Starting a recording studio business

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Starting a recording studio business


Postby howiedrum » Thu, 2023-Jul-06, 02:20

Hi Stuart, Jennifer, and Starlight!

I can't remember when I posted last but it has been a while. Hope all is well with you all. I hope to post on the completed studio page soon, but first I want to pick your brains about the new studio business partnership I am about to enter.

My studio was completed in the summer of 2020. You probably don't remember, but it is a one room studio and has been used as a rehearsal space for my various groups for whom I drum for. I have done some live multi-tracking too, which has been so fun, and I love the art of mixing. And, my space has been complemented by a few local sound engineers, who feel it is the best sounding space in our area! The cost was a small fortune, but I love it! Life changer!

Anyhow, I need to make more money. Inflation is killing me and I can't sustain a living as a musician and part-time music professor, so I have decided to partner up with a talented sound engineer and guitarist with whom I play with. He just started his own recording studio, but his space is small and dingy, but his mics, preamps, and other gear is really nice and his mixes sound great. So the idea is for him to move his gear into my studio and to start a recording studio business and basically split expenses and any profits 50/50. His job would be to record and run all sessions and my job would be to provide the space, my gear, and my numerous drums and percussion instruments. He would also mix and master if requested.

We had our first brainstorming session together today and created this list:
- Split everything 50/50
- Tracking only in my studio, or do both mix and track? (my desk is on wheels, so we can move it during sessions and then have a mix station after)
- Publicity (Social media, Social media ads, website, flyers, business cards)
- Complete list of all our gear
- Promote drum tracking and the vintage drums and percussion available
- Possibly rent as a rehearsal space (not sure wife will agree. The studio is 100 ft. from house, but still. Maybe build a fence).
- Move acoustic piano into space? (He has an upright)
- How to deal with loud guitarists and possible bleed (he mentioned building a small guitar-like isolation booth. I forget the term.)
- What to charge? Thinking $60 per hour to begin. We are a small city/county college town. Only have 136,000 residents and worry about starting too high.
- Insurance

Well any advice or things to add to our list would be great.

Thanks for everything!!!


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Starting a recording studio business


Postby gullfo » Thu, 2023-Jul-06, 12:25

consider also working with other service providers (redwood tours, boating, etc) to provide reasons for out of town folks to come and stay and record (and of course on-line mixes, and online we add drums etc type services)

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Starting a recording studio business


Postby howiedrum » Fri, 2023-Jul-07, 01:12

Hi Gullfo,

Thanks. Those are some good ideas.

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Starting a recording studio business


Postby endorka » Fri, 2023-Jul-07, 02:53

I remember your studio Howie, it is a proper place! I look forward to reading your post in the finished studios section.

All sounds good to me. You probably already know this, but before doing anything serious, for the benefit of both parties, I'd suggest getting your business partnership agreement in writing. Not always fun when you're full of enthusiasm and want to get going, but it can be of benefit long term.

For several years I recorded everything in my control room, and it can work well - your desk on wheels will serve you well. Having another isolated room is a huge benefit though, especially if you are recording people of varied ability, or simply those who are uncertain if they want to keep a part they are recording in the final mix. Without the isolation bleed into other mics might prevent this. It doesn't just apply to loud electric guitars though, for example you might have an acoustic group recording along with a guide vocal, the intention being to replace the guide vocal later. The guide vocal will be in everyone else's mics. A powerful singer can easily bleed into drum overhead mics even in a loud rock band!

For these reasons alone it would be worth buying or building some decent gobos with plexiglass windows. You can construct small booths from those. Make them 7.5 or even 8 feet tall if possible to accommodate tall singers standing up.

I remember your studio being quite large, so it might even be useful to build a proper booth there as well.

For what you can charge, it depends on many things. What do competitors charge? How well known are you and your partner in the area? What does your partner currently charge? As you'll be splitting 50/50, he'll have to see an increase in his total income to offset the share of the mixing work he'll be giving to you.

For promotion, how familiar are you with the local music scene? Are you involved? Do you regularly play and / or attend gigs? If you want them to be interested in you, it helps if you're interested in them.

Get a good tea & coffee station!


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