How much gear is enough??

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Cucco, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Since day one of the inception of my recording company, I haven't been fortunate enough to actually pay myself on dime. Yeah, I take myself out to dinner on the company and every once in a while buy my wife flowers on the company dime, but other than that, every penny goes into buying gear.

    I came to the realization the other day that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I might soon have all the gear that I find "essential" to do the job as well as the sufficient amount necessary to cover my bases in the event the unexpected gig pops up.

    I'm curious - how do many of you balance your constant need for gear with your need for food, clothing, shelter, etc.?

    Am I the only one out there who does this stuff as a labor of love and not for any real profit? Frankly, I'd like to make $40K a year doing this stuff. (Which, if you know the cost of living in the Northern Virginia area, you know $40K is a joke. I've seen townhouses - 1600 sq feet of poorly constructed crap - selling for $900,000!!!!!)

    Is there money to be made doing this, or do I really need to keep my day job??

    J...
     
  2. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Hey J,

    I've owned a "pro" studio for over 22 years and know exactly what you're talking about. Fortunately, we've been able to stay quite profitable for most of those years by only buying gear that will show a return-on-investment in a very short time.

    Although it is a labor-of-love for me also, I still run it like any other business. In today's very turbulent studio scene, it's very easy to pick up great quality gear for next to nothing. I pay closer attention to the studios that are suffering, than my "thriving" competitors. For two reasons, one, I don't want to make the same mistakes and two, They are going to eventually have a fire-sale and I want to be first in line.

    Of course, all studios should consider diversifying. We have in-house cd duplication that helps pay the rent. We also free-lance in our client's home studios for a fair price. We bring racks of cool mic pre's/compressor/mics ect and do whatever we can to stay in the loop.

    I would say that at least 25% of my billable hours occur at a client's personal studio.

    My .02

    Chris
     
  3. QuickDiscs

    QuickDiscs Guest

    hard days living

    I completely understand Cucco, I work my butt off at what I do and have just enough money for a piece of gear or a car repair ones in a bluemoon. Forth car repair in two months 1,000 motor, 600. Cam crap, 450. starter and things, ????? Transmission, time for new car.
    I work very hard at my recording company but its hard to get the big paying gigs at any level of this business. I mostly go on the road and do live sound for 5 months of the summer because the money is guaranteed 1000 a week for 5 months. I hate do theses loud overly long days (some 32 hours) but I need the money for rent, cars, gear, life, etc.

    Last year I did a live 80 track remote recording, that was very difficult but it made me a dinner maybe two.

    I have to do anything I can to make money. I do live sound FOH, Monitors, Roadie, Truck Drive, Productions Manager, Follow Spot what very I have to, And I'm not a whore like some guys in my town that will work for anything (bastards) I'm respected at what I do its just very hard to get money out of clients.

    I record school students and sell parents CD's that makes me most of my money, outside my summer touring season.

    I'm sure people will chime in and say O I make tons of money or you should just charge more, but we all no it's not that easy and many of them are full of crap.

    Iv been in this business for twelve years now full time Iv seen a lot of stuff and a lot of people come and go.

    Its very hard to make a good living in the music business nowadays. Stick to your guns and will all turn out ok. :D
     
  4. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Hey Quickdiscs, we are in Cleveland also.
    If you're interested, give me a call, maybe we can help each other out.

    Chris
    888-LIL-DOGG
     
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Don't get me wrong guys...

    I appreciate all your comments and boy do I understand the plight of the working sound-man.

    The thing is, we do make a decent chunk of change in my company, it's just that I'm consumed with purchasing gear all the time. New preamps, new console, new microphones (all the friggin time). I grossed over $40k last year with the company, but during tax time, I showed a loss on the business cuz I technically spent $42K. (I don't even know where the other 2k came from, cuz I don't spend any personal money for the business..?? Oh well, it's an accounting error of Enron proportions!)

    Now though, I think I have enough mics to satisfy me for a while and save for a few small things (a couple nicer mic stands and some little stuff) I'm ready to stop purchasing. Of course, I say that, but tomorrow, somebody will come out with a new device that will make me rethink the way I've been recording and I'll "have" to buy it.

    I should say though that, I've been really only making purchases lately after a lot of decision and if I see that it will either:
    -make the recording better
    -make the recording process easier or faster
    -make my wife hate the company less

    So I guess I'm curious if anyone here has broken through the equipment barrier and is truly content with all that they have...

