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How to start a recording studio business

If you have a passion for making music, starting a recording studio business may seem like a dream enterprise, especially if you already have experience of recording in your own home studio. Helping unknown artists on the path to success is an exciting prospect. However, starting up a professional recording studio is not easy. You need to be aware of what is involved and make sure that you are fully invested.

start a recording studio business

Here Emma Evans working alongside Provincial rubber breaks down how to start a recording studio business.

Knowing about the business

It’s important to remember that running your own professional recording studio is not just about recording; it’s about helping to create a unique sound for each artist that comes through the door. It’s also about having excellent budgeting and marketing skills, as well as being a good leader. It’s easy to think of the recording industry as being all about creativity, especially if you are used to using a home recording studio. However, it’s a business and you need to make a profit to succeed. If you are not interested in the hard slog of finding new clients, marketing your services and managing the finances, you may want to stick to your home studio.

What skills and expertise do you need?

The most important attribute to have if you are thinking of setting up a recording studio is passion. This is not something which should be taken lightly; the work is hard and the hours are long so if you do not truly love what you are doing it may be difficult to succeed. It also helps to have experience as a producer, especially if you are intending to record a lot of bands. Advanced mixing techniques are also a huge advantage if you are going to create the best possible overall sound on a track.

Away from music based skills, you have to be good with people. This is a client facing industry and you are not going to attract people to your studio if they cannot work with you. Good time management is another essential skill that you will need if you are not going to be swallowed up by hectic recording and marketing schedules.

A skill you may not think of is the ability to solder. It can be a real positive if you are able to repair equipment along the way rather than having to pay for the service.

Financing your recording studio business

Much like any other business, you cannot set up a recording studio unless you have the right financing in place. You need to be realistic about how much money you will need. Consider aspects such as:

  • Cost of premises (set-up and ongoing)
  • Utility bills
  • Professional services such as accountants
  • Wages for yourself and employees
  • Consumables

When you are first starting the business, you will need to make an average investment of around £20,000 to £45,000 for the kit alone. This includes:

  • Computers
  • Cabling
  • Patch board
  • Studio monitors
  • Amplifiers
  • Speakers
  • Microphones and stands
  • Headphones
  • Mixing desk
  • Software

The expenses you will face are large, so you need to make sure that you have solid financial backing in place before you invest any cash.

Where should your business be located?

The location of your recording studio is important. You need to be located in an area where you are going to be able to attract the type of clients that you are looking for. It helps if you can find premises in a commercial district due to the potential issues with noise. Although you should reduce the amount of noise emitted from the studio by using acoustic foam as soundproofing.

What you need to do when you start out

There are certain aspects of starting a business that you need to concentrate on, as you commence the journey of creating great music.

  • Produce a business plan
  • Create your business legally and register for tax
  • Open a business bank account
  • Hire an accountant
  • Ensure that you have the necessary permits, licenses and insurance in place
  • Create your brand and establish a web presence
  • Produce a marketing strategy

Neglecting the business aspect of your recording studio, in favour of the creativity, is not going to work. It’s important to remember that running a professional recording studio is a world away from using a home studio for your own recordings. It’s a business and your livelihood, and that of the artists who record with you could be dependent on how well you run it.

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