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Music Recording Studios

Goals

To understand the industry trends and market research around music recording studios in the US including examples of price structures and strategies. The profitability, price structure, accessibility (private or public), and characteristics of success should also be considered. This information will be used to determine the competitive advantage for a business.

Early Findings

Recording Studios

  • Based on US Census data, there were 1,700 recording studios in the US in 2015. The studios employed 5,037 people, who were paid an average wage of $54,608.
  • The lions share of the studios are located in Los Angeles and New York, with Nashville, a distant third. The top five cities for recording studios is rounded out by Chicago and Miami.
  • In the age of the internet, many have argued that recording studios have a limited life expectancy. However, this is not necessarily the case. They offer what is not readily available when recording in a home environment. Professional recording studios offer the necessary sound, instruments, recording equipment, and perhaps most importantly the professional knowledge to successfully mix a song or album.

Cost of a Recording Studio

  • The quality of the recording equipment is usually the major determinant of price. Home studios typically start at around $25 per hour, while those with top of the line equipment are closer to $200 per hour.
  • Pricing is also determined by who is recording. A singer-songwriter who uses fewer resources and equipment will generally be charged less than a band. For example, Shine on Studios in California offers singer-songwriters a two-hour package, including a sound engineer for $150. The same package will cost a band $220.
  • The larger recording studios offer different sized rooms, which is also a factor in the pricing. The Abstract Studio in Los Angeles charges a competitive $25 per hour for its smallest room, with prices increasing with the size of the room chosen.
  • Some studios offer a flat rate studio rental without any time minimum or other conditions. Often these rentals include pre-production, mixing, and mastering. Examples of studios adopting this approach include Simchas´s Basement in New Jersey at $25 per hour and Indecent Music in Massachusetts at $45 per hour.

Summary

  • In our initial hour of research, we have determined there is a significant amount of information available around music recording studios, the factors of success, pricing, and current trends. We recommend continuing research as set out below.

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