Money is always an issue for the independent artist. Booking time in a recording studio is the most expensive but also the most important step in music production. Because musicians largely are defined by their sound, a recording can make or break a career. This is why studio time is not the place to skimp when your budget is stretched. Instead of cutting back on studio time there are plenty of ways to negotiate a cheaper rate.
First, it is essential to understand the nature of studios and their business. Smaller recording studios generally see huge fluctuations in business. A smart studio owner may try to diversify their customer base, offering services to a wider range of customers. Despite this, nothing is guaranteed from week to week. Knowing this information can make it easy for artists to negotiate better deals with a studio.
Tip 1: Bulk is Best
Try to book block sessions whenever possible, as engineers would rather work one long session than two or three short ones. They will always be willing to discount your rate to do this, sometimes up to 30%.
Tip 2: Standardize your sessions over time
If a recording engineer can pencil you in for the same session every week, it creates stability for the studio in scheduling and income. Your reliability will be an incentive for the studio to offer you more discounts to maintain that flow.
Tip 3: Nothing is sweeter to a recording engineer than pre-paid hours
Once you have found a trusted studio, pre-pay for everything. Most studios offer options to leave deposits and pay after the session. Engineers are also more likely to work past booked hours if they already have the cash in hand.
Tip 4: Be a model citizen
Studios and recording engineers are largely fans of good artist and love being on the inside of the creative process. Showing respect for the engineer, the studio, the job and the music is the best way to get on their good side. Building a report always helps in price negotiations.
While each of these tips will net you some money back into your pockets, using all of them can net some serious cash and give an artist that creative space to really work without boundaries.