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Recording Gear means nothing if we can't stay in business.

Discussion in 'Music Business' started by kef, Dec 6, 2001.

  1. kef

    kef Guest

    WOW, nice response, I left town for the weekend and just got back, boy do I Love Toronto. I'm going to take a few minutes to go over all the posts carefully, there seems to be some very specific suggestions from alot of you.

    I'm getting to like it here more and more.
  2. Ted Nightshade

    Ted Nightshade Active Member

    Dec 9, 2001
    Hello, old timers,
    I'm just a young whippersnapper outside of Ashland, Oregon, and I'm looking to get into the recording game. I'm really just a musician/singer/composer trying to subsidize my own home studio. I'm also a multi-instrumentalist who has often played in several ensembles at once, usually doing original music that I love, so I can think of a lot of talented friends that I could give a better treatment than what I hear on their CD's.
    I don't want to compete so much with the local established studios, which I respect a lot, and I'm depriving them of at least a little interesting work- at least recording my own work in their studios. Still, I try to do a little here and there to show my support and learn from what they're up to.
    I have an obsessive thing with recording live performances of my own band. I evade the self conscious recording choke syndrome by just recording everything, and of course with digital now this is affordable. So naturally I'm looking in the direction of doing live recording for other folks. There's a lot of acoustic music, jazz and classical music and aesthetic floating around down here. It's much less grunge and sludge than up in Portland, OR where I used to be. So I think that maybe my own prefered take on recording, more like a classical thing where there's very little EQ and processing and just good mics, mic placement, and recording sources that sound good to begin with. Probably some tasty sound reinforcement along those lines too.
    I don't expect to really pay for the whole musical gig that way, just make good use of the equipment and help out some local folks.
    I welcome any and all input from you experienced established folks.
  3. drundall

    drundall Guest

    Originally posted by mwagener:

    Hi Jimi :D

    Hi Schultz!
  4. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Originally posted by atlasproaudio:

    I ask them if they would be willing to spend $200+ on ONE 2" reel.

    "Well, that should be included" or "Couldn't we just use a used one?"

    There is no way in hell I would go over old tape, period. If you can't afford new tape, don't record on analog.

    Do you guys ever go through anything like this with your studio and the public?

    I rent clients reels all the time. It's the only way to get a band that wants to book two days to bang out four or five songs into 2". I keep it for a few weeks in case they want to remix it and then it gets wiped. After a few uses I sell it as used tape and since I bought it new I know where it's been.

    I go through this kind of thing all the time. I try not to worry about it too much and just worry about making the clients I do have happy.
  5. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001

    I added up the bookings at my place..

    Oct - 9 days
    Nov - 5 days
    Dec - 6 days

    I had one week off in NYC Nov/Dec..

    My overheads are fairly low

    I have 'sister' equipment hire (OK) & sales (minute) businesses that support the studio somewhat.

    We have done several spec projects in this time.

    - 8 days so far booked for Jan. I have been freelance for years, I am used to shallow breathing during lean times! On unbooked days we tinker and tweak & try to do upgrades etc..& do spec projects. I feel I need to buck up my ideas and get promoting more for cash work and take the spec work a little more seriously and follow that path in a more dedicated & workman-like fashion - IE kick some ass and knuckle down to do as much of it as humanly possible."Wheel em in & wheel em out"

    I figure I can't beg people to use the studio but there is no shortage of bands & managers in my city that are:

    a) good
    b) have the potential to get signed
    c) are willing to do a spec deal

    This was always my plan, to balance payed work with spec work.

    When I opened last Dec I lucked out with a 4 month solid full rate booking. A year later the diary is a lot different....

    I came back from NYC and the A&R meetings I had there (5 or 6) convinced, that the paid/spec plan was a good plan to stick to. So I will, for now.

    May we all be fortunate next year.

    Good luck out there guys.

  6. roijin

    roijin Guest

    I have had a good long think about how I was going to survive in my area of the woods....
    This was the thought process I went through...

    Where do I want to be??
    a) I want to be making a living working with acts that have budgets and have a good chance of being commercially successful.

