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Recording Industry Analysis

Member for

4 years 5 months
Hi,

I need to find some information about the current state of the studio and recording industry but finding it hard. Any stuff on the net that seems of any worth obviously is because is costs loads. Anybody have any useful links?

Cheers,

Mike

Comments

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Wed, 06/21/2017 - 19:33
Its dead and getting more dead lol. But not as in, interest. Everyone can record something without paying a professional studio now. I'm not saying "everyone" will end up with good results, I'm saying every kid on the block has a button that says "RECORD".

Up to a point, the industry is free which removed a huge percentage of business for studio's.

I am interested in this too so if you don't get any info other than "its dead" from here... please come back and give us the low down on what you found.

Member for

8 years 9 months

pcrecord Thu, 06/22/2017 - 05:22
''It's dead'' is a bit extreem to say.
I think there always were amateurs and pro recording going on.
What hits the fan today is that people are not paying for music anymore and that missing money was paying 95% of earnings for the agents, record labels, distribution, recording studios and artists... This ain't working anymore so everyone tries to find other ways to make money. No, subscribing 20$ a month to spotify doesn't qualify as paying for music. You are paying spotify to give you free music, that's how I see it. 0.000028$ for a play isn't able to sustain any artist carreer. Only spotify is rich in this equation !

What it did to the industry is removing all mid class people and business who profited from the music industry, leaving the amateurs and the elite with a very few of the other surrounding jobs.
The studios where Justin Timberlake, John Mayer and others go, are still doing good business. But how many are there in the world now ?? 10 - 20 ? there was thousans of places to go record in the past...

What is special about the situation is that there is more and more artists (Thanks to all the TV shows) but the recording industry changed and is still changing. It's more about education with 'know how to record classes' and entertainment with all the behind the scene stuff.
Consumers want a closer access to the artists and the feeling they are part of something. Therefor, many turns to VLogging and other direct contacts between artist and fans.
When you sell more merch than albums, it makes you Wonder...

Now about the recording industry again ? If half of the musicians on the planet records at home, to me, it seems the industry is well alive with more recording gear selling online than ever and thousans of sources to learn how. (I'd be surprised to know how profit sweetwater does in a year)
It's just that 'The industry'' is starting to look more like an all you can eat restorant than 'fine cuisine'. You pick what you want and leave.

Is the quality suffering ?? To some degree yes, maybe.
But we will still hear good recordings. They won't be done on 72 neve mixer but a few channel strips.
They won't have big room's natural sound but very well simulated ones.

What you and I are going to do about it is what will determin what will the 'industry be like' in a few years.

Sorry this had me going for a while ! ;)

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Thu, 06/22/2017 - 07:41
Edited:
I think the recording industry, pro audio business and all related to it "as a business" is barely hanging on, able to survive as just recording. I think the interest in recording has never been more alive because everyone can record.
Because of that though, it's no longer special or valuable, worth saving up to buy gear that will attract more and more business. Its part of the free and all that goes with things we can do good enough for free.
I can't see how anyone could make a living at this, no matter who you are now. Although, I do agree there are people definitely making a living in this business and likely a pretty damn good living but even those people aren't enough to support the pro audio industry. So from that perspective, I do think it is very much dead and barely hanging on.
The industry as I know it is a way of life for people like me and that is just fine for me. :) I'm not stopping my dream. I love recording and all that goes with audio engineering.
I wouldn't invest in it to expect any $ back though, that's for certain. So from that perspective.... its sitting on the far left with all the other tools you reach for when needed. That doesn't mean my far left is junk though. I definitely am not interested in the cheap lane. I will always have or appreciate top level recording equipment. I'm glad I'm not relying on selling gear though. I can't imagine being a gear pimp today.

I think the recording industry itself is morphing with smart phones and all that goes with how people are sharing data.
It is dead from a profitable studio business perspective but very much alive as another app to share data. Obviously we haven't stopped listening to music but people are changing and so is the business.