    J.
     
  6. crescendo

    crescendo Guest


    Just what you said, and especially the wife part.
    Sometimes i wish i stayed with my original gear; a pair of senn k6 omnis, some home made tube preamp and a DAT.
    It all sounded very fine, but n, i had to buy more and more and mo...
     
  7. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I'm not buying much anymore... I have a good rig and it is plenty for 90% of my clients. The clients that need more can afford the rentals on gear. Now, anything I buy has to be able to improve my business in a way that is visible to my clients. Software/hardware for mastering or restoration or mixing is an example, but a fancy mic that I want or more preamps won't get me more biz and therefore is quite low on the list of purchases...

    --Ben
     
  8. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Too much gear is never enough. I can never have enough mics. If you are in this game to make money or a living you're fooling yourself.

    There are simply too many people who think they can do it, and a customer base that thinks quality is unnecessary. These two facts equate to no money or market for a quality service.

    Witness all the big studios going down the gurgler.

    Just get a day job and have fun. :)
     
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Well that's a positive attitude Dave :cool:

    I was expecting the voice of excessive reason to chime in. :lol:

    I don't know... with the grosses that I've been getting, if I could just avoid having to spend so damn much, it's kind of a living. But, I think I may have just sured up the day job from heaven. I'll say more when I have it, but it's a job that just might be a bank-roll for my crusade to get music awareness in the public's eye.

    J...
     
  10. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Excellent line of thought, Jeremy; this could be a "sticky" in its own right; something worth discussing on a regular basis.

    The short, wise-ass answer is: "Don't quit your day job".

    The second, not-quite-as-smart-ass answer might be: It depends where you live...and what genre you want to work in...and whether this is a career or a hobby for each of us. I think in most cases, it is at LEAST an avocation.

    As to making a living at it and the ongoing purchase of gear; it's a VERY small niche market, and there is only so much of the pie to go around, even in the largest of regions. It's a risky job to have, indeed, often subject to grants, whims and the business skills of some of our clients. Sometimes having a working spouse makes all the difference in terms of surviving financially. (I'm back to flying solo again, and the tradeoffs even out, I can tell you. I have to pay for EVERYTHING, yet no one complains if I have to spend a couple of very late nights mixing and editing. I do what I want, but I too pay a price to do so.)

    Let's face it, one can't get ALL of the work, and yet standing still will only get you run over. (That includes pursuing new clients and buying new gear.) It's been a very topsy turvy year for me; one minute it's fantastic, I can hardly keep up, the next I'm dealing with clients ripping their own CDs, cancelling events, or budget cutbacks. It's not a business for wimps or the faint of heart. It's as cutthroat as any rock'n'roll gig, in spite of how genteel it may look to the outside world.

    I think it helps to live in or near a large city or area with universities, music schools and a deep cultural base of operations in order to stay busy enough to support this as a full time career. (one tends to feed off the other: Theater, Museums, Opera, Recitals, Ballet, College Radio, NPR, Indie Movie houses, Large Universities, Colleges, etc.) Most of the big east coast cities fit that bill, ditto for the west coast and some of the middle states/areas, like St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, Minn., (NPR), etc.

    My path to "full time" in this biz was perhaps fortuitous in that there came a time when it was make or break; I had NO CHOICE but to do it full time, or get a desk job. It's taken 20+ years to get where I'm at now, and the gear purchases have certainly gotten more imporant over the last 10 years as digital has pretty much taken over everything. I can't just pull up stakes and go do this somewhere else, and my investment of time and gear is considerable. (Judging by all the fine talent & posters on this board, there is no doubt a counterpart for each and every one of us in each major city/region already! ;-) 20 years ago, most family & friends thought I was nuts, clueless or just fooling around with this "music" business. But "I" knew better....ha!

    This "Acoustic Music recording" industry is a very small and "boutique" style of business, and NOT for everyone, (thankfully so), so we do have that much going for us. It involves a completely different approach than running a commerical studio, and a completely different set of skills (and sensitivity) to work with a unique clientelle.

    I'd like to think it's a self-limiting worker-pool, too. In addition to the cost of a properly equipped "field recording" system, few can handle the level of concentration or the actual musical content that is "Acoustic" music (Classical, Jazz, Folk, etc.)

    Just as most of those posting on here would not be able to tolerate RAP or Death-metal music (not that there's anything WRONG with that, of course!), our counterparts over on the rougher side of music-recording world would probably find it a descent into hell to just sit through what we consider a normal day's work, let alone want to mix or edit any of it.