    How could I get there?
    a) Either as a producer, engineer, programmer or writer

    What are my strengths?
    a) Produce, programme, write, engineer

    So going through the logical process I worked on my strengths.
    Practiced producing by working for free or my own songs, listening to albums etc… Out of this I also out of necessity improved my programming engineering and writing , people skills – I have been working on that aspect for some years now.
    During this period I constantly upgraded my gear as I strived to create records not demos (you know the drill)

    My next step (of which I’m at) is to make the jump from hobbyist to pro making a living out of this.
    I’ve been at it for 6 months now and have made little money out of the studio business as I expected but that was never my goal, what I have done is worked with selected artists which I think have the potential to make it big commercially (Plenty of time to go arty farty in my retirement). I know this sounds obvious but to choose a winner is not as easy as it seems. There are a billion and one things that have to come together in the right way before you start seeing royalties…as I am finding out.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that IMHO you cant get blood from a stone and most musos out there are just well most of the time stoned.. it takes a smart musician to make it these days and an even smarter producer/engineer to rise from the masses of wannabees. I really think there is no middle ground in the record making business, you either make a cheap demo or a finished record. Its easy to make a cheap demo however a finished record… that’s another matter. So exactly where does that leave the middle level studio owner? – now where…

    Anyway I’m going to post my progress on this bulletin board cause I think we ALL need positive news (I’m being optimistic). It’s a sorry ass industry we have been born into ( I say born cause only sorry ass people who truly love this craft would put up with this $*^t).

    I ain't made it yet but I sure am gonna give it one hell of a go!
  7. Originally posted by atlasproaudio:

    "Do you have analog?"

    ...Even though I explain to them that a Class A/Discrete/Tube/point to point wired front end through excellent converters will sound better than Mackie mic pre's to 1" 16 track with worn heads (real life story here folks :( ).

    It seems like half the time we can't win. Makes me want to get certain pieces just for the sake of the client even though I know the quality is already excellent and those pieces aren't going to improve the quality (I think some might actually degrade it). I guarantee with some people that if I had an API console (which is my all time ultimate goal BTW), they would think the Mackie is better because they haven't heard of the API :roll: .

    Do you guys ever go through anything like this with your studio and the public?[/QB]

    I've modified my RNC to look like a more (much more) expansive pieco of outboard. It was previosuly in the Chevy rack, but it didn't thrill anyone. So, I took the CHevy an build one myseld, but 2U high. Ivory faceplate, a red start with a cyrillic word on its side, a "stereo compressor" logo and that's it.
    Now they all look at teh RNC and ask me if it is a tube compressor, and where it comes from, and they all ask to use it on their instruments.
    It's sad, but they are happy.

  8. Rob Cathcart

    Rob Cathcart Guest

    Hey Jooooools, or anyone else,

    Could you outline the "spec deal" of which you speak? I'm at a loss as to what type of contract, rates, points, etc. to set up with my clients with whom I wanna do the spec thing. I'm figgerin' to do some spec work for demo's butt it seems that if these guys got signed they might move on and leave me holdin' the bag with no renumeration unless I gits it in writing. What's the norm (or should I say 'what do you do?'). Any resources for this kind of info?


    Rob Cathcart
    Random Reason Recording
  9. Rob Cathcart

    Rob Cathcart Guest

    Better late than never department.
    I've searched a few forums for answers to my question above and have yet to read all the info available there. Perhaps I can follow up with a more informed question after I wade thru this stuff.

    In my review so far, the intimate details of such spec deals are still eluding me. Do youz guys seek the assistance of an attorney on each spec deal or do you have a generic contract that you use? Er what?

    Thanks again,
  10. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Generic is favorite but right now I am finding it a pain in the ass & wallet that each deal needs tweaking - by a lawyer... this is not what I had in mind...

    I need to get back to the 'my way or the highway' option~!!!!

    First step find a music savy - affordable lawyer.

    Cut / past & copied contracts wont do. No having a peek at mine either!

    ballpark things to ask for

    Share of advances
    Money if/when track is re recorded by someone else
    Money if track is used
    Studio is payed back if deal is obtained

    That sort of stuff


    BTW I only offer one UK perspective, I think US spec deals ask for a LOT more from what I gather.

  11. MadMoose

    MadMoose Active Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Originally posted by Amighetti Ronnie:

    I've modified my RNC to look like a more (much more) expansive pieco of outboard. It was previosuly in the Chevy rack, but it didn't thrill anyone. So, I took the CHevy an build one myseld, but 2U high. Ivory faceplate, a red start with a cyrillic word on its side, a "stereo compressor" logo and that's it.
    Now they all look at teh RNC and ask me if it is a tube compressor, and where it comes from, and they all ask to use it on their instruments.
    It's sad, but they are happy.

    Do you have a picture that we can see? People ask me what the Funk Logic piece is all the time.
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    Lets keep this afloat!

    For extra $$$

    I was dreaming I could run recording / 'what is Pro Tools" courses for A&R guys..

    Or some sort of "dont be embarrased to ask studio questions" day

    (Hey at tea-time I could spikie em with Rohypnal, pose em in a photo essay with Gurtrude the pig and be covered for studio bookings for the whole year!)