Member for

8 years 9 months

pcrecord Thu, 06/22/2017 - 08:50
audiokid, post: 451092, member: 1 wrote: I think the recording industry, pro audio business and all related to it "as a business" is barely hanging on, able to survive as just recording.
That is certainly true !

audiokid, post: 451092, member: 1 wrote: Although, I do agree there are people definitely making a living in this business and likely a pretty damn good living but even those people aren't enough to support the pro audio industry.
I get your point !


It's pretty sad really... The worst thing is, if you want to buy nice gear while living in Canada, you throw 30% down the drain because of the dollar value. This ain't helping us at all...
I'm in the same situation Chris. I do love quality recording and will certainly have highend gear forever.. Accepting that it cannot even pay itself is hard... But when I finally get a Customer and he/she uses the word WOW once in the session, it suddenly become Worth it ! ;)

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:17
pcrecord, post: 451094, member: 46460 wrote: It's pretty sad really... The worst thing is, if you want to buy nice gear while living in Canada, you throw 30% down the drain because of the dollar value. This ain't helping us at all...
Here is another sad case I saw coming and have refused to participate in... Gearslutz isn't helping this situation out at all. Them being the largest pro audio site is strategically pushing ebay and Reverb.com to make money off the used gear industry, which is harming the future of Pro Audio as well. Gearslutz has been marketing posts to push people into buying used as they get a $ off each used item sold. So even the people we thought were here to help us (new technology and the boutique manufacturers), use a backdoor to make quick money now, dead industry later. Pathetic hypocrisy.
There is no stopping us from buying Chinese (fast and cheap) because we simply cannot afford new. I hope it changes.

pcrecord, post: 451094, member: 46460 wrote: But when I finally get a Customer and he/she uses the word WOW once in the session, it suddenly become Worth it !
You and me both!

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:49
I don't even think we will be able to recap gear in the future. The best audio repair shop in my town closed. One of the reasons that made it painfully easier to sell off the mass of my gear a few years back, I thought... once it needs repair, there will be no one to restore it makes it worthless.
Pretty much ITB looks like a done deal and it really is good enough anyway.

I think companies like Antelope Audio who are incorporating all the essentials in one unit to get the job done (ADC, Pre and effects) , are spot on. How many of those companies do we need as well? UAD, Antelope... thats it.

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:54
I've always admired @thatjeffguy because he is doing it the way I would like my world to go. He is supporting his local acoustic music arts, located on an island known for artistic people and a lifestyle that doesn't care (is less distracted I suppose) (I say that respectfully) to what the rest of the world is doing per-say.
But still, we are all effected by an economy, a world going robotic. Which is why I say it is "dead". Dead has many meanings to me.
Robots and computers aren't helping our past lives at all. Although I might not like how its going, taking so many of us out of work... I'm a survivor always looking for a way to hold onto something I do well, use the best of what I can bring forward in a world morphing more and more virtual, whether I like it or not.

Jeff, how are things going in your world?

Member for

8 years 9 months

pcrecord Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:57
audiokid, post: 451095, member: 1 wrote: Gearslutz isn't helping this situation out at all. Them being the largest pro audio site is strategically pushing ebay and Reverb.com to make money off the used gear industry, which is harming the future of Pro Audio as well. Gearslutz has been marketing posts to push people into buying used as they get a $ off each used item sold.
OMG I wasn't aware of this... :confused:

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:29
pcrecord, post: 451099, member: 46460 wrote: OMG I wasn't aware of this... :confused:
GS has turned into an ebay backdoor. Go look around and all you will see are ways to get people to click onto ebay or reverb.com links so they will get a percentage of the sale. Its pathetic.
I've been watching what gearslutz has been doing for years and its so bad now, you can't even sell used gear at a fair price because the market is so flooded with used gear.
Who would ever buy new and why would you when the mass can't tell the difference either. And we all know computers get most of it done today anyway.
I can't sell brand new microphones for 1/3 of the price over there now. 2 years ago you could sell a lot more good gear at 1/2 price. Its so bad now, I suspect we are only a few years away from seeing a bunch of good pro audio companies fold or morph into some computer gimmick add-on claiming its a new and improved analog/digital thing much like Dangerous Music is doing with their latest Dangerous Compressor. What a gimmick that one is.

