Booking a studio to record your musical project doesn't require the high prices that used to back in the day, thanks to modern technology advancement.
Back in the olden times, recording studios were exclusive, with labels and celebrities being the main ones that had access and the budget to pay premium prices.
In the music world now, you could possibly build your own studio for under $1000 bucks and use it as many times as you need, with the possibility of getting a high-quality product as long as your mixing and mastering are done correctly.
Many independent artists choose this route and even offer their home studio services to other artists for extremely low prices.
This is thanks to DAWs (digital audio workstations) like Protools and LogicPro now being accessible to anyone who has a decent computer.
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When it comes to studio time prices, there are several things that you may be paying for when factoring in the total amount you pay per hour or per project.
You're first paying for the recording equipment that you will be using when renting out studio time.
Equipment can include things like the DAW used, the microphone, headphones, speaker, mixing board, and soundproofing materials used to create the recording studio environment.
You are also paying for the expertise level of the audio engineer that will be recording your project and using all of the equipment to the best of their knowledge.
In some cases, engineers also include the price of the mixing and mastering that will be done after recording, which can cost thousands of dollars alone, depending on who it is.
In some cases, you will be paying for the popularity of the studio location itself.
Not only will big-name studios charge a lot because of the quality of their equipment, but they will add a premium for the successful names and projects that were associated with the studio as well.
If you have a large budget, you should consider going to a widely-known studio in your area that has top-quality engineers and had many successful artists work there before.
Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios, located in New York City, is an example of a hugely popular spot where many celebrities, including Lada Gaga and Taylor Swift, have recorded projects in.
Places like these could easily cost you $500+ per hour, but money alone may still not be able to even get you through the door. For famously-known studios, you will likely need to be well-connected in addition to having money or a label backing you.
Sun Studio, where music legends including Tina Turner and Elvis Presley recorded classics, has a booking page that actually lists the availability for $200 an hour with a minimum 5-hour block.
This means if you don't have at least $1000 a day, you may want to consider trying a lesser-known studio.
To get a quality studio session that will give you access to nice equipment and a capable engineer, you can expect to pay around $60 per hour on average.
Many studios give you package options per project instead of per hour, which may actually be a good way to save you some funds if you are working on an extensive album.
Most independent artists and bands go after these types of studios in their hometowns in order to find the best of both worlds when it comes to affordability and a final product that can be played on the radio and added to popular playlists in terms of audio quality.
If you're really on a tight budget like most unsigned artists are, you might want to consider setting up your own home studio for $1000 or less or finding a connection to a musician near you that has a home studio.
If you have a good amount of money now and you know you'll be recording for years to come, it's a great idea to invest in your own studio setup, especially if you have the space for it in your home.
It may seem like too large of a project, but trust me; it's worth it!
Other musicians that you know with a home studio may be able to hook you up with quite affordable prices ranging from $20 to $50 an hour, but the risk here is that you are relying on their equipment that may not be as professionally set up as an official studio.
When recording at a home studio, you will also likely need to put more investment into the mixing and mastering process to make up for the lacking audio quality in comparison to average or big-time studios.
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After you've recorded your project at a studio, don't forget that there will still be a few steps to cover after you are provided with your final mix from the engineer!
If you haven't already, you want to make sure that you copyright your creative work before publishing it live for the world to hear.
Copyright prices have been slightly increasing over time, but the price is around $45 to $65 per song or project. You can save money by copyrighting more than one song at a time!
Depending on the services offered by the studio engineer, you may also need to pay separately for mixing and mastering services, which is very critical before you release your music to the general public in order for your work to have a very polished and professional sound.
If you don't already have music distribution services set up, you will also need to sign up with a company like Distrokid that can send your music to all the popular streaming services and apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.
If you are interested in physical distribution with CDs as well as digital distribution, you can look into a CDbaby, which covers both types of services for those who want to get their music into the hands of their fans.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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