1 Horse Towns

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Anyone out there running studios in small towns where there is no other
studio in at least a 60 mile radius? I'm wanting to open a studio but am
torn. On one side, there is no other studio for competition. On the other,
there must be some reason why there isn't. I know why the last guy failed,
and that was because of his lack of business skills and responsibility.

So any tips on starting up a studio, especially in a situation like mine?
I've been reading information on the Net and in books but would like some
first hand conversation with some folks. Thanks a lot.

Thomas
 
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Thomas Bishop <bishopthomas@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>Anyone out there running studios in small towns where there is no other
>studio in at least a 60 mile radius? I'm wanting to open a studio but am
>torn. On one side, there is no other studio for competition. On the other,
>there must be some reason why there isn't. I know why the last guy failed,
>and that was because of his lack of business skills and responsibility.

I used to be running the only studio within about that distance.

But now, every kid and his brother has a home studio, and all of them
are advertising they can sell studio time. (And for the most part
they charge between a fifth and a tenth what I charge).

It's definitely changed my marketing, and I am doing a lot more remote
recording than I was fifteen years ago. And going a lot farther afield.
--scott

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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
 
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Scott Dorsey wrote:
> I used to be running the only studio within about that distance.
>
> But now, every kid and his brother has a home studio, and all of them
> are advertising they can sell studio time. (And for the most part
> they charge between a fifth and a tenth what I charge).
>
> It's definitely changed my marketing, and I am doing a lot more remote
> recording than I was fifteen years ago. And going a lot farther afield.


I have been leaning toward remote for the last several years, but am
not sure that there is a market for it here. Every band has access to
some type of recorder here, too, but none are getting studio results or
the studio experience. Most would probably have to be convinced very
heavily that they need both. Do you think this is a matter of
marketing, convincing them that I have something that they will never
be able to get, or is it a futile effort? I know only time will tell
for sure, but I guess I'm just scared.
 
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I find that its possible to get some of the revenue lost from home
studios by running courses and workshops from the studio. Teaching
people why they cant get as good a result as at home. If the classes
are small you can give a quality workshop or short course and still
have the oppertunity to move the class if the need arises.
I think it's always been the case that most studios need mor sources of
income than just the studio itself. Most of the big studios I have
worked for have all had a rental income from sub letting office space
etc. in addition to studio rental itself.
Don't forget to mark up the tape too. :eek:)
 
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I am trying to start an instrument lesson facility along with the
studio, which would at least help pay the bills. I'm not looking to
get rich off of this, but it's what I love doing and have wanted to
open a studio for several years now. I guess I should just take the
plunge and hope for the best (with careful planning, of course).
 
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Is there another business (or business model) that has ever been hit by
this amateur competition facilitated by cheap technolgy / I cant think
of one.
It's like the local garage being replaced by lots of shadetree
mechanics because SUN or someone sold them a PC based auto repair
system.

Kevin T
 
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I'd say design and printing etc. has seen some changes.
Photography has changed alot too. Guys used to make a nice mark-up on
processing.
Our studio is happening for about 2 and a half years. The first year
was doing 'mates' recordings etc. Alot of our work is starting sessions
(recording drums and all that) and mixing stuff people have done at
home. I find people want a producer as much as they need a studio. We
cater for easily as many home studio people as we do bands.
DS
 
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Thomas Bishop wrote:
> I am trying to start an instrument lesson facility along with the
> studio, which would at least help pay the bills. I'm not looking to
> get rich off of this, but it's what I love doing and have wanted to
> open a studio for several years now. I guess I should just take the
> plunge and hope for the best (with careful planning, of course).
>

I've been working on establishing a hard wall at some point, but currently run a mobile/remote setup
for capturing performances/sessions. It's been around ten years that I've been scraping together
funds to purchase the higher quality equipment you won't find in those home studios. And I think
that is part of the key to wooing clientele, showing them you are worth what you are charging
because you a) have the experience these "kids" do not and, b) you have higher quality equipment and
know how to use it correctly.

