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Solutions for Maintaining Music Studios in Tough Economic Times

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America's struggling economy is affecting many citizen's livelihood and making it harder for them to maintain their jobs and income. The seemingly recession-proof music industry is no exception. With more people being displaced from their jobs, they are unable to buy their artists favorite CD's. Combine this with illegal downloads and you can see how the music industry is in a state of desperation. As a result, musicians are selling far less albums and can no longer afford to record in their favorite recording studios. In fact, in recent years, some of Hollywood's biggest and most popular music studios have been forced to close their doors. An article in the L.A. Times estimates that "as many as half of the L.A. area's commercial studios have closed or been sold to artists for private use" (Olivares-Giles, 2009) and hip-hop super producer Just Blaze recently closed the doors on his Baseline Studios. With all the turmoil in the music industry, it seems that recording studios are doomed to become a thing of the past,past; however, with a few adjustments I believe the recording studio can be saved. Music studios can stay afloat in a struggling economy by using alternative energy sources such as solar power, diversifying the services they provide, and utilizing digital recording software. It should be no secret that recording studios use a lot of electricity and power. The countless number of amplifiers, powered speakers, computer systems, outboard gear, guitar cabinets, patch bays, and not to mention huge mixing consoles can utilize much more electricity than most businesses and certainly a lot more than the average household. To make matters worse, most music studios have these pieces of equipment running around-the-clock as recording sessions run at all hours of the night and day. In fact, most recording studios have their own separate power grid put in during construction since they require much more power than an average business. Music studios have been referred to as "an environmental toxicant" and as having "an adverse affect on any notion of sustainability". With music studios closing left and right, they can no longer afford to pour money into huge electrical bills, and taking advantage of "greener" energy sources will ensure they no longer have to. Studios can now take advantage of energy sources such as solar power. Solar power obviously comes from the sun, and in sunny Southern California there is an abundance of sunlight to harness and use for energy, therefore cutting down on the studios energy bill. It is estimated that solar panel installation for a commercial business costs around $10,000 after government rebate and tax incentives;, a small price to pay for a renewable energy source such as solar power. Furthermore, solar panels can last a lifetime and require very little maintenance since there is no moving parts that would require repairs. In addition to taking advantage of solar power, recording studios can make a large number of tiny environmentally conscious changes in the way they operate that can help them to reduce their energy bill. A website, such as juliesbicycle.com, demonstrates and gives examples of how easy, cost-effective and practical it can be for recording studios to use solar energy and re-usable materials to reduce their carbon footprint at well as their electrical bill. Some easy changes recording studios can make is to switch lights to LED's and use energy-efficient bulbs, and choose appliances with a high energy efficiency rating. An added by-product of switching to "green" energy that will accumulate revenue for a studio is the marketing aspect that it can provide to potential clients. Many musicians nowadays are starting to take a more conscious effort in reducing their carbon footprint; no doubt they would like a recording studio that does the same. Musicians and bands such as Linkin Park, Green Day, Pearl Jam, The Roots and Willie Nelson are doing more to reduce their carbon footprint and music studios that can market to these major players in the music industry can definitely benefit by increasing their reputation and their revenue. Take for example, Tree Sound Studios <http://www.treesoundstudios.com/> in Atlanta, Georgia. Tree Sound Studios is top-notch recording studio located in an urban setting, much like Los Angeles and Hollywood, and runs almost entirely on alternative energy sources such as solar power, wind energy and biodiesel generators. They also make use of LED lights and fluorescent light bulbs, biodegradable cleaning products, a water catchment system, recycled office products, and dual-flush toilets. To further reduce their carbon footprint while at the same time maintaining a reputable relationship with their clients, they offer acomplimentary bio-diesel car service to escort artists to and from their studio. Tree Sound Studios is definitely taking advantage of alternative energy sources and the savings that come along with it. And with a client list that comprises some the music industry's most popular heavyweights, including Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Usher, Beyonce, Outkast, Whitney Houston, Fergie, and Justin Bieber; it would appear that Tree Sound Studios is doing something right and found many artists who feel the same way about the environment that they do. Tree Sound Studios is surely a business that should definitely be imitated for the way they use natural energy sources to power their high end recording studio. Taking advantage of alternative energy sources to save money and reel in artists is just one way for Hollywood's recording studios to stay alive. In addition to utilizing green energy sources, recording studios can also diversify the services they provide to their clients. Rather than strictly focusing on musicians and bands, and the music they record, music studios can also dive into another sector of the entertainment industry; movies, television and video games. To make them sound more accurate and bring them to life, each of these need music and sounds to be recorded to them.Whenthem. When sounds are recorded and edited to movies, TV or video games it is called post-production. Post-production encompasses many different services and skills for recording studios to offer to clients, all of which can help generate more clientele and revenue for the studio. Recording studios that make the switch to post-production can offer services such as sound design, sound effects, ADR (automatic dialog replacement), Foley, music, re-recording and mixing to film makers, TV networks and video game developers looking to add the perfect soundtrack to bring their major motion picture, comedic sitcom or action-packed video game to life. Many movie, television and video game companies are always looking for studios that can perform these duties for their project and with the film and TV industry experiencing a



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