    Take heart in knowing that thousands of people turn 50 EVERY DAY in this country, many with disposable income and free time to explore new things, including LISTENING to good music, and attending live performances of every type. (Even if it's only their WIVES dragging some men out to shows, they DO IT, and sometimes they find they actually LIKE the arts!)

    I can't tell you how much gear is too much; but as Ben pointed out, there comes a time when you have to decide if it's going to be worth its cost for your general use, or if it's just something sexy you've GOTTA have. (not that there's anything wrong with that!)

    I try to at least justify my purchases based on that, and how much time it may save in my day to day operation. So far, it seems to all work out.... barely! Hahaha (My purchases have somewhat slowed down...for now, anyway.)

    And honestly, I really DO have a need soon for the Royer SF-24; It may not pay for itself on the first gig, but over the years, I do hope I'll make back its overall worth.

    From what you've told us about your system & purchases over these last few months, Jeremy, I think you may be in for a little bit of "Coasting" now...you've got the mics, the software, the hardware. I suspect you may happily settle into quite a bit of new discoveries with what you now have. (May your wife love your gear all the more, too!)

    So, don't worry too much about it; you're doing what you love to do. Few can say that about their jobs.

    Damn the high priced mics; full speed ahead, I say. :cool:
     
  11. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    LOL indeed, have a look in the mirror. ;)
     
  12. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    I guess this is something that we all face on a daily basis. How much is enough when it comes to equipment? This is an excellent topic to discuss on this forum.

    In the "old" days we were always on the bleeding edge of technology and always had the latest play toys. Now I am much more careful about what I spend my money on (I got burned too many times in the past with new equipment that was obsolete before its time) and if it will not be producing enough income to warrant its purchase I don't buy it. We have also diversified quite a bit in the last couple of years and now are offering a whole range of services all centered around audio. We do such varied things as reclamation of audio tapes and records. Literally they are brought to us in bags still filled with water and mud and we clean them up, bake them and transfer them. We also specialize in small run duplication of CDs, Cassettes and Reel to Reel tapes. We are also getting more and more calls for "on location" recording sessions. The equipment we have is pretty versatile with little very specialized equipment and only what is needed to do a particular job that nothing else can do. I am pretty handy at building equipment and a couple of years ago made a tape cleaning station out of an old Ampex transport which has worked very well. I also do most of my own rigging of mic stands and holders and have designed and helped built most of my mastering room furniture. I don't have a very expensive mic cabinet but what I have serves me well for what I am using them for. I spend my money where it will give me the best "bang for the buck" and when I need a particular piece of equipment I don't mind spending the money for it IF it will return income to the operation.

    This is my full time job. In this area we are the only full time professional mastering studio but there still is not enough business to make a living on mastering alone. I have friends who work part time and make more money a year than I do - but I have more fun. Sometimes I think of people with wives who work and who have good paying day jobs and wonder how I make it at all.

    When I was younger and more foolish I would not think twice about plunking down some hard earned cash for the latest wizbang but after a very bad experience with Sonic Solutions and losing my shirt over the purchase I became much more selective of what I was buying and looked hard and long at any new equipment before I handed over my credit card to the salesman. I also got burned a couple of times with digital equipment so I now make it a RULE that I audition any equipment in my own studio BEFORE I purchase it.

    With the way audio is heading it is not going to be too long before EVERYONE who wants to can record themselves in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Many arts organizations around here are canceling out their video contracts and doing it themselves with a mini DV camera on a tripod and a feed from our recording console and I have to wonder how much longer it will take them to decide that they do not need a recording engineer and they can "do it themselves" for less money. All of this DIY activity is great for places like Guitar Center and Sam Ash since they are the ones selling the equipment but I personally think that this market is going to get over saturated very soon and they too will be out of business or back to selling only Guitars and Drums.

    This is a GREAT topic and one I think needs to be addressed from many angles.

    May all your purchases be good ones!

    WTCW
     
  13. Costy

    Costy Guest

    Jeremy, right you are - 40k in North VA is a joke (maybe even less
    than that)...
    In this case you have to listen to only yourself (maybe yourself +
    your wife). It's your life man.
    Cheers,
    Costy.
     