There is a psychological component to musicians, as you may be aware, that you have to appeal to.
They want a million dollar studio quality sound and think you can do it on the two thousand buck
setup their friend has put together, or they themselves have cobbled together, but do not actually
know how to use to obtain the best sound.

If your time allows, give them a free hour to come in and lay down a real basic "live" track -- one
song, and then mix it down. Tell them it's "on the house" as a "proof" that your setup will help
them sound like what they hear in their head (if possible!). Yes, it will take them an hour just to
set up their gear, but the potential twenty to thirty hours of business may be worth the "investment".

And you give them the mix of the song to take with them to listen to. The more they listen to what
you've "given" them, the more it will convince them their friend, or their own gear, just won't do
*that*, no matter how hard they try... and they will try.

It's an idea that generally can work in your favour because if you have no clientele, you lose
nothing, get to use the gear and get musicians talking about your studio and playing the results for
their friends. And if that gets other bands/players to come check out your setup, you begin to move
forward.

Not less than two cents' worth...

--fletch
 
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"Thomas Bishop" <bishopthomas@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1123776088.666223.164760@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> I am trying to start an instrument lesson facility along with the
> studio, which would at least help pay the bills. I'm not looking to
> get rich off of this, but it's what I love doing and have wanted to
> open a studio for several years now. I guess I should just take the
> plunge and hope for the best (with careful planning, of course).
>

Well, keep overhead low if not next-to-nothing, at least until you know
something about your market. How many musicians are around? How many are
willing to pay as opposed to 'this is just a hobby and my other buddy has a
phillips CD recorder and a PC'? I'd say design your business to be as
flexible as possible - be ready to record anything, anywhere, and have gear
designed for that.

jb
 
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Thomas Bishop <bishopthomas@hotmail.com> wrote:
>Scott Dorsey wrote:
>> I used to be running the only studio within about that distance.
>>
>> But now, every kid and his brother has a home studio, and all of them
>> are advertising they can sell studio time. (And for the most part
>> they charge between a fifth and a tenth what I charge).
>>
>> It's definitely changed my marketing, and I am doing a lot more remote
>> recording than I was fifteen years ago. And going a lot farther afield.
>
>I have been leaning toward remote for the last several years, but am
>not sure that there is a market for it here. Every band has access to
>some type of recorder here, too, but none are getting studio results or
>the studio experience. Most would probably have to be convinced very
>heavily that they need both. Do you think this is a matter of
>marketing, convincing them that I have something that they will never
>be able to get, or is it a futile effort? I know only time will tell
>for sure, but I guess I'm just scared.

I don't know. I'm not a very good marketing guy, but I did see a niche
and I moved into it. Convincing people that they need my services is
something that I am very bad at. And in a small area, you can't really
hire someone who is.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
 
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KGT <kgtracy@gmail.com> wrote:
>Is there another business (or business model) that has ever been hit by
>this amateur competition facilitated by cheap technolgy / I cant think
>of one.

Lots of them. If you think the audio guys are screaming, you should just
see what the cinematographers are doing. They are getting hit very badly
by huge legions of kids with cheap digital camcorders. The current craze
for reality TV is not helping.

>It's like the local garage being replaced by lots of shadetree
>mechanics because SUN or someone sold them a PC based auto repair
>system.

Look around your area. How many quick oil change shops do you see?
Now, how many places with real mechanics do you see? That collapse
happened years ago, in part fostered by higher technology cars and
manufacturers that didn't document how things worked, which made
actual skilled diagnosis a thing of the past.

