Professional studios have become more than just a place to record music. Today, many are attracting new business by offering services that go way beyond production. Some now offer internships. Others even operate like mini-labels, grooming artists and promoting careers. To give you an idea as to how these developments can benefit artists, Music Connection contacted a number of innovative studios. We think you'll find that their operations are not only eye opening; they're downright exciting. By Bernard Baur.
4th STREET RECORDING
Santa Monica, CA
Just three blocks from the Pacific Ocean off Southern Calfornia, there is a special place where artists have been making music for over 30 years. It used to be called Sound Solutions, with clients such as Little Richard, George Clinton and the Beach Boys. In 1989, Kathleen Wirt and a partner bought the studio and renamed it 4th Street Recording. The facility features a wavy ceiling in the tracking room and walls that are soundproofed with sand hauled from the beach. Since ‘95, over 20 acts have been signed to deals with recordings produced at 4th Street, starting with Fiona Apple, Incubus, Alien Ant Farm and Hoobastank.
NEW BUSINESS STRATEGIES?
We try to make the most of whatever social media tools we think might be useful, from Facebook to Twitter and blogs.
We also sponsor an “Indie Music Festival,” which gives us a lot of exposure. In fact, the grand prize includes a 4th Street Recording package.
A lot of famous acts have recorded here and, because of that, word-of-mouth about the studio is strong. But our profile really rose when we were named one of the top “Iconic Temples of Sound” by the Hollywood Reporter.
WHAT DO YOU OFFER ASPIRING ARTISTS?
We work with a lot of up-and-coming independent acts and have always tried to help them. Our rates are lower to begin with, and if an act can pay COD (cash on delivery––when services are rendered), we’ll give them an even bigger break.
I’m now putting together an “Artist Assistance Program” that I’m excited about. I want to assist artists “after” they finish recording. I’ve noticed that quite a few acts want to go the independent route today. But, they’re not sure what to do or how to go about it. They need help devising a plan and strategy. I give them advice when they ask for it, but I’m also planning to host workshops and mentoring sessions, and start offering services that will help them with marketing, social media, promotions, song placements and radio airplay. Anything that will help to develop their brand and generate income.