Recording studios take a lot of effort to run. They are extremely expensive to operate and purchase, and in recent times, they’ve become increasingly challenging to keep operating. Whilst the equipment is super expensive, the music industry has taken some unexpected hits (and not the musical kind) in recent years. Lastly, marketing this complex business is very expensive and difficult to navigate. We’re going to expand on these points and look at why they’re a recording studio is so difficult to operate in the modern era.0
Recording studio equipment has always been very pricey but the cost seems to be going up for a few different reasons. Firstly, vintage equipment, which still sounds incredible, is no longer made. A limited supply of this equipment, and the nostalgia that has fuelled demand, has seen prices of certain pieces of gear skyrocket. This includes vintage microphones, outboard equipment, analogue synths, guitars, and much more. Whilst digitisation of this kit seems to have made it more accessible, the reality is that these mere emulations are just that – Emulations. Therefore, producers and engineers are forking out ridiculous prices for vintage equipment.
Recording studio digitisation has seen kids and enthusiasts have access to incredible capability of their smartphones, laptops, and home systems. This has meant that remaining relevant as a business has become increasingly difficult. The recording studio really needs to bring something special to the table otherwise people can just do what they want to do at home. This means you need to be highly talented, skilled and have access to equipment that isn’t to the customer.
The music industry has taken a huge hit with the streaming of content on platforms like Spotify and iTunes. This has meant that it’s impossible for an artist to sell their music and make enough money to justify the recording studio costs. Once again, the studio needs to bring something serious to the table to justify its position in the supply chain to artists.
Recording studio advertising is now essentially a black hole of complexity and uncertainty. Google has essentially become the event horizon to money for the owner-operator of the modern recording studio. Attempting to anticipate marketing and search engine algorithms is an endless and uncertainly must with no guaranteed results and it is all in the name of getting visibility to potential customers. The world finds itself in a hyper-capitalist conundrum where we are all slaves to Google and its promise to deliver work to our doorsteps.
This is now life in the modern era for many businesses. Sadly, the recording studio is no different. One asks themselves where it is all headed. Will the recording studio, as we knew it in the twentieth century, die out forever only to be taken out by the bedroom setup? This could see the end of the studios like Abbey Road and Air Studios. But the bigger questions will be, what will happen to music?