The computer industry is even worse.... thousands of kids working on
Windows machines who really have no clue how they work inside, competing
with skilled sysadmins. Oh, well, you just reinstall the OS when anything
goes wrong anyway.
--scott
>


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Thomas Bishop wrote:
> Anyone out there running studios in small towns where there is no other
> studio in at least a 60 mile radius? I'm wanting to open a studio but am
> torn. On one side, there is no other studio for competition. On the other,
> there must be some reason why there isn't. I know why the last guy failed,
> and that was because of his lack of business skills and responsibility.

Having grown up in a one-horse town, the most obvious reason I can think
of would be that there's no market for it in the area.

As others have noted, the proliferation of cheap digital gear that lets
any kid with a ProTools setup open a "studio" and sell time for a
fraction of your price doesn't help, and is probably a much more viable
"market" in a small town.

Musicians/artists can generally be divided into two groups: those with
little or no money (to whom the above "studios" cater), and those with
gobs and gobs of record-company money to toss around who will book a
"destination" studio - their choice will be based on reputation, or
location, or other such factors, and are not limited to working in their
own area.

> So any tips on starting up a studio, especially in a situation like mine?
> I've been reading information on the Net and in books but would like some
> first hand conversation with some folks. Thanks a lot.

Growing up in my one-horse town, my buddy and I had the idea long ago to
create a "destination" studio that would attact the big names with their
big money to the area. We're talking about a "boondocks" area, for a
minimum of distractions, but with gorgeous high-country views, and when
those small distractions WERE needed, there was (still is) a well-known
four-star resort hotel with golf course and airstrip, and a world-known
fat farm... sorry, "spa"... combined with a high-end studio facility,
all things we figured would create its own market for artists with the
money to spend looking for a good place to spend it.

Depending on what else the area has to offer, this may be an angle to
pursue.


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In article <kBJKe.3186$Ub1.519@newssvr29.news.prodigy.net> bishopthomas@sbcglobal.net writes:

> Anyone out there running studios in small towns where there is no other
> studio in at least a 60 mile radius? I'm wanting to open a studio but am
> torn. On one side, there is no other studio for competition. On the other,
> there must be some reason why there isn't.

Perhaps the horse has his own ProTools system.

> So any tips on starting up a studio, especially in a situation like mine?

First, figure out if you'll have any customers. If you don't have the
clients, don't start the studio. Of course if you're a music producer
or artist yourself and plan to have only yourself as a client, then a
low rent low tax area is going to be a big advantage.



--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
 
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"Scott Dorsey" <kludge@panix.com> wrote in message
news:ddgauv$omo$1@panix2.panix.com...

> The computer industry is even worse....

Very true.

>thousands of kids working on
> Windows machines who really have no clue how they work inside, competing
> with skilled sysadmins.

True. But a lot of times they don't compete twice.

>Oh, well, you just reinstall the OS when anything
> goes wrong anyway.

Also true. But possibly worse are the guys who do eight hour jobs, futzing
around for $400, and get nothing done, when a backup and reinstall,
returning the machine to 'factory condition', is the most practical
solution.

It's getting to the point where it won't matter anyway, who the hell pays
someone to fix their Xbox?

jb
 
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On 11 Aug 2005 16:03:43 -0400, kludge@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

>The computer industry is even worse.... thousands of kids working on
>Windows machines who really have no clue how they work inside, competing
>with skilled sysadmins. Oh, well, you just reinstall the OS when anything
>goes wrong anyway.

Indeed. And we don't strip down spark plugs any more either. I love
problem-solving. But must constantly remind myself that
wipe-and-reinstall is the logical path. If I use any skill, it's in
retrieving user data from the bad system.
 
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"KGT" <kgtracy@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1123783562.767772.241440@g44g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Is there another business (or business model) that has ever been hit by
> this amateur competition facilitated by cheap technolgy / I cant think
> of one.
> It's like the local garage being replaced by lots of shadetree
> mechanics because SUN or someone sold them a PC based auto repair
> system.

Professional magazine feature photography.

When I was coming up, reporters wrote and photographers photographed,
because photography required a certain amount of technical skill. The
reporter-photographer team was standard.

