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The Studio Business Book: A Guide to Professional Recording Studio Business and Management, Third Edition

Book Description

All studios, both large and small, spend a lot of money every year in an unending quest to attract clients-- whether they are upgrading equipment, tweaking acoustics, or adding that big leather couch for the back of the control room. But merely throwing money at a studio may not be enough to keep it competitive. As with any other business, a recording studio must be properly managed in order to be profi table, or merely to break even. This all-new and expanded edition of The Studio Business Book is the bestselling step-by-step guide to operating and managing a professional recording facility. Used by studio owners, managers, and as a text for university courses, it begins with the basics: formulating a business plan, estimating studio startup costs (from small project studios to world-class rooms), finding a location, getting funded, and making equipment purchases. From there, the book takes you through the necessary details of business operation: accounting, phone, network and utility services, insurance plans, promoting your venture, and increasing revenues. Other chapters cover the fine art of studio management: scheduling sessions, dealing with clients, hiring and firing employees, maintaining and upgrading equipment, and how to cope with all kinds of disasters. The authors combine decades of insider experience and knowledge of the subject in this solid, well-written and carefully organized text. As an added bonus, numerous interviews with leading experts in every facet of the business are interspersed throughout the chapters, providing rare insights and fi rst-hand advice from successful industry veterans who deal with studio operations every day. This is truly a must-have book for anyone interested in starting a recording business.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. About the Author
  4. Introduction
  5. Looking Out from the inside
    1. Members of the Team
    2. Typecasting
    3. Profile 1: Return to the Top
  6. Writing a Business Plan
    1. Dividing the Plan into Sections
    2. Taking Your Time
    3. The Elements of a Business Plan
    4. The Logic in Writing It Out
    5. Signing the Deal
    6. Profile 2: From Home Studio to Commercial Facility
  7. How Much Does It Cost? How Much Have You Got?
    1. Buying into Raging Technology
    2. A Buyer’s Primer
    3. Analog or Digital
    4. Trends in the Marketplace
    5. A Low-end, High-quality Setup
    6. The Next Level
    7. A Professional Midrange Studio
    8. The Business Expense Breakdown
    9. Adding Video
    10. The Room of Dreams
    11. Back to the Real World
    12. Profile 3: Basking in the Digital Tropical Domain
  8. Making It Happen
    1. Getting Funded
    2. Leasing
    3. Partnership
    4. Profile 4: Finding Your Niche
    5. Other Ways to Find Money
    6. Profile 5: Carving a Creative Niche in a Small Town
  9. The Project Studio
    1. Home Studios and the All-in Deal
    2. The Current Balance
    3. Home Studios and the Law
    4. Getting Real
    5. Independent Contractors
    6. Profile 6: World-class in Suburbia
  10. Expense Planning
    1. Finding a Break-even Point
    2. Finding Space
    3. Phone Systems
    4. Turning on the Lights
    5. Legal and Accounting Services
    6. The Insurance Maze
    7. Medical Plans
    8. Support Services
    9. Studio Support Pros
    10. Other Office Expenses
    11. Profile 7: Cooking Up a Studio
  11. Putting a Price on Value
    1. Location
    2. Profile 8: Fine Arts in Fargo
    3. Square Footage
    4. Considering the Equipment
    5. Profile 9: Choosing Vintage Gear to Create a Unique Facility
    6. The Quality of the Staff
    7. The People Connection
    8. Creature Comforts
    9. The Care and Feeding of Your Reputation
    10. Setting Rates
    11. Profile 10: A Tree Grows in Georgia
    12. Bidding on Projects
    13. Bidding on Films
    14. Profile 11: Destination: Studio
    15. Getting Paid
    16. Profile 12: Multiple Income Streams
  12. Income Sources: Getting Creative
    1. The Lesson of the Nine Dots
    2. Getting into Production
    3. Speculating on Success
    4. Gig Band Album Packages
    5. Playing on the Session
    6. Scoring to Picture
    7. Profile 13: Navigating the Television Jungle
    8. Duplication
    9. CD Transfers
    10. Music and Dialog Editing
    11. Renting Out Equipment
    12. Renting Out the Room
    13. Teaching School
    14. Art for Art’s Sake
    15. The Puzzle Solution
    16. Profile 14: Diversity and Uncompromising Quality
  13. Developing Contacts
    1. Making New Connections
    2. The Cold Call
    3. Profile 15: Recording the Fine Arts
    4. Telemarketing and Commission Sales
    5. Schmoozing Your Way to Success
    6. Profile 16: Jammin’ down the Digital Highway
  14. Advertising and PR
    1. Using Direct Mail
    2. Print Ads
    3. The Web
    4. Staying in Touch
    5. Getting Publicity
    6. Profile 17: Rising from the Ashes
  15. The Art of Scheduling
    1. Scheduling Guidelines
    2. Problems and Conflicts in Scheduling
    3. Trying to Please Everyone All the Time: A Recurring Story
    4. The Schedule Book
    5. Profile 18: Nashville Surround Sound
    6. Booking and Work Orders
    7. Internal Scheduling
    8. Planning for a Marathon Session
    9. Projects from Mars
  16. Keeping Track of Things
    1. The Media Vault
    2. Numbering Systems
    3. Minding the Store
  17. Politics and Psychology
    1. Setting the Scene
    2. Dealing with Personalities
    3. Post-session Politics
    4. When You Lose a Client
    5. Profile 19: The UK Alternative
  18. Equipment, Money, and Strategy
    1. Choosing the Right Equipment
    2. Buying Intelligently
    3. Profile 20: Composer Collective
    4. Finessing Sizable Sums
    5. Beta Testing a Weighty Alternative
    6. Profile 21: Hitting the Jackpot
  19. On Being the Boss
    1. How to Play Fair and Stay in Chicago
    2. Payroll Etiquette
    3. Company Meetings
    4. Taking Responsibility
    5. Some Personal Philosophy
    6. Profile 22: High-End Recording on the Prairie
  20. Hiring and Firing
    1. Hiring a Receptionist
    2. Hiring an Engineer
    3. Learning the Rules
    4. Interviewing
    5. Profile 23: Analog Style
    6. Interns
    7. People Problems
    8. Salaries and Egos
    9. Profile 24: Creativity and Five-Star Service
    10. When to Raise a Salary
    11. When to Fire an Employee
    12. Dealing with Substance Abuse
  21. The Employee Manual
    1. The Employee Handbook
    2. The Interlok Employee Handbook
    3. Profile 25: The New Music Industry
  22. Coping with Disaster
    1. The Client Spills His Drink on the Console
    2. A Fistfight Breaks Out in the Control Room
    3. The Specially Shipped Gear for the Sunday Session Gets Locked in the Warehouse for the Weekend
    4. The Entire 30-minute Master Gets Accidentally Erased
    5. The Producer Decides the Monitoring System Is Unacceptable
    6. The Superstar Books a Session and Then Has His Own Disaster
    7. The Studio Gets Some Unexpected Publicity
    8. A Plumbing Problem Gives “Surf’s Up” a Whole New Meaning
  23. Betting on the Future
    1. Equipping Yourself for Change
    2. Trends that Look Like They Aren’t about to Disappear
    3. Looking for the Middle
    4. The Writing on the Wall
    5. Coming Soon…
    6. Finding Your Own Way
  24. The Manager’s Quick Reference Guide
    1. Pro and Home Recording Formats
    2. Professional Organizations
    3. Web Resources
    4. Trade Magazines
    5. Recommended Reading