Any person running a recording studio has to have the ability to properly conduct and manage the affairs that are involved in studio work.
I run a home studio and work with many clients, and I have learnt a lot of studio management techniques, because I handle client affairs at home.
Managing a recording studio is a stressful job to say the least.
That is the reason why you have to be passionate enough about the art of making music such that it makes it easier for you to carry out other tasks that come with the job.
You have to make sure you can play roles that require your expertise on the technical part of the recording work, the public relations with your clients and your entrepreneurial foresight.
The music industry is an ever changing dynamic that is why it pays to be able to adapt and be resilient to be able to withstand the landscape that is an ever constantly changing one.
In this post I compile a list of techniques that you can implement in your studio management style to ensure a smooth flow of operations in your recording studio work.
Optimize your studio
Make sure your studio is a clean and creative environment for your clients.
You’re in the art making business and the environment you provide for your clientele has to inspire and spark creativity.
Recording and making great music is partly psychological and is heavily influenced by surrounding.
Therefore, a professional and calm aesthetic will do well with artists.
Ensure your recording studio is well cared for, clean, roomy enough and well maintained to make your clients feel at home. (Here’s an article detailing how you can decorate your studio)
A key tip is to just make sure that your clients feel the value for the money that they pay for recording studio services.
This is also greatly tied in with how much you charge for music production
Operate like any other business would
Most non mainstream people that run recording studios mostly ignore the business aspect of things.
This is really a bad approach because your clients will only take you as serious as you take yourself.
Establish your credibility by operating like a business.
Have a clear and concise business model; this will help you in developing the services that you’ll be selling to potential clients.
Figure out your potential income streams, plan out your expenses, do your taxes, do the math and figure out just how much you need to make in order to make all the operational costs manageable.
Operating like a business also means managing the scheduling of appointments, and other administrative tasks.
Scheduling is very important because that is the only way that your clients have access to your services.
If you neglect proper scheduling, your studio will soon become a chaotic and disorganized mess, this is bad because it will cause stress with your clients, colleagues and your workflow.
So make sure you develop a system of handling matters for the best use of your time.
Your clientele should know that you value your time and theirs.
Lastly, ensure that your business model is financially sound and sustainable in the long run.
The key point here is to PLAN and make this a BUSINESS.
You have to create rapport with your clients.
Make them know that they are in a great working relationship with you.
This is very achievable because you’ll tend to spend a lot of time with your clients during recording sessions and sometimes even in your mixing and mastering sessions.
Be candid with them and make sure you’re forthcoming because you’ll have a hard time building rapport when a prospective client thinks you’re holding back or simply misleading them.
A little honesty goes a long so always remember to be yourself and act accordingly.
One of the most helpful techniques you can use to build rapport is to share something of value with your clients for free.
I always start out by giving my new clients a free studio session and then I later on introduce them to the studio fees by the second session.
By this time they have already gotten a taste of the service I’m offering and they feel much more comfortable paying upfront.
Initially, this means I’m making a loss upfront with the free studio session but the key is I’m strengthening a relationship with a customer that may potentially become exponentially profitable in the long run.
Another free service I offer as value to new clients is free mixing and mastering of their record, all they initially pay for is studio time.
This builds my relationship with them to great levels where trust becomes part of the equation.
Therefore you need to learn how to build and cultivate relationships.
Make your clients know that you their concerns are understood and you’ll do your best to solve their problem.
In any business a strong client relationship is just as valuable as money, perhaps even more valuable.
This is a quality that any business owner should possess.
Take pride in your work and deliver excellent services to your clients in order for them to keep coming back to purchase your services over and over again.
You need to understand that being able to win your clients hearts and building loyalty takes a lot of time.
In order for you to actually build great client relationships, you will need to consistently deliver quality services.
One thing customer’s value is consistency and they base their expectations on their previous experiences.
Keep this in mind and deliver great services, when you continue to do this you will essentially build your clients confidence and faith in you, which is important because no service delivery business is perfect.
Clients are more likely to forgive a mistake in the service delivery if it can be fixed quickly.
Correcting mistakes and missteps is great customer service and it will keep your customers satisfied and happy.
This is why consistency is such an important aspect of any business, because clients need to be assured that you will deliver on your promises at the appropriate time.
In the recording studio business, word spreads fast and clients bring more clients.
You will only be able to achieve great success this by being consistent.
