Highly equipped recording studio is always in demand in music and entertainment industry. In fact the quality of a recording mostly depends on the quality of recording studio. Proper financial and marketing planning is required in starting this business.
Starting a recording studio business is fraught with financial and technical challenges, but can be successfully accomplished with the proper mixture of training, equipment choice, studio design and clientele. Studios are generally employed by clients on a rental basis to provide high-tech equipment, expertise and facilities to produce salable creative projects. Studio owners and personnel must be equipped and technically adept at fulfilling customer needs in an efficient and professional manner, in an environment that is conducive and inspiring to the creative process. Training and expertise is vital to success, as equipment and techniques are complex, and require knowledge of proven methods to achieve professional results.
1. Obtain training and experience by taking formal education courses at specialty schools, or you may intern or work at a recording studio.
2. Perform market research in your area to justify the existence of a recording studio. Evaluate your competition and speak to as many local musicians as possible to get an idea of the market and existing rental rates. You may choose to hire a market research company for this task.
3. Prepare a business plan outlining all details of your recording studio business. You will need a business plan if you applying for outside financing through a lending institution or investors. You may wish to contact a business consultant or your local SCORE for business plan assistance (See Resources). The U.S. Small Business Administration website also offers free general business plan and startup advice on their website (See Resources).
4. Secure a facility for your studio. The studio may be in your home if local business zoning ordinances allow it, or you may rent storefront or warehouse space.
5. Obtain local business permits and state tax licenses. There are no special permits or licenses to operate a recording studio, but the facility may be subject to a local safety inspection to obtain a business occupancy permit. If your studio business will operate as a corporation or LLC, file the necessary documents with your secretary of state.
6. Design and build your interior studio space. You may hire a studio designer and building contractor, or do it yourself with the necessary knowledge and training. Studio designs vary, but will generally include a soundproof control room, isolation booths, performance and listening rooms.
7. Furnish the studio with the necessary equipment. Your equipment will vary with your budget and studio capabilities, but will generally include a mixing console, recording device, microphones, play-back equipment, headphones, and all necessary cables, stands and accessories.
8. Purchase general business asset and liability insurance from your insurance company. Since clients will be using the studio, liability insurance is necessary as you will be personally liable if accidents occur.
9. Market your recording studio through ads in local and regional publications, and websites, and by passing out fliers, brochures and business cards at music stores and live music venues.
- Check with local authorities before beginning work, as you may be required to obtain a building permit. The studio design must adhere to all local interior commercial building codes with clearly marked exits and fire apparatus. If it is not, you may be closed down and subject to fines and penalties.
- Exercise smart equipment investing strategies, and don’t overextend your budget, even if you have financing. Studios make the bulk of their money on rental income which is market-driven. You may experience severe financial hardship if your expenses outweigh the average rental rate in your area.
- The recording studio business is competitive and can be very costly to start. Market research, a sound business plan, marketing and advertising strategies are paramount to success.
- Consider specializing to gain a competitive edge. Attempting to cater to every client-type can reflect poorly on your business reputation unless you have the equipment and space.