Everything we do is intertwined and will have an effect on our pro studios, quality music ... Boutique gear manufacturers. Our studio's, gear companies all need our support.

Generally speaking, Busy sites can't sell banners to companies that no longer exist. So the only way to pay the bills is either fund it all yourself or become an affiliate site to help. I do it a bit here with amazon but I am pretty careful I am not becoming a shill that will kill us all (if that makes any sense)? I want to help companies like Millennia, API, SPL, UA, Dangerous etc continue innovation and improving upon rather than seeing their world dwindle into the past.

Where I stand... (which is far from perfect) paying forums a percentage to place used gear sales won't help us as a community. I might make a few bucks but I can't stomach being a slut to the lowest degree. I/we all built RO to help us learn about technology. I sure didn't build it to see us all turn into a used gear depot. Dead ... So dead has yet another meaning lol!

Member for

12 years 4 months

kmetal Thu, 06/22/2017 - 17:50
Id gladly pay membership donations or dues of the choice was between that or turning RO into a billboard. It was the same with many of the magazines. Can't get an honest review and always seeing the product add next page. It's like why am I paying monthly for what has essentially shown itself to be a mucisians friend catalog, with a couple tips.

I'm in no way against profit, profit sharing, charity, dues/memberships/non-piracy, it's necessary for the world to go around financially. It's whether you use good taste with it or not. I think too many financial decisions exhibit poor taste to the end user, it casuses to feel in general profit need be evil inherently, which is not the case.

I've got several things brewing and one of them is a site that's a mix of YouTube/online college/iTunes/and message board. If you blend those, you can get synergy the reaches beyond finance, but is healthy for the art and craft of it all.

I'm not hating on GS specifically as there are some wonderful members who are generous whether you click their link or not.

My values and priorities have changed vastly in the last few years. one thing that hasnt is word of mouth. I've never advertised and I've kept part time work going reasonably since I started having rates. The words in print on RO ect are just as valuable to ones reputation, and it's usually fairly easy to detect wether replies are prioritizing a sale or not.

Member for

21 years 2 months

audiokid Thu, 06/22/2017 - 18:28
I 'll switch my negativity in a positive direction now...

The digital audio business is great! Used gear sales is flourishing and it's a buyers market. The online music scene is growing and I just love virtual technology.

Old guys like me need to quit complaining and get on with it! I actually like how huge digital music sounds today and can't wait to start producing music I have been dying to do for years.

We don't need racks of analog gear and can produce excellent sounding music for a fraction of what it used to cost.

Musicianship is coming back and the auto-tune sound is diminishing.

Member for

12 years 4 months

kmetal Thu, 06/22/2017 - 19:53
One huge thing is tempo shift and time shift. It's really added a lot of expression to electronic based music, your not restricted in that way anymore just becuase your using electronic instruments. I've been digging this artist called Emancipator lately. I was shocked when I saw it wasn't even on a label. It's seriously Grammy quality stuff. I'm glad my judgment wasn't jaded before hand, and I was already digging the tunes before I saw any pics or read any bio.

Member for

12 years

thatjeffguy Fri, 06/23/2017 - 09:15
audiokid, post: 451098, member: 1 wrote: I've always admired @thatjeffguy because he is doing it the way I would like my world to go. He is supporting his local acoustic music arts, located on an island known for artistic people and a lifestyle that doesn't care (is less distracted I suppose) (I say that respectfully) to what the rest of the world is doing per-say.
But still, we are all effected by an economy, a world going robotic. Which is why I say it is "dead". Dead has many meanings to me.
Robots and computers aren't helping our past lives at all. Although I might not like how its going, taking so many of us out of work... I'm a survivor always looking for a way to hold onto something I do well, use the best of what I can bring forward in a world morphing more and more virtual, whether I like it or not.

