In the previous blog of this series, we discussed how to go about sourcing funding and what things one should be looking for when trying to build a recording studio business. Today we will discuss a few other important aspects of this business mainly from the human resource point of view as well as budgeting for a recording studio and who you need to hire to get your business off the ground.
If you’ve been to an average recording studio you know the personnel involved in running a studio, right from the reception to the getting your final masters there are a bunch of professionals working behind the scene to make this happen.
In this case, the job roles are very clearly divided into 3 main sections:
A. Studio Owner:
The main founder or Owner of the business can be involved in the business up to varying degrees, in some studios, the Owner can act as a manager whereas in some spaces the Owner also works as a Composer/Producer/Engineer for the studio. More often than not the Studio Owner plays an important role in the day-to-day activities of the business to keep it running smoothly.
Usually, in most scenarios, the Studio Owner starts as an Engineer or a Producer and rises through the ranks to become the owner of his/her studio.
B. Studio Manager:
This is one of the most important and often highly overlooked job roles of any Studio. A Studio Manager is your point of contact between the Artists and the Studio, managing their schedules, ensuring that the studio is booked throughout the month. Making sure files are delivered on time to the clients, managing schedules with different engineers and their needs at the studio. This job role is highly complex and needs a person who has an innate skill for organization and structure.
Apart from all of this the Studio Manager also often has discussions about money and other finances for a project with the Studio Manager since money is often a sensitive subject between an Engineer and a client.
A. Chief Engineer:
As the name clearly explains the Chief engineer is the main engineer at the studio who looks after all the studios in the space and ensures that the Quality of all other studios is up to the studio standards.
The chief engineer also often has to take on the responsibility of understanding a client’s requirement for a given project and execute it with the resources that the studio has access to.
B. Associate Engineer:
This job role is second in line to the Chief Engineer and is someone who works alongside the Engineer to execute sessions. In the absence of the Chief Engineer, the Associate Engineer takes on the job role of looking after and executing sessions at the studio. In a multi-studio Setup, usually, both the Chief and the associate engineers are pretty much at the same positions but work in separate rooms.
C. Assistant Engineer:
C. Maintenance Engineer:
In large multi-room studio setups, there usually is an Inhouse maintenance engineer who takes care of issues on hand like a channel on a console dropping out of speakers not functioning properly or any other electrical issue. Given the fragile nature of analog equipment, this job role was a very important one to ensure a smooth flow of work in the studio. Since a lot of technology has moved out from Analog to Digital now most studios don’t see the need of keeping a maintenance engineer for a full-time position at the studio.
Now that we’ve understood these job roles let’s quickly dive into the different studios that can be set up depending on how much amount you’re willing to invest in the business:
This should give us clarity in the following blogs in terms of how to go about setting up and executing these various businesses and what sets them apart from each other
The Bedroom/Home Studio
With the advent of Digital technology now its become very easy to set up a decent recording studio that’s capable of putting out Grammy-winning records. The Bedroom/Home Studio has become the most common studio that you’d come across. The Bedroom Studio is set up by either a Musician/Producer/Composer to work on their music from the comfort of their homes and to be able to jot down their ideas easily into demos that they can later flesh out in the studio.
This saves the Musicians and Producers from the task of scheduling/booking managing time and spending money inside a studio which can be done at home. Although this has made it harder for studios to generate a steady stream of revenue this in some way has helped make their entire process of making a record cheaper and more efficient. In Fact, some Musicians don’t even need to book a studio and can write/produce/mix and Master their records from their bedrooms.
Although these studios are just built ideally for only the musician, a lot of them hire their studio out to others to generate some income on the initial heft amount that it costs to do the acoustics, sound Isolation, and purchasing of Audio Equipment for their Home Setups.
Commercial Mid Budget Studio
These are studios that are built from a commercial point of view but specifically targeting a clientele that does not have the budget to book a Large Studio facility. Low budget studios usually work with upcoming musicians/enthusiasts and take on smaller Voice Over projects that are the primary source of revenue for them. These projects will not boast of a large-format console or other outboard equipment. They will have a few microphones that do the job for just these basic recordings that they will be dealing with regularly.
These studios can evolve into a high budget studio over time as they start collecting a better range of equipment and microphones.
World Class Studio
These are the studios that know the world over for their quality of equipment and services.
Usually, the most expensive studios that have multiple rooms, and a plethora of equipment, and a huge microphone locker to boast about.
These studios are usually the go to’s to all the major record labels, these studios require a very high investment and usually have a bunch of partners and investors involved.
Over the last decade, we have seen the decline of such studios since it’s finally not viable to run space with so much infrastructure and equipment in our current Music Industry.