  14. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Tom Wrote: With the way audio is heading it is not going to be too long before EVERYONE who wants to can record themselves in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Many arts organizations around here are canceling out their video contracts and doing it themselves with a mini DV camera on a tripod and a feed from our recording console and I have to wonder how much longer it will take them to decide that they do not need a recording engineer and they can "do it themselves" for less money.

    I see this all the time, too, but I sometimes wonder if it isn't inevitable as the cost of the progress that benefits us all in the long run. One client cheerfully rips the CDs I make him and does DOZENS of copies for his students & donors. (They are good for so much hi-end work anyway, I can't really make a fuss; I've asked him nicely to at least keep my NAME on the stuff, but he mostly cheerfully ignores me, and I don't make an issue of it.) In this particular case, I am hired to do a job - record & edit the program (students) - and that's that. We don't 'package' it as our production, it's not a commerical CD, and they can't sell them per se, so we're at a grudging truce. The agreement in this case is for the recording itself, NOT a finished product, so he technically CAN do whatever he wants with the master. (What can I say? His checks don't bounce, either... ;-) )

    There is still a serious learning curve for the good stuff, though, and I think it's often a case of the smarter clients doing the "nuiscance" work nowadays, if you will.

    One-shot hi-end DVD cameras are a good example. Many WILL do exactly what Tom describes, but they won't put up THREE - one for the master shot, and two side cameras for closeups and more detail. THey also won't match the "pro" audio with the video (They probably can import the video with their HP or Dell desktops, but it's going to be a while before they get around to Vegas or Final Cut Pro, and learn the fine points there.) They may also get a tripod, but not one good enough to avoid the "shakes" when doing closeups from a long distance. They also wont REALLY get the white balance correct, or hold a shot long enough (knowing there's another camera out there to cut to). I think that the 'easy" stuff is indeed going away, but to do it right, you've still got to get a pro in to do it all, at the very least the post-production.

    Audio is similar; YES, we're also seeing a lot of work taken away by "do-it-yourself-ers". And it does hurt sometimes, esp in the wallet.

    I have a choral director "with a clue" who, after asking me for advice on the gear, got a pair of good AT mics, a 1202 VLZ pro Mixer and a CDr recorder, does some great recordings of his chamber choir(s) in rehearsal and smaller concerts. (This is work he wouldn't be able to pay me for, anyway.) The upshot is that now, when he wants to REALLY polish the material and make the best CD he can, he still brings it to ME, because I've shown him, over the years, the RIGHT way to do it. (Deep down, he KNOWS he's still an amatuer on the recording side, he does the cheapo recording so as not to lose the 'moment' and save a little $$ in the process. And, it looks good to his employer, the college.) They also sell their finished CDs (done by us) this way, so everyone feels good at the end of it all.

    It's easy for our clients to get excited (just as we are) about affordable gear, and the lure of doing it themselves and "save a little $" in the process. But I'm finding that the really talented ones eventually come full circle and realize their art suffers when they try to divide their interests TOO much on the day of the concert.

    Granted, MANY of my clients can work an ipod, rip a CD track and make their own MP3 collection; they may also be able to work a DVD recorder now in their home theater environment, but getting the whole picture right - from the serious cost of investment in TRULY pro audio/video gear, to the time it takes prepping for a concert and then the post-production (Which can take forever if you're new to it, or don't do it every day for a living....) - they eventually realize their priorities get skewed when they try to do it ALL. The really SMARTEST ones just budget for a pro to do it right, and then get back to the business of creating their ART.

    It's small consolation for the day to day losses we all get kicked in the teeth over, but "that which does not kill us..." does apply. I've throttled down or simply stopped some services that are no longer cost-effective, while cranking up others in order to stay afloat. I used to have to jump at EVERYTHING, but thankfully we're a bit more focused now. (Years ago,I used to do everything from VCR and Stereo system repairs, to church installations, to radio jingles....)

    Watching Glenngary GlenRoss a few times a year will help keep your perspective: "A, B, C = Always be closing!" We can never get truly complacent with our clients or the services we offer; we're never completely "On base" or "Safe" in life's game of Tag.

    For every three "sure thing" clients we have, ONE of them will be slipping away, or in some kind of transition, the other two are doing ok, and a fourth is out there on the horizon, taunting us to reel it in. As the kids of today age become the adults of tomorrow and learn new digital tricks, there will always be another way to do something (arguably) better, and another (perceived) shortcut or home-brew to save a few bucks in the short term. I think the REAL trick is to give them something they can't get anywhere else; be it quality mics & technique on location, to better mixing & editing chops, to the finesse of a good, polished, final product. (Priceless, as they say in the MC commercials..)
     
