Any good contractor knows that in order to build a quality home it all starts with a solid foundation. The land the home is built upon must be dependable, the trenches for the footing must be deep enough, the concrete must be mixed properly and it must be poured in a timely fashion. If the framework isn’t built correctly, it leads to all sorts of problems ranging from cracks and leaks to crumbling and shifting that jeopardizes the exact integrity of the entire building.
The same holds true for your recording studio business. If the foundation isn’t rock solid, the entire business risks falling apart to the ground. Twenty years ago, the lack of competition and a high barrier to entry into the recording studio toronto business was enough that will almost ensure substantial profits for the studio owner, even if the foundation was less than perfect. But much like the new housing boom in the quick 2000’s that flooded the market with poorly built homes made for quick profit, the home and project recording studio boom bombarded the market with discount pricing and, in general, a subpar product. Many professional studios were quick to drop prices, and the qualified itself competing directly with home studios. Although it seems ridiculous that Rolls Royce could be a direct competitor to Hyundai, which can be exactly what has happened in the recording industry. Studios built without proper foundations were exposed and forced to compete on price by itself.
The simultaneous collapse and fragmentation of the record industry sparked more fear throughout the recording studio industry, as shrinking marking budgets dried up profits. In the end, all of these changes have caused hourly and project rates to erode to almost unsustainable concentrations. When you take into account all the expenses of a working studio– lease/rent/mortgage payments, electric, insurance, security and equipment repair, just to name a little few– charging the “going rate” makes it hard to just break even. For the studio owner trying to make a living, it’s downright frustrating.
We could sit here and complain all day about local bands using Garage Band to record their songs, or the ad agent turning their broom closet into a recording booth, but it’s not going to change. At least not in our favor. Recording gear will only continue to keep get better and cheaper. The low prices will only tempt more would-be clients into trying to record themselves. I know I fell regarding it. Back in the 90’s, when my band decided it was time to make a record, the first thing I did was to go out and buy an ADAT and a Mackie 32×8. And, like anyone who begins to get serious about recording, I slaved many, many hours over that recording project looking for it right. When it wasn’t right, I began purchasing thousands of dollars of new gear that promised to unlock “that sound. in Soon, I basically had my own recording studio, but at a cost. I had spent thousands of dollars and dedicated a substantial portion of gaming to making a record that turned out decent. Not great. Just decent. It was something I was proud of because I did it myself, but it surely wasn’t record label quality. Part of it was lack of engineering skills. Part of it was lack of production skills. I tried my also best to cram as much learning as I could into this year-long recording project, but the truth was that these skills take many years to build, and it was impossible condense so much into so little time.
I’m sure this story is very familiar to a lot of engineers and studio owners. Perhaps it will even be how you got your start into the recording studio business. But no matter how easy and cheap it is to buy and set up quite a few recording hardware or software, the difference between your first project and your most recent is probably mind blowing. There were many years, many teachers, many results and many failures between those two points in time. But to your potential clients, toying with the idea of “saving some cash” and recording themselves, signify they know any better. They think it’s easy. They don’t know what they don’t know. But it’s up to you to show potential clients that you will actually be saving these folks a lot of money by paying you what you’re worth.
To reach your potential clients in a way that they will be more than willing to pay you high-end rates for your personal work, you will need to lay a solid foundation first. This foundation comes in two parts. The first part is the talent, skill and abilities you can offer your clients. This is why you are in business in the first place, isn’t it? Because you can deliver a superior sounding recording. This is what sets people apart from everyone else.
The second part of your foundation is being able to effectively communicate what sets your business apart from all the other recording studios in your city. Although the word “marketing” may mean something a little different to each person, this is how I define marketing. Specifically, communicating your offering in a fashion that that would make your potential client feel silly if they didn’t record in your studio.