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Recording studio in the age of COVID

It's been a difficult few years for professional and semi-professional recording studios. Few people buy CDs any more, choking off the main revenue supply artists had to fund the recording process. More and more artists can buy cheap audio interfaces, software and mics for home use, which can in some cases produce reasonable results without paying for a studio. Artists can distribute via soundcloud, YouTube and many other free distribution channels. And then, as if that wasn't difficult enough for the medium sized recording studio sector, the novel coronavirus struck hard.

I've found myself adjusting in three main ways:

1) Multi-media clients: I've started to chase clients outside of music. Recently I completed the sound and video for an online course. I also filmed a video for an online craft tutorial, each of which brought in some revenue... not a whole lot, but enough to re-invest in the next point.

2) Focus on video: While CDs are in decline, video is on the rise. People love to be seen on YouTube and to share their video on social media. It may mean investing a bit in camera equipment and lighting, but I believe that will pay off in the future. Set design and lighting are difficult and take a bit of work though.

3) Set up for live streaming: Right now everyone is live-streaming, and most of it sounds pretty terrible. If you already have some decent outboard gear and a HDMI-USB (or thunderbolt for a Mac) interface for connecting a camcorder to your computer, then you can get up and running for high quality live-streaming. I use open source software from OBS to sync the video and audio and broadcast via Facebook.

It's still quieter than it was this time last year, but I'm still open and enjoying the new learning experiences.


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