Starting a recording studio in 2021: 10 tips for first-time entrepreneurs


© Dmitry Demidov

It is undeniable that the entertainment, music, and film industries have been among the hardest-hit ones by the current pandemic and its consequences. While the vaccine rollouts have started to make the new normal much more than a distant mirage, there is still a long way ahead for entrepreneurs and artists in this sector to get back on their feet. 

Nonetheless, with summer on our doorstep, it is easy to see how the music industry will bounce back in no time - as soon as it is possible and safe for artists to return to the stage. So, if you have experience in the music industry or as a composer, it might be the right time for you to take the leap and open your own recording studio finally. Here are a few tips that can help you bring your recording studio to life - successfully and on a budget. 

Understand Today's Different Market

As the summer and festival season is approaching, it is easy to see how artists will return to doing what they love the most as soon as it is possible to do so. At the same time, it is essential to understand that the pandemic has caused some severe scarring across the industry. 

Since artists and musicians might not have been able to perform live for over a year, their income and budget might be reduced. Therefore, you might be in front of a new market that is looking for recording services that are affordable, versatile, and easy to engage with. 

Of course, producing a record is one of the most important rites of passage for new artists - and one they can't do without! Making your services more affordable can help you increase the number of artists interested and give a chance to new talents to show their potential - which will reflect positively on your studio. 

It Is Still All About Location

While many industries are becoming increasingly more digital, the entertainment industry is still based on solid local roots. Many entrepreneurs decide to start their recording studio right within their homes or garage to keep the costs downs. However, it is also vital to understand how to get the right visibility - and what locations hide the best talents! Naturally, your budget will dictate your recording studio's location. However, don't forget that you can find exceptional deals on real estate at the moment! So, make sure you consider if the return on investment in a particular area will be higher than in another. 

Understand Your Costs

If you have decided to open a recording studio, you are likely to have years of experience in the music and entertainment sector. And, if you have this kind of experience, you know that running a business in this industry is not cheap. However, it is important to differentiate what are the costs you can't avoid and the ones that are unnecessary extras. 

For example, you might want your studio to have a particular design and atmosphere. And, undeniably, these are aspects that can significantly impact the artist's performance. At the same time, investing in high-quality equipment and spaces might be a priority for a new business. If you are just starting out, make sure you are allocating your budget wisely!

It Is Never a One-Man-Band

Opening a recording studio is likely to be one of the best experiences you will have in your life. However, it is vital that you accept that it is never a one-man-band! While you might have valuable insights in the industry sector, you need an expert in marketing, a studio designer, and someone who understands the financial aspects of running a business. It is not essential to have all of these skills - what's important is to find the right team to propel your young business forward. And, even if you are not so eager to cooperate and share the profits, keep in mind that this might be the key to achieve much greater returns.  

Diversify Your Income Streams

Of course, the main aim of a recording studio is to give musicians and artists the chance to record their music and start working towards a successful career. However, regardless of where your studio is located, you are likely to have competition - as well as an extremely limited target market.

While it can be positive to have a limited audience to target, it might significantly reduce your income potential. In this case, you should consider your options to enlarge your market and diversify your scope. 

Some great ideas to ensure that your business can remain competitive no matter the economic landscape include:

  • Be open to podcasts - the podcast industry is one of the fastest-growing ones in the entertainment sector. Whatever skills or knowledge you have, you can always find an audience for your podcast. And, many more people see the benefits of this industry. Make sure to open your recording studio to podcast creators.
  • Voice acting - voice acting has become an incredible opportunity for many artists to diversify their income. And, as digital media and interactions are becoming an important part of our lives, voiceovers are always more in demand.  
  • Provide sound systems - rent out equipment, including microphones, stands, speakers, and amps to local events. You will always have someone asking for your services, and it is a great chance to improve your network.

Invite Artists To Test Your Studio

If you have just launched your recording studio on a budget, you might be eager to see the first profits coming through. However, in the beginning, it is all about investing your resources wisely. For example, you should consider inviting over artists and creators to try your studio for free - especially if they have an important social media reach. While you might consider this initiative an unnecessary investment at first, it is crucial to keep in mind that you are looking to create a long-term, sustainable business. So, visibility is much more critical than one artist's fee in the long run.

Using social media to reach out to young artists is a great option, but you should also not overlook the power of word of mouth. 

Connect With the Community

If there is something that the pandemic has reminded us is the importance of our community. During the challenging months that we have all lived, our local community turned out to be the main help we received. In the case of specific industries, such as entertainment and hospitality, local alliances have been the only thing that kept the whole sector afloat. Therefore, it is essential that your business does not remain an island.

So, make sure you are launching outreach initiatives to give an opportunity to young artists to perform at a professional studio and be engaged. Additionally, you could offer free music lessons for children in the area at the local park - aside from bringing your business image to the next level, it also allows you to support your local community. 

Depending on the type of reach you wish to have, you might also decide to collaborate with local schools and be the sponsor for local music events and festivals. Just get out there and start creating valuable relationships.

Spend Time Developing Digital Marketing Skills

Once your business becomes highly profitable, you can start considering having an in-house marketing team that handles the advertising strategy for you. However, in the beginning, you will find yourself wearing many hats during the day. And, among other skills you should have is an in-depth marketing understanding. Even if this is something that you have never been interested in before, it is crucial that you develop your knowledge and understand what channels will play in your favor. 

Undoubtedly, you should consider having a social media handle on each platform - which is a great way to show off your studio and reply to any question or inquiry of your audience. 

However, it is also important that you understand the value of local SEO and hosting a blog. It goes without saying that your business's website is your main point of contact with your audience - so it should be fast, responsive, and comprehensive. 

Lastly, if you have always been a fan of flyers and word of mouth, you can find safer and more efficient technology in QR codes. They are easy to stick in highly visible locations and allow anybody to check out your business directly from their phones. 

Run Special Offers

Don't be afraid to invest some money to make money. In the beginning, you will be looking to increase your reach and get in touch with as many influential individuals in the sector as possible. Make sure you are running special offers and free giveaways to attract the interest of your audience - without asking them to commit. In a moment where everyone has a limited budget to use, it has become more important for artists to find a studio that suits their needs. Give them a chance to fall in love with your studio for free.

Let Technology Help You With Admin Work

If you are opening a recording studio, you are likely to do so for your love for music - not for admin work. However, administration, compliance, and finances are essential aspects for any business that wishes to be successful. Luckily, today, you can use some smart pieces of technology such as an invoice app to automate some mundane aspects and focus on what's important: growing your business.

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