5 Ways To Make Money With Your Recording Studio.
So, you’ve built a home studio. If you’ve built up at least a decent set of near field monitors, a computer with a D.A.W, mic preamp and 2 sets of headphones you probably consider that setup a “home studio” whether your room is treated or not. (Need info on room acoustics?) If you do have at minimum a basic setup, you’ve invested a nice amount of money. For most people in this category you invested in your home studio for personal use without regard to ROI (return on investment) but at some point in your home studio ownership you will start to evaluate the cost/benefit analysis of your recording studio investment and that’s where this article comes in. As a professional recording engineer full-time and part-time I’ve recorded in many spaces owned by various studios and producers to artists and at some point there is always a consideration as to how and when you’ll make any or all of your money back on this costly investment. If you have a professional studio or project studio, your main purpose for creating the studio should have been thought out before you invested like any business. For the home studio owners your entrepreneurial aspirations may have come as an afterthought to your love of recording music, film post or podcasts etc. but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make money so, I’m here to get those thought bubbles percolating. Here are 5 proven ways to turn your home studio into a money making venture:
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Recording Music, Voiceover, Podcasts, Audio Books etc.
Recording music, sound effects or voiceover is generally the initial reason we all built our recording studios in the first place. Outside of your own projects, it’s a pretty natural transition to offer your studio up for recording to others for a fee. Here are a few things to remember if you decide to allow others into your home or your recording space (Many times these are one in the same).
· Decide on the rules beforehand and stick by them (i.e. Smoking, Drinking, eating, conduct etc. in the studio)
· Decide on set rates (hourly, flat day rates, flat project rates). In general, hourly rates and day rates work best because people can take advantage of flat project rates but you’ll have to determine what works best for you and your clients depending on your relationship.
· Make sure that clients are completely informed on the rules and the process for billing.
· Get a down payment or full payment upfront. No bending on this unless you like to get burned. Many pro studios require 50% upfront and 50% upon receiving the final files. Others require the full payment before you start your session. With a home/project studio you’ll need to charge less than a traditional studio but that doesn’t mean to devalue your time or your space. Determine your process and stick with it. People will respect you for it.
· Develop a set process for general wear and tear on your studio gear. Overtime the use of your gear will deteriorate the gear. Establish a savings fund to replace things like headphone earmuffs and cords that break down the easiest.
· Don’t forget to take the opportunity of having new clients in your space as a chance to connect with other like minds, new talent and other musicians that could possible help you on your craft at a later date. It’s always a good idea to keep your eyes open to new partners even while you are renting your studio out.
Editing, Mixing or Mastering
If you aren’t recording or renting your studio out to recording artists, don’t forget about the other part of the industry. If you have an acoustically treated room you’re prime to rent your studio out to mix engineers or for editing sessions. The small project studios that would be most attractive for this type of work would be studio with more outboard gear, higher end monitoring chains and/or better D/A converters. If you have, for some reason, invested more money in your monitoring chain or more money in your D/A conversion process (as many engineers do), you have a studio that is more attractive to a traveling mix engineer or post production engineer.
Renting your space out for mastering takes a specially designed studio. If your studio isn’t acoustically designed for mastering, you won’t find any mastering engineers to rent to because there are very special intricacies needed to correctly master recordings. Only keep this option in mind if you have a mastering room already. You can rent your space out to other engineers as a way to make extra income when you do not have projects.
Editing can be done in any studio; you only need a D.A.W setup so by all means go ahead and reach out to engineers that need to get on a quick Cubase, Logic or Pro Tools Rig for a few hours of cleaning up their recordings. D.A.W’s are easy to come by so you may want to position your monitoring setup as the draw for a nice editing session. That should set your space apart from others.
Related: How To Lose Clients As A Freelance Audio Engineer
Rent your studio out for photo sessions. Whenever I visit a major studio for a session or a masterclass, I always take photos because of the great gear and the awesome setups you just can’t see anywhere else. I always notice others doing the same. Artists love to take photos in recording studios and it’s a quick easy way to make extra bucks when your studio isn’t booked. New artists need to set up EPK packages and Demos. A nice hour-long photo session will be a great addition to those packages.
Masterclasses / Teaching
If you are a trained audio engineer like myself or even if you aren’t and you have a host of real world experience consider using your recording studio for masterclasses or instructional sessions. Here’s a list of a few ideas, you can use various digital websites or apps to advertise your services.
· D.A.W instruction (Are you an expert on Pro Tools or other D.A.Ws?)
· Instruction on Hardware (Keyboard Programming, Pre-Amps or Compressors etc?)
· Instruction on Mixing and Recording
· Instructions on Ear Candy (Delays, Reverbs, Stutter effects or genre specific cool tricks)
· Instruction on Running A Studio and Recording A Session
· Acoustic Design (Only do this if you have been specifically trained, because Acoustic design is highly technical and needs to be precise to be effective)
Don’t limit your studio, Masterclasses can be a great way to connect with the Audio Community in your area, establish connections and network. It’s also a way to get more clientele and increase your studio brand awareness without major marketing and you can make money in the meantime.
Live Podcast Recording/Filming
I mentioned Podcast recording earlier, but I also wanted to mention using your studio as a live filming studio. Podcasts have been “all the rage” for the past few years and many of them film and broadcast video as well. If you have a cool place or you wouldn’t mind spending a few bucks to spruce your studio up, you can host live filming sessions in your studio as well. Check out podcasts on YouTube and see what a typical studio filming looks like and you can put your spin on it. Making your studio more versatile is always a great idea and this adds an extra element.
Related: 5 Tools To Perfect Podcast Audio
**Are You Using Your Studio To Make Money In Multiple Ways? Do You Have Ways To Make Money With Your Studio That We Missed? Let Us Know In The Forum**
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