Meet your deadlines
One effective management tool is the ability to be able to meet your deadlines.
Recording studio work is one stressful job and requires a lot of effort to bring all of your client’s projects to completion.
Deadline driven work often involves mixing and mastering.
If you want to be successful in this business you have to learn how to nail your deadlines in the agreed timeframe.
Not meeting peoples deadlines will simply not work well for you in this business and you’ll end up losing a bunch of your clients if your work ethic is unprofessional.
Here are two ways I use to improve my deadline driven work:
- I first set out a do list for my pending work. This helps me to categorize and prioritize tasks.
- Another trick I use is to break down the tasks in smaller units; the smaller the task, the more they seem achievable. I basically assign my smaller tasks into weekly, daily and hourly tasks and proceed as planned.
Use your strengths and find your identity
Know yourself and identify your strengths and find the clients to match.
You know what you’re generally good at when it comes to making music.
Essentially that niche is your strong point and you have to make sure that you find clients that will appreciate your artistic standpoint.
You cannot be good at everything and that’s just a fact of life.
Rather than trying to go into every genre, focus on what you’re good at.
It will save you time and energy.
Your basic aim is to serve your customer and knowing yourself and what you have to uniquely offer will put you way ahead of so many others.
From a management perspective, it is essential to genuinely identify your target clientele that you can work with whilst staying true to yourself.
You have something unique to offer; therefore you cannot afford to deceive yourself and others by doing something you’re not specialised in.
Therefore build your strengths in ways that remain true to your identity.
Be Efficient and productive
In order to maximize your return you have to be productive in order for you make the most out of your billable hours.
Being highly productive and efficient are key elements that are required for the success of your business.
Make sure you optimize your working space In order to ensure that your work is not affected by a myriad of distractions.
This is why treating your recording studio as a business is important because that particular mind-set makes it possible for you to take the work seriously and focus on your tasks and goals.
Set aside time to attend to your clients and their needs.
Planning out your time will make it easier for you to keep track and stay appraised of the actions you wish to take and what particular amount of time you assign to each action.
I have particularly set apart my recording hours and mixing hours, I usually dedicate the mornings to studio sessions because I want to be in with the client when they fresh in order to make the best use of our time.
There are a lot of activities that go into my day so I make sure I utilize every hour properly.
My recording sessions usually run up to noon, there after I have some time to grab lunch, which I’ve assigned only an hour.
There after I can take a meeting and then get back to the studio to mix and master some projects.
I generally leave my studio at 6pm, and I mostly use that down time to improve on my craft, relax and plan for the next day.
This is a basic description of how I utilize my hours efficiently to ensure much more productivity.
You can copy my formula and improve it; you have the technology that makes everything easier to do without compromising quality.
Build a great team
There’s nothing like having quiet the right team to help you grow as a recording studio business.
Working independently can be challenging that is why record labels hire staff to help them with their day-to-day activities and to assign specific tasks to groups of people that can work on behalf of the label.
As your recording studio grows, so does the need for extra help.
You may be of the idea that working independently is the answer, but specialization is what you need.
If you really want to create long term value, you must build a team that can deliver services that customers want.
Develop a work culture that makes collaboration feel easier, the team you build should be one with an approach to improve the business.
Your team should view the success of the studio as the most important thing.
Building the right team is definitely challenging, that’s why it’s important to start out early.
For example if you hired a studio manager, they would come equipped with all this knowledge that I’m sharing here and you wouldn’t have to micro manage everything yourself.
Nevertheless it does help to have some managerial knowledge so that you can pitch in from time to time.
It’s all about the art
You have to balance the business aspect and music aspect that comes with the music business.
Your clientele will be attracted to the quality of the service that you give to them that is why you have to invest in building the right recording studio.
You’re making music and that’s the primary service that you’re selling.
For your business to stand the test of time the service delivery has to be polished and up to par, therefore it is cardinal that you create an acoustically correct studio that is well maintained and handled professionally.
The quality of the music you produce is your sales pitch to prospective clients; the music will do all the talking for you.
Ensure that the quality of the music is promoting and pitching the right message.
The landscape of music is an ever changing one.
The artists you have as clients expect you to be well grounded in the industry in order to keep them updated with music industry insight.
Be a leader and become part of the industry so that you can provide better support to your clients.
Put your customer first
The success of your business depends on your customers and those are the people that determine the future of your business.
It is for this reason that you have to put the customer’s needs ahead of your own.