  13. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    How about this idea: is anyone their own record label? I'd figure you sign the band, advance them the studio time and production costs, have them pay a portion for cd's to distribute at gigs, while they get their cut, after recoupable expenses, of any storebought or mail order cds. Not without its issues, but they believe in your production and that you want the best product so as to best make your cut. Also, you'd need to be able to wait for the bucks - might work better for hobbiests than people for whom this is the day job.

    The big issue is how to ensure they don't take a copy of the first cd run and have it duped to sell more while cutting you out. I suppose actually having a roster of bands so you can sell a brand name and whatever synergies could provide a disincentive for the screw.

  14. davemc

    davemc Guest

    Hi Bear,
    Doing that at the moment with a band.

    Also done a comp CD with Girl Singer, 1000 are being given out to people who see bands and other band members. Did not make anything on it. Just look at it as good advertising PR.
  15. Gaffer

    Gaffer Guest

    :( hi i'm a bit disapointed in the attitudes towards the public and the business,
    when you started out i bet non of you knew how different hardware or techniques altered the final product, how many of you when starting out heard that a tube compressor sounds warm, but did'nt have a clue what warm sounds like. why some people are not intrested what certain things do , some are. i feel sorry for you people with commercial studios who are struggling at the moment most seem to be from America. i think a change has been happening in England from the early 90's whith how music is made with a lot of the music being made in bedroom studios. with equipment becoming cheaper more people are taking the job of composer,producer and engineer and just taking the track for final mixdown at pro studio.
    i think its time for some to have a change of tactics as far as your business is concerned

    peace Gaff
    its just about the music

    p.s anyone got the tl audio5013 eq and whats the verdict?
    just got the tl audio 5021 comp and it sounds amazing
  16. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Of course catering to the home recordists is a potential way to get more business, whether it's tracking in good rooms with good mics and pres; doing mixdown either in the computer with a better cpu and better plugs, or back out into analog on a good board with some nice outboard; or mastering a home mix in a better listening enviornment so it will translate.

    The thing is, except for the talented, lucky, and/or wealthy, the home thing isn't generally all it's cracked up to be. (I should know, I'm a home studio guy.) Electronica is really the only case where there's not a bunch of major compromises involved in DIY. My spare bedroom is never going to sound like Oceanway for live stuff. I don't really have a great place to do live drums, and an okay place is a pain to arrange at that. So if I want to release professional product, I need to lean on professional studios who might be able to help me along the way. For intimate sounds and overdubs, for my needs, I have it all over the pro places in terms of comfort and relaxation and lack of time pressure. But if I want big drums and a great mix, I'm going to prep like hell at home and pay for studio time. And I think I'm more qualified to do my own root canals than my own mastering . . .

  17. analogue

    analogue Guest

    Things have been very slow, and recording budgets are getting very small indeed, I'm amazed just how low they go, and even more amazing that the job gets done for the money too.
    But saying that we have had enquiries for 4 albums in the new year, I do feel things are going to get better. just glad we didn't ditch the 2"!!!!!
  18. Uncle E

    Uncle E Active Member

    Nov 15, 2001
    Sure, have you been noticing how bad commercials are sounding these days? There's a Sunkist Pure commercial that's particularly bad: bad recording, bad vocalist...even the editing is bad! Honestly, when you consider the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent already on air time, the extra grand necessary to have gotten the recording right would've been worth it; I just hope they've realized that now.

    Maybe an idea would be to offer the equivalent prices for home studios but guarantee only the equivalent quality, that way the penny-pinching TV people will get in the door & you can make the sale for better quality then. It'd be an easy sale, too, just put that Sunkist commercial on & ask 'em "are you sure that _this_ is what you want???" ;)
  19. Kevin F. Rose

    Kevin F. Rose Active Member

    Feb 14, 2001
    It's funny our business is up 60% since May. In April I thought we should get into voice overs and some other commercial work 'cause I saw the writing on the wall. We never had a chance to even try it. Album work, demos and a few spec "gone good" projects have hit the ceiling.
    I believe there are a few reasons for this success. We are fortunate to have the referrals of all the specialized studios in town. The mastering/commercial guy (who never wants to track bands again), the R&B/hip hop guy and the dude across the river who plays a lot of golf and tennis with big biz people who vacation near here... We have been booked every day this month and just last night I had to leave a session early so I could go with my wife to a strip club. I guess she figured that would be the only way to get me away from the desk.
    Life is tough but if you have good people on your side you're tougher.
    Hope you all have a wonderful Mithras birthday.
  20. danchilde

    danchilde Guest

    Great thread!!!

    "...Sure, have you been noticing how bad commercials are sounding these days? There's a Sunkist Pure commercial that's particularly bad: bad recording, bad vocalist..." snip

    Bad commercials?! How about the Madonna song for the Windows XP ad? And that was a commercially released song. I can't believe they couldn't find an auto-tuner somewhere!

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