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Are you fit and ferocious?

So many commercial recording studios have gone bust in recent years, there has to be something special about those that are left. Could it be down to survival of the fittest...

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There have been many closures in the commercial recording studio industry, mostly due to the gradual but steadily increasing nibbling away at their business by home recording and project studios.

There's nothing wrong with this, it is simply evolution in progress. The survival of the fittest, and most adaptable. Darwin would love it.

But we are at a point now where probably all the commercial studios that were ever going to go bust, have gone bust. And the reason they went bust is that they were not able to compete in a shrinking market.

The market has not gone away; there is still significant demand for commercial recording studios. But the days when anyone could open up a studio and expect to make money out of it are long over.

So why did some studios survive, and even prosper, when others failed?

One answer is by being adaptable. Mammals versus dinosaurs if you like. Many people who opened up studios in the 1960s and 1970s did it because they loved music - pure music. But for a commercial studio to pay its way now, an involvement in film and television recording and post production is essential.

The other answer is perhaps more significant. Studios that survive today have done it because they are the fittest. They are the best at what they do, with the best premises, acoustics, equipment and staff. Actually, staff should be first.

And they are ferocious. Try and enter that market with a wad of cash. Build as fantastic a studio as you like and staff it with the best people you can poach.

You'll fail, because the studios you will have to compete with will eat you for breakfast. They will schmooze their customers into paying top dollar for their time. They will liaise with hire companies to make sure the latest and best outboard is on tap, they will link with session agents to make sure the best musicians are only a call away.

In fact, they will ferociously devour you. Commercial studios that were not fit did not survive. Those that survived are more fit and potentially more ferocious than you would believe.

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By David Mellor Friday March 25, 2005
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