under $3,000. Remember to budget for a workstation, lights and grips (stands, dollies, jibs, etc.) and learn the basics of framing and lighting.
  • Live concert recording with video. You can now get AI-driven cameras that follow the action all by themselves and so all you need is a basic multitracker and a splitter box and some audience mics and a couple of guys helping with cameras. Most gigs of this sort can be covered with a 24-track recorder - so stick with that and keep yourself affordable! Modern video software auto-syncs using the audio as a guide so no need for word-clock or other complications from yesteryear!
There, that's my list of four things off the top of my head that you can be doing to not just keep the wolf from the studio door, but actually earn a real profit like a proper business!

So what are you waiting for? Come on! Let's go!
that's all well and good - but only ONE of those things is actually involved in a studio! the rest of it is stopping you using your studio!

Personally, I'm rubbish at making things, I'm worse at video, last thing I want to do is teach kids music, and whilst I don't mind the occasional masterclass I don't really want to teach them music tech either.

The "concert recording" thing is fine - IF you partner with someone good for video.

All these things are kind of become a slightly average jack of all trades that might keep your physical building open, but will basically give you jobs that you might not be very good at, and stop you doing studio work. Personally I'd rather just jack the studio in and find a job that pays really well with minimal time constraints, and keep studio stuff as a hobby. Time wise you'd be better off, and might even find a job you enjoy doing!

Of course, if someone is talented in video production, or loves building things, then that IS an obvious thing to do. But it makes assumptions.

One thing you didn't mention - build in production rooms to your studio (I think I mentioned this already). Long term lets bring money in, the main studio is a bonus to the rooms and the rooms are a bonus to the main studio...it's kept many a famous studio afloat! just about ALL larger London studios have long term production room clients. Build the rooms right and it's win/win - you don't even have to provide gear!
Old 19th September 2019
  #58
Lives for gear
 
boombapdame's Avatar
 

What @ Thomas W. Bethe was the whole picture and were you part of that roller coaster ride and who else was?

Name @ zooloop names!
Old 19th September 2019
  #59
Lives for gear
 
boombapdame's Avatar
 

What @ Thomas W. Bethe was the whole picture and were you part of that roller coaster ride and who else was?

Name @ zooloop names!
Old 19th September 2019
  #60
Gear Nut
 
zooloop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
Name @ zooloop names!
I'm afraid I'm not going to name names. The people involved are hard working professionals and out of respect for them the last thing I want to do is publish their rates for that album on the internet.
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