Do you want to start a recording studio and you want to know the cost? If YES, here is an estimated cost breakdown to build a professional recording studio.  When we talk about a recording studio, we are talking about a space or a specialized facility equipped for the purposes of sound recording, mixing, and production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words, and other sounds.

Recording studios range in size from small in-home projects large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring (listening and mixing) spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties (acoustic isolation or diffusion or absorption of reflected sound echoes that could otherwise interfere with the sound heard by the listener).

Recording studios are usually used for the purpose of recording singers, instrumental musicians, voice-over artists for advertisements or dialogue replacement in film, television, or animation, foley, or to record their accompanying musical soundtracks.

Recording studio business is indeed a thriving business that has loads of players making huge profits from the industry. One thing is certain, if a recording studio can successfully produce a hit song/album or record songs for big time celebrity singers, it won’t be too long before musicians and corporate organizations (for commercials and jingles) come calling from all over the United States and beyond.

Estimated Cost Breakdown to Build a Professional Recording Studio

When it comes to building a professional recording studio, the major areas that you look towards spending the bulk of your cash is in renting or leasing a standard facility, converting the facility into a recording studio and equipping it with the needed gadgets such as Computer, Rack Mount, Power Conditioner, Microphone Preamp, Headphone Amp, Monitor Management,

Microphones, Studio Monitors, Desk/Workstation, Virtual Instruments, MIDI Controller, Electronic Drum Kit, Reflection Filters, Diffusers, Acoustic Panels, Bass Traps, Studio Chairs, Studio Rack Mounts, Control Surface, Software/Plugins, Snake Cable, Uninterruptible Power Supply, Direct Box and Keyboard instruments and related keyboard gear. Aside from that, you are expected to pay your employees and utility bills.

These are the key areas where you will spend our startup capital;

  • The total fee for registering the business in the United States of America – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services (software, P.O.S machines and other software) – $3,300.
  • Marketing promotion expenses for the grand opening of the professional recording studio in the amount of $3,500 and as well as flyer printing (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $3,580.
  • The total cost for hiring a business consultant including writing a business plan – $2,500.
  • The total cost for the purchase of insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation and property casualty) coverage at a total premium – $2,400.
  • The cost for renting or leasing a space or warehouse that will be converted into the recording studio for at least 6 months (Re – construction of the facility to include the “live room” of the studio, Isolation booths or vocal booths, The control room, where the audio engineers and record producers mix and The machine room, where noisier equipment, such as racks of fan-cooled power amplifiers, are kept) will cost – $180,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery ($500) and phone and utility deposits ($2,500).
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $40,000
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $4,750
  • The cost of purchase and installation of CCTVs: $2,000
  • Equipping the recording studio (the needed gadgets such as Computer, Rack Mount, Power Conditioner, Microphone Preamp, Headphone Amp, Monitor Management, Microphones, Studio Monitors, Desk/Workstation, Virtual Instruments, MIDI Controller, Electronic Drum Kit, Reflection Filters, Diffusers, Acoustic Panels, Bass Traps, Studio Chairs, Studio Rack Mounts, Control Surface, Software / Plugins, Snake Cable, Uninterruptible Power Supply, Direct Box and Keyboard instruments and related keyboard gear) will cost – $140,000
  • The cost of launching a website: $600
  • Miscellaneous: $2,000

You will need an estimate of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) to successfully set up a medium scale but standard recording studio company in the United States of America. Please note that this amount includes the salaries of all the staff for the first 3 months of operation and it applies to a standard recording studio.

Starting a small scale but standard record studio company that can only carry out basic recording services/studio works in the United States of America will cost about twenty thousand dollars to fifty thousand dollars ($20,000 to $50,000). Please note that with this budget, you will be expected to settle for fairly used studio equipment and the studio will be built in your home so as to enable you cut cost and overhead drastically.

When it comes to starting a standard and large-scale recording studio with several studios in key cities in the United States of America, a recording studio company that offer services in various niche areas in the music industry and a record studio company that has the intention of selling franchise in the nearest future, then you should look towards budgeting well two million, five hundred thousand dollars ($2.5 million).

Please note that this is a rough estimate and we usually advise our readers who are interested in opening a recording studio to go to the market or directly contact wholesalers and suppliers of the types of the gadgets they need to build a professional recording studio, in a bid to get the real time prices of these items.

The truth is that if you are a good bargainer, you can get a better deal that will help you beat down the estimated price as listed above and yet successfully build a world class recording studio.

Possible Ways You Can Reduce the Startup Cost of a Recording Studio

  • When it comes to purchasing microphones and head phones, you can go for Neumann u87; it will cost you about $2000 or more.
  • For mixer, you can go with Euphonix or any other brand of your choice. But Euphonix is great (especially with is sweet sounding preamp and on board compressors). It will cost you about $30,000 or more.
  • On the alternative, you can choose to go for purely digital and skip the mixer altogether. This means you will need a good audio inter face with multiple inputs. 12 stereo pairs minimum. The emu 1820m is a good one.
  • Then cables (nothing else but mogami cables. these are the best audio cables in the market for now; you can explore other options though).
  • You would need to create budget for pre-amp.  Avalon are perhaps your best bet and you can get it for about $2500 or less.
  • You should prepare a good budget for monitor; monitor is one of the most important gadgets you would need in starting your own recording studio. You can go for a Yamaha monitor; it is simply one of the best you can get in the market.
  • When it comes to acquiring a computer, you just have to budget for high end computer designed for such purpose. Your computer should of very large memory, high end graphic card, and 2.6 GHz quad core processor and you can search for a good software to work with.

Other factors that may be slightly different in terms of costing when it comes to starting a standard recording studio in any of the countries listed above are cost of labor, cost of transportation and logistics, local tax, business incorporation fee, cost for promoting and branding the business and rent/leasing amongst other factors.

Over and above, when it comes to starting a medium scale recording studio business, you should be prepared to either rent or lease a standard and centralized facility in a business district; this is going to be one of the areas where you are expected to spend the bulk of your start–up capital.

Factors That Will Affect the Cost of Recording Studio

  • Specific Location

Record studio company and most service based type of businesses require that you see physically with your clients hence it must be located in a good location; a location that is prone to both human and vehicular traffic and a location that has the right demographic composition if indeed you want to attend to loads of clients and maximize profit from the business.

  • Staff/Manpower

When it comes to starting a standard recording studio company on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals;

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Studio Manager
  • Music/Record Producer
  • Sound/Recording Engineer
  • Admin and HR Manager
  • Marketing and Sales Executive
  • Accountant
  • Front Desk Officer
  • Other roles can be contracted; roles like company lawyer (entertainment lawyer), graphic artist and brand manager

Can a Recording Studio be Bootstrapped on a Lean Budgetfrom Home?

If you a looking for a small scale business that you can successfully bootstrap on a lean budget right from your home, then you should consider starting a recording studio. One good thing about recording studio business is that you can successfully run the business from your home especially if you choose to operate on a small scale.

As a matter of fact, you can start a recording studio company with as low as twenty thousand dollars or even less depending on how small you want the business to be. All you need to do is to register the business purchase the basic needed studio gadgets fairly used print your business card and market your services.

The challenge here is that you must be ready to take on more than half of the available roles in the business. You should be able to serve as the manager, accountant, human resource and admin officer, sales and marketing officer sound engineer, music producