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Author Topic: The Studio as a Business  (Read 8142 times)

stevieeastend

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2005, 12:46:27 pm »

Bob Olhsson wrote on Fri, 30 December 2005 16:50



I've watched many many people build studios that lost money from the very beginning and finally went under because of there wasn't  enough coming in to keep the gear running. Some of these rooms were very busy right up to the end. It's an unfortunate fact of life that we all have to compete with people who think they can afford to lose money. The lesson in this is to concentrate on selling service rather than gear.



very true

Larrchild

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2005, 09:19:37 pm »

Quote:

I think engineers need to have a similarly-distinct relationship with the music their clients bring to the studio.

~Jules

You are a cunning linguist.

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Larry Janus
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pipelineaudio

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2005, 10:09:40 pm »

three staff per room???

spoiled bitches

Tidewater

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #33 on: January 01, 2006, 03:20:24 am »

Excellent!

Steve, what mic and pre would you suggest on a swinging dick? X-Y? Overhead? Man, I am funny..

In the smaller markets I have worked in compared, the work was sometimes slower, but the business can be more stable. Depends where that market is, I suppose. Maybe I have just seen good small markets. (lower fixed costs, similar rates)

One needs a lot less gear to make a good studio work, you need the must haves, and alot of work, then the gear comes down the line.

Just about like anything.

I hate 3rd party money, I'd never use an investor, unless I had grown a label, or was invited along with a dream team.

M
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springman

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2006, 01:09:51 am »

Great topic!  I'm going to have to print this thread up to give to my wife the next time she gives me the evil eye!

As someone who's managed to  grow and stay afloat for 20 years in the Boston studio market, here's a few things that have helped me along the way

1. My ego is a serious liability.  Whenever it shows up, I end up alienating clients and/or screwing myself. It mostly shows up as resentment when I'm feeling overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated, so I find ways in my life to do stuff ( playing gigs, family time, learning new instruments), that help keep things in perspective.  

2.  I can't afford a full-time, or even part-time staff. Freelance engineers that I trust hire the studio, have their own keys, and bring me work.  When I can't engineer the sessions myself, I have a pool of freelancers I call to do the session and handle the project.  I do the booking, schmooze the clients, handle the conflicts, kick butt when necessary, and I engineer about 50 hours a week.

3.  I've had very good experiences generally with interns, partly because I set high expectations for them, and demand they perform well.  It causes me some stress, but ultimately they do a lot of useful work for free, allowing me time for other things.  Some of my ex-interns are now gainfully employed as free-lancers with me and other studios.

4. I've always looked for ways to lower my monthly costs; I built my two room studio facility ( 4000 sq ft) with a carpenter friend. It costs about $3200 a month for the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and a little gear maintanence, after that I can feed my family.  Unlike many studios I compete with, I have no trust funds or gifts from my family to keep me going.

5.  When people come to see the studio for the first time ( wellspringsound.com)I tell them- "You're not getting a studio here, you're getting 20 years of obsessive behavior".  I think  people respond well to the idea that some guy lost sleep for 20 years trying to figure out ways for them to sound good.  This goes back to an earlier post about what we're selling in the studio biz-- service.  

Thanks to all-
Eric Kilburn
Wellspring Sound
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jason goz

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2006, 08:00:48 am »

''Knocking one day's income off every week is what really worries me. It's conceivable that this alone might drive the studio into the red, in which case I will have to go back to working every day.''
This worried me a bit at first because like you this is my life but when we had our second child i realisedd that i was killing myself.I have a reputation of man who is always there(@work)which in turn encouraged my customers not to plan ahead because they could always rely on me to be here (9am-10pm)but i have found that cutting back to five long days instead of six has not really affected the companys income,I also feel a lot better on a monday morning.Now i am a dad my kids are my life and Mastering comes second ,I still have not got the right work life balance but i am trying. Razz

chris haines

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #36 on: January 04, 2006, 04:32:05 am »

Steve, could you comment on how you handle down time?  Does the studio do spec deals with promising local bands/does the staff get to record their stuff for free?

Also, could you comment on what percentage of your business is booked locally/regionally 'cause Electrical is competitive with regard to price/quality vs. the percentage of studio time booked for your reputation...ie...'studio A with Steve Albini'

Thanks again for all of your candor and willingness to discuss your business.

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Rinkydink Audio, studio
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electrical

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #37 on: January 04, 2006, 04:53:47 am »

chris haines wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 04:32

Steve, could you comment on how you handle down time?  Does the studio do spec deals with promising local bands/does the staff get to record their stuff for free?


If the studios aren't in use there's always something else to be done. Upkeep, maintenance, repairs to the building, cleaning, painting... There's always something to do.

Quote:

Also, could you comment on what percentage of your business is booked locally/regionally 'cause Electrical is competitive with regard to price/quality vs. the percentage of studio time booked for your reputation...ie...'studio A with Steve Albini'

I have no idea what you're asking here.
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best,

steve albini
Electrical Audio
sa at electrical dot com
www.electrical.com

George_

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #38 on: January 04, 2006, 07:29:50 am »

Quote:

My job is to do a good job on whatever walks in the door, not just those bands of which I happen to be a fan. My taste in music is pretty fucked-up, and it would be a mistake to even allow my tastes to enter into the process, or I would have bands bring their normal music in here only for me to fuck it up to suit my tastes. I think it is a matter of professional obligation for me to suspend my tastes while I'm working for someone else, so that I can come to learn what it is they like and want out of their music. My tastes don't (or shouldn't) mean a damn thing.


hm.. well, because I am only a weekend eng. at the moment and it's a timeconsuming hobby I'm interested in bands I like.

actually I cant produce a poprecord (skill and taste-wise) because If I have to deal with popsinger-teeny idols I would have to vomit every time I hear the song..

I actually hate that music.. is this only a personalproblem, or something you grow out when you are getting older and wiser?

I mean it doesnt have to be metal from 6am to 6 pm but I dont like pop.. I dont like hiphop.. hm...

some comments here would be appreciated from your own experience;)

cheers and out
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chris haines

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #39 on: January 04, 2006, 08:13:43 am »

[quote title=electrical wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 10:53]
chris haines wrote on Wed, 04 January 2006 04:32



Quote:

Also, could you comment on what percentage of your business is booked locally/regionally 'cause Electrical is competitive with regard to price/quality vs. the percentage of studio time booked for your reputation...ie...'studio A with Steve Albini'

I have no idea what you're asking here.



On Electrical's website it looks like you can book studio A with or without you/staff or studio B with or without staff.  

I'd assume that the bands paying for Studio A with you engineering are paying more specifically 'cause they'd like to record with you, and this probably has less to do with the room (since it costs less per day than you) and more to do with your skills as an engineer.  

I'm curious to know how much of the booking is 'with Steve Albini' as opposed to renting the rooms with or without staff as it seems like it would be very difficult to run a similar operation without an engineer or producer with a good reputation to call it home and keep it booked...
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Rinkydink Audio, studio
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GoobAudio

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Re: The Studio as a Business
« Reply #40 on: January 04, 2006, 09:53:47 am »

 
Quote:

 electrical wrote on Thu, 29 December 2005 13:34

As an experiment, I have tried to give myself one day off a week for the first six months of 2006, and this has proven really difficult.
<snip>

I have not been able to manage the bookings to give me every Tuesday off, but I am trying to lighten my schedule slightly. We'll see how it goes.



Jeez Steve it is only January 4 2006 and there has only been one Tuesday so far this year.

Phil
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