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Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Dilemma Of The Studio Business

The graphic on the left represents the dilemma of the recording studio business. It's the legendary Electric Lady Studio's rate card from 1994 and it's evidence why so many legendary studios have been turned into condos.

If you take notice, a lock-out rate (meaning the studio is purchased for the entire day) ranges from $2,500 to $2,800 a day. 16 years later, major studio rates are the same, even less if you get a deal.

Now consider that the 1994 rates were about the same as in 1984 and you can see why being in the studio business is not a way to get rich quickly.

As the joke goes - "How do you make a million dollars in the music business? Start with 2 million."

There was a silver lining back in 1994 though. The studio could make some extra dough on gear rentals and magnetic tape, as well as accessories like DATs, cassettes and automation backup media. Today, thanks to digital files, that extra income stream has fallen by the wayside. Everyone brings their own hard drives and CDs so it's hard to charge extra except for a vintage piece of gear.

That's the reason why it just doesn't pay to get into the studio business on any level anymore. The costs to build the studio are more than ever, the cost of the real estate is still through the roof, and you can't even hope to be paid what studios where making 25 years ago, if you do happen to get a booking with a budget.

So be thankful for the major studios that still exist like Capitol, Oceanway, Henson, Record Plant, Sunset Sound, Avatar, and Blackbird and lets hope that there's enough work left to keep them alive.

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Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating the music business.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

"...automation backup media."

Big profit in Floppy Disks! :-)


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