Jeff, how are things going in your world?

Hey Chris!
Going well here lately! Pertinent to the topic, My studio manages to break even, but it could in no way support me. This is primarily due to a somewhat isolated market (Vashon Island, reachable only by ferry from either Seattle or Tacoma) which is home to only 11,000 people. Fortunately, we have probably an unusually high percentage of musicians (and other artists) within that population. Up until recently, my studio was the only commercial facility on the island, but earlier this year producer, mixing and mastering engineer Martin Feveyear moved his studio from Seattle to the Island. I have used Martin to master my recordings a number of times and he's brilliant. Also, I recently read of a couple who moved here and is setting up a studio. So my pie is getting divided up! But this is my passion and I will continue doing it as long as I'm physically able!
~Jeff

Member for

4 years 5 months

Mike Gulvin Sun, 06/25/2017 - 18:44
Hi,
That is an interesting discussion. I would agree the industry is not dead but has certainly changed and studios have had to change the MO. I am looking at a target market. How to niche the studio? I will say here guys, that I am doing this as an academic project but who knows... maybe in the future actually set something up. How about digital vs analogue? So there is a revival for all things old and especially vinyl and the feel of actually owning ones' music unlike the spotify and others mentioned. So, I am thinking in investing in the rudiments of a fully analogue set up. 24 track tape, effects racks etc and then mixing and mastering down to vinyl final product. Very expensive yes, but would there be a market out there and who would they be? I put out a survey here and a few people did me a service and filled it out. Everyone is interested in analogue and printing to vinyl but not many wanna pay when they go just nip into the bedroom and record for free.
Any thoughts on this would be of great help.

Cheers, M

Member for

19 years 4 months

Kurt Foster Sun, 06/25/2017 - 19:34
@ $345 a reel for 2" tape, analog can get real expensive fast. and aside from the initial cost, any 2" tape machine is going to need regular TLC so it's not cheap to keep one either. same with any console worthy of a 2" tape machine. and if you aren't going to go with 2" tape (or a 1" 8 track) why bother?

now there are a few studios that specialize in old school recording like Valentine Recording in NO/HO - LA or Back to 1979 in Nashville but you would probably need to be in a major recording Mecca like Nashville, LA, New York or Miami for an analog studio to make any kind of financial sense. i love the idea, but i also live in the real world.

all that said, it would be fun to have a couple of 1/2" 4 tracks and a nice small console just to play around with recording ala Beatles style.

it all depends on what you are planning to do. itb is fine for project studios doing demos and song development. if you want to make "real" records then a high end recording computer coupled with high end converters and a serious large format console seems to be the ticket currently. many will say you don't really need a console that you can just go through a summing mixer and in the purest sense i suppose you can do that but there must be a reason the lions share of recordings put out by the major labels are mixed on either an SSL, a Neve or an API.

Member for

12 years 4 months

kmetal Sun, 06/25/2017 - 19:57
I think vinyl sounds cool, particularly stuff released when the medium was the main medium. Analog is faster means to and end, with digital being more convenient. Cheap tape machines sound better than cheap digital interfaces.

If you don't already have an analog setup, you don't have the client base to support it, and the demand just isn't there on a grand scale. The guys doing tape regularly have been doing it all along. A fostex 16 track is good as an ampex in this case.

I'm going w mytek converters and dual xeon pc for my next setup. If I need tape for a project I'll just rent a machine or room. I have a portastudio because it was my first recorder, but rarely use it.

The 'big' money comes from labels, and that well dried up quite a bit by the late 90's. There's no live scene as their was in the 80's, artists can't afford their own rent, never mind commercial studio rates. All the neve and tape in the world isn't gonna make johnny and the weekenders sound as good as the studio looks. Naturally leading them to the conclusion it's the studio, not the mediocre musicianship and songwriting. What you often get is warts in HD.

theres no real money in the studio owning biz right now. Live engineering is generally easier to maintain steady work with. After 6-8 years of the studio life I've seen its shortcomings, and feel in its current state, there are much better options for earning. The average project studio has a much better chance of clearing profit than the more traditional commercial facility. Lol one of the staffers mixed a top3 billboard hit last summer, and it didn't even get mention on the local papers, never mind the trade mags. I told a few people and they were like 'cool'.