  15. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    JoeH,

    You mentioned Cleveland. Ohio in an earlier post. It is a GREAT place to live and the housing and food cost are lower than on the coasts but for a city that calls itself "the home of rock and roll" we don't have ANY world class recording studios here.

    There is lots of acoustic music to record with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Opera, Apollo's Fire, the Akron and Canton orchestras and other groups that do live recordings but most of that is handled by one or two groups incuding an NPR radio station from Kent, Ohio and a studio on the east side of Cleveland does the Cleveland Orchestra recordings. So most of us that are into acoustical instrument recording do the local orchestras, the local choirs, the schools and the odd folk or jazz group that has the money to afford to have a live recording done. There is also a lot of church recording that goes on here but most of it is done with V Drums and a keyboard which are hardly "acoustic" instruments. There was some talk a couple of years ago about having the Ojays or Lavert start a "world class" studio here but so far it is only talk. We had one studio come into town called Buchannan (SP?) and they were advertising an SSL console and got a lot of business away from other studios. But the last time I heard they were going belly up and the SSL was being taken back buy the leasing company. Too bad but they were just not making it even though they were charging $35.00 off peak rates for their rooms.

    I am hoping that more groups and individuals do not see the need to go it on their own or Cleveland may not be such a "GREAT" place to live.

    MTCW
     
  16. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Ok, you got me on this one....MTCW. ????

    I have heard good things about Cleveland, (wanna go there sometime) and you're right about the competition aspect. I've avoided commenting on this somewhat....we're in a small niche market, and there's always a concern that too many people will figure it out and want in.

    But, I think a lot of the competition comes from the comments we made above - people trying to do more things by themselves, go on the cheap, instead of paying a professional to do it.

    Building up a solid loyal clientelle is tricky, and it takes many many years. It's not for the fast-buck crowd. Staying power in this biz is one of the reasons that "slow and steady" wins the race. If you're looking for a quick success story, this is NOT the genre for it. I can't tell you how many times I thought I had a sure thing going, only to watch it go down in flames due to something unforeseen happening. I've had my hopes dashed MANY MANY times with tempting leads and possibilities that didn't pan out, yet the day to day stuff continued to build (agonizingly slowly lots of times).

    Building relationships with your clients is one of the most time consuming and frustrating things you have to do in this business, IMHO. Many people in the "Arts" don't know a whole lot about self-promotion, sales, etc., and there is a sense of entitlement with some of them. (Why should they advertise and promote their wonnnnnnderful concerts; the world should autoMATICALLY come out and see them, right? Rrrrrrrrright.....) This same mindset doesn't respond to traditional sales promotion, or cold-calling, unsolicited flyers or mailers, or even offers of discounts or specials. They prefer to work by word of mouth, with people they know, people they trust, and it can be a very insular world.

    For example, very often grants are involved, and the recording part is often a condition of the grant - they have to record to justify the grant, which in turn gets them more grants, to record, etc. etc.

    I have built my biz slowly, one client at a time (yes, it's a cliche', but it's true.) Mainly, I get recommendations from existing clients (remember that they love to brag to their colleagues when they find someone good) and I often meet new clients on existing gigs. ("give me your card; I need someone like you to....") This type of buildup can take years and years, though.

    It's tough to keep on top of it all, and if you're not in it for the long haul, you can get seriously depressed and PO'd lots of times. Even though people in this biz wear tuxes and have gone to some nice schools, there's no shortage of weasels and sharks. (They just drive nicer cars and their checks don't bounce AS much...) It's a low-speed chase nailing down many of these clients, and KEEPING them is just as big a challenge as getting them.

    There's always someone looking to eat your lunch and undercut you for cheap.

    I try to look at it that the good ones are smart enough to stay with what works for them, and the ones that get away are probably for the best. That doesn't make me feel any better when I get the bad-news email, or find out a gig "went away," but I'm too old or too stubborn to change now....
     
  17. John Stafford

    John Stafford Well-Known Member


    Jeremy
    I'm with you on the labour of love thing, although in my case "unhealthy obsession" is probably a more appropriate term! As far as considering food, clothing and shelter is concerned, it looks like I'm going to have to look for a 'proper' job, but once I can remain alive and avoid being homeless, the job's function will be to pay for new gear. I have two serious obsessions apart from recording that cost a lot as well -perfumery and clocks/watches :wink:

    Unfortunately, like you, I live in region where the equivalent of $40,000 a year is a joke. Thank God for credit cards and bankruptcy lawyers!