In the 1970s, Canon introduced a camera called the AE-1, which automated
lots of things in a fairly idiot-proof way, and magazines began equipping
their reporters with AE-1s when they sent them out on a story. The pictures
were usually technically acceptable. They weren't as good as the ones the
professional photographers shot, but they were adequate, they filled the
space, they were pictures, and (most important) the magazines no longer had
to pay a photographer.

No, the free-lance magazine feature photographer hasn't entirely
disappeared, but they're endangered.

Peace,
Paul
 
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Scott Dorsey wrote:
> KGT <kgtracy@gmail.com> wrote:
> >Is there another business (or business model) that has ever been hit by
> >this amateur competition facilitated by cheap technolgy / I cant think
> >of one.
>
> Lots of them. If you think the audio guys are screaming, you should just
> see what the cinematographers are doing. They are getting hit very badly
> by huge legions of kids with cheap digital camcorders. The current craze
> for reality TV is not helping.
>
> >It's like the local garage being replaced by lots of shadetree
> >mechanics because SUN or someone sold them a PC based auto repair
> >system.
>
> Look around your area. How many quick oil change shops do you see?
> Now, how many places with real mechanics do you see? That collapse
> happened years ago, in part fostered by higher technology cars and
> manufacturers that didn't document how things worked, which made
> actual skilled diagnosis a thing of the past.
>
> The computer industry is even worse.... thousands of kids working on
> Windows machines who really have no clue how they work inside, competing
> with skilled sysadmins. Oh, well, you just reinstall the OS when anything
> goes wrong anyway.
> --scott
> >
>
>
> --
> "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."


There is a guy who has been doing a sort of digital video service
thingy for live music/comedy/rap whatever. He does it with little
Mini-DV cams and overall it is fairly amatuerish. But that is what
someone on the higher end is up against. But by the same token, I'm not
sure the bigger players would have ever seen any of that business.

I wonder if the actual volume of business in larger, more traditional
studios is really down or if maybe the business itself expanded beyond
its realistic market. Looking at it, the proliferation of lower end
audio recording gear was initially fostered by the success of the
bigger players and the throw off, equipment that the next tier down was
able to scoop up and use.

Mike
 
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Thomas Bishop wrote:

> Anyone out there running studios in small towns where there is no other
> studio in at least a 60 mile radius? I'm wanting to open a studio but am
> torn. On one side, there is no other studio for competition. On the other,
> there must be some reason why there isn't. I know why the last guy failed,
> and that was because of his lack of business skills and responsibility.
>
> So any tips on starting up a studio, especially in a situation like mine?
> I've been reading information on the Net and in books but would like some
> first hand conversation with some folks. Thanks a lot.

The only local studios I can think of over here in the UK that even remotely
make enough money even to stay open earn their bread and butter by providing
rehearsal rooms. You might care to consider if you can do that. It's likely to
be a more regular income. Studio work is then the icing on the cake.

Graham
 
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Pooh Bear <rabbitsfriendsandrelations@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:42FCFBAB.1B21E11C@hotmail.com:

> The only local studios I can think of over here in the UK that even
> remotely make enough money even to stay open earn their bread and
> butter by providing rehearsal rooms. You might care to consider if you
> can do that. It's likely to be a more regular income. Studio work is
> then the icing on the cake.

That sounds like a sensible combination. Provide people a place to
practice so that when they get good they can record in the studio.
 
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"Pooh Bear" <rabbitsfriendsandrelations@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> The only local studios I can think of over here in the UK that even
> remotely
> make enough money even to stay open earn their bread and butter by
> providing
> rehearsal rooms. You might care to consider if you can do that. It's
> likely to
> be a more regular income. Studio work is then the icing on the cake.

I have considered that, but I'm afraid too many musicians here are either
kids who practice in dad's garage or they rent a house with a basement and
don't mind the cops being called on them 3 times a night, as long as it's
"free."
 

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