I'm way more interested in perusing networked recording and remote collaboration, than sitting in some room for 14 hours a day tweaking johnny and the soar throats every syllable, cuz johnny just distcoverrd editing. lol broken stuff all the time, coworkers leaving the last session setup instead of tearing it down. Basically your life is consumed with mining for work or working to keep the lights on at any level but steady commercial work, with is a handful of regulars.

Member for

19 years 4 months

Kurt Foster Sun, 06/25/2017 - 20:24
kmetal, post: 451129, member: 37533 wrote: ......... sitting in some room for 14 hours a day tweaking johnny and the soar throats every syllable, cuz johnny just distcoverrd editing. lol broken stuff all the time, coworkers leaving the last session setup instead of tearing it down. Basically your life is consumed with mining for work or working to keep the lights on at any level but steady commercial work, with is a handful of regulars.

That's a pretty good summation of project recording in a medium market. lol. "johnny and the sore throats"... rotf and lmao.

Member for

19 years 11 months

Davedog Mon, 06/26/2017 - 08:37
kmetal, post: 451129, member: 37533 wrote: The 'big' money comes from labels, and that well dried up quite a bit by the late 90's. There's no live scene as their was in the 80's, artists can't afford their own rent, never mind commercial studio rates. All the neve and tape in the world isn't gonna make johnny and the weekenders sound as good as the studio looks. Naturally leading them to the conclusion it's the studio, not the mediocre musicianship and songwriting. What you often get is warts in HD

This is brilliantly stated and funny as hell if it wasn't so poignant and true.

What has happened in the interim of the bedroom production as opposed to real life, is Johnny and the Weekenders have learned from their occasional live "performances" that no one really cares ...going 'out' to listen to a rehash of music written in the 50's/60's/70's/80's/90's/etcetcetc and played in venues where you have a very tired and jaded sound/staging crew and an owner who only want's to clear the overhead and will do so at the expense of ANY patron who walks through the door without regard for the 'talent' booked into the room, is a mostly dead-ended and frustrating exercise in futility.

Not that Johnny would notice.

He sold three CD's at tonight's show, so it was a good evening of quality scintillating entertainment. Of course, no one in the venue could hear or understand the musical content because of the WALL OF 100HZ assaulting everyone from beginning to end.

Man am I getting old........

The "industry" has been a fractured environment ever since someone decided that personal traveling stereo reproduction was going to be the true path to musical nirvana. At that point ANY musical production in ANY studio setting became moot simply because at some point the delivery system was going to be dumbed down to fit the grab'n'go lifestyle that emerged at the end of the century.

We are all Jetson's on this bus.

I ranted past what I wanted to add............

I really do think that there is a growing contingent of young artists who actually care about the production values of their music musings. So much so that they are willing to work their day jobs and pony up for time in a studio with some semblance of a real room with real gear and a real engineer. Yes, Virginia, those still exist. So this observation brings me to the need for studio's and studio owners to assess their value and be willing to be flexible in order to access the business thats left. There are MANY more people recording these days....this is true......there are many many more poorly recorded and conceived productions of someones musical ideas than ever before......blame the proliferation of easy to use relatively inexpensive and accessible equipment needed for this.....I'm not certain that a "blaming" is really necessary unless you, personally, had a thriving business based on the model that WAS and now no longer IS...that could stick in a person's craw for certain....

I digress...There is a place for studios in this day and age. The small studio, if properly managed and slotted to accommodate a particular aspect of the local scene, can stay in business. It can certainly pay for itself...I don't see a magic profit window with trips to the Bahamas in this scenario, but it can be done.

You just have to know your place in the area you are living in. What are the needs? Who are the serious artists? What do they hear? How can your facility take them to a higher level? Is it worth it?

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