So You Want to Own Your Own Recording Studio?

studio business

I get asked all the time by musicians and aspiring audio engineers how to break into the recording studio business. They want to know what the first steps are to making money and how to go about getting clients. Unfortunately, these questions are not straightforward to answer, and there are many things to consider before taking on your first client.

To help people with this, I will break down the topic into several different posts. Each week, I will add a new post to provide you with new information to absorb and think about. This way, you can start constructing a plan and begin your journey to becoming the owner of a professional recording studio, if that is something you really want to do.

First things first, you need to ask yourself why you want to be the owner of a recording studio. You need to be completely honest with yourself about this. Making money may be the obvious answer, but to become a successful recording studio owner, you must understand that this is a business. You need to understand way more than just how to mic up a guitar cabinet. So, if you're serious about owning a small business, start creating some sort of business plan. It does not have to be fancy or layered with spreadsheets, just something that outlines items like what type of studio you want to become.

Once you have decided on the type of studio, you need to consider what type of work you want to do. Do you want to just mix records for people who have recorded their music in a different studio or themselves? Or do you want to also be a tracking studio? This is important because the start-up cost to run a tracking studio is far greater than operating a studio that just does mixing and mastering. So, you need to decide what types of services you want to offer so you can pinpoint the answer to the first question "what type of studio do you want to become?"

Next, you need to list what you need to get started. You probably have some gear already, but here is a list of things you may want to include:

  • A computer for your studio
  • Software – DAW, plugins, etc.
  • Audio interface with enough inputs to accommodate your studio's needs
  • Good pair of studio monitors for mixing
  • Microphones
  • Cables – both XLR and ¼ inch
  • Mic stands, pop filters, mic clips, etc.
  • Headphones for artists recording in your studio
  • Website to advertise your studio
  • Local business licenses if applicable
  • Insurance if applicable
  • Business cards, flyers, and other promotional materials

These are the basics, and there may be more items you want to include. The point is to make a detailed list of everything you can think of that you need to get started recording clients on day one. When creating this list, do not go overboard, especially on the gear. You can get by on a lot less equipment than you may think.

In the next post, I will help lay out what you need versus what you would like to have. Start that list and business plan, and you're on your way to being a recording studio owner!

Your Coach - "Uncle" Dave 



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