    John
     
  18. QuickDiscs

    QuickDiscs Guest

    Hey Tom,
    I used to work at Buchannan's (BRC)

    Sorry not really on topic but I that you might find some of this interesting.

    What a sad waste of money for him to come to Cleveland and spend a 100,000 remodeling the old Midtown then moving a year later and building the new place at a cost of 1 million for construction plus gear, that nice old SSL ten years old still 250,000. Then lose it all because he had no business.
    Rap studio no good size live rooms, I hated that.

    People would come in from out of town just not enough people, and local bands or groups just don't have any money to spend. In the old days people would drop 10,000 on a record and do it right, now they have maybe a 1,000 if that and they want it all. (I don't think so) In Cleveland this is.

    Buchannan has since skip town closed the studio closed his restaurant took off. He owes people money.

    I think there is no really need of a world class facility hear because there is no big music business hear. No really labels
    Like you said "for a city that calls itself 'the home of rock and roll" Theres no music business here.
    Great place to live just not a big music scene right now! 8)
     
  19. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    That's a shame to hear about the Buchanen situation. (Didn't he do any market research before spending all that $$$?)

    That happens a lot with gear-lust, though...just on a larger level. I'm all for someone spending their money on their dreams, as long as they realize it may never make back a dime of their investment. Building a "dream studio" is a perfect example. Lots of famous people do this when they finally 'make it', saying things like: "I want to build a place where I can record any time I feel like it." Well, ok....does that include equipment upgrades, maintenance, and a staff to keep it all running tip top, let alone book outside clients to help pay for the upkeep?

    George Benson did that in Hawaii; dunno how it's doing now, or if he's even there anymore. It was big in the 80's and early 90's. Hope he either made back his investment, or is just enjoying himself with it. I remember Witney Houston did something like that too, about a decade ago now, tearing out huge parts of her house in NJ, spending millions on a studio in her basement or something....gad....talk about wretched excess. I wonder how many tracks she's done with Bobby Brown since.....

    There are all kinds of beautiful rural studios out there, (esp Upstate NY & PA!) some staggeringly beautiful restorations of farmhouses, old barns, city lofts, warehouses, you name it. (Mags like MIX and EQ often show these places when they're new and hot and fresh. I often wonder how they are doing once the bloom is off the rose, the bank starts asking for their monthly loan repayments, and the initial client buzz wanes....THAT's when it's time to get serious.)

    Someone recently built a world-class studio, 2 hrs away from here, 3 hrs from NYC - in WILDWOOD, NJ. I have no idea how they're doing, and I really wish them well. But if anyone has ever been to Wildwood NJ in the dead of winter, you realize it may have been a tactical error. I hope I'm wrong, but unless you're looking for a seriously isolated sonic outpost in the middle of nowhere in the off-season, (October through May) the farthest reaches of the South Jersey shore may not look as good an idea after the dust settles and the bills start coming in.

    Some people can turn a profit with studios like that; most just use it as their personal playground/sandbox, and rent it out to others in some hope to make back a little of the investment.

    I see all that hot new gear for sale, and I often wonder how they make back any of their investment. Something tells me that the few profitable ones actually have good business managers at the helm who are impervious to gear-lust, and realize that gear is just a means to an end anyway....tools of the trade, and to be chosen carefully for their use; otherwise RENT the things you can't afford.

    I read website after website that lists their equipment like it's some kind of holy grail, "my stash is bigger than YOUR stash." (Who reads this stuff, and WHO CARES??? Maybe other studios!?!?)

    I think in the end, if you're lucky enough to get clients with a real budget, you need some kind place with easy access/good location. Have it in a well populated area to support the kind of work that pays the day to day bills in-between the big-name acts and projects. And, don't confuse a rich kid's hobby with a career, or at least don't take down a lot of good people with you, should it all tank.

    That may sound more negative that it's meant to be; I'm really an optimist at heart, but I've seen a lot of bad ideas fall apart faster than Jennifer & Brad, and every time I see one of those 'vanity' studios open up, I make a mental note to check back in a year or so and find out how long it took 'em to go tits-up. :?

    Add computers & home studios/DAWs to the equation, it's a wonder there are still ANY studios left. I like being "off the radar" just fine, even if I never make enough to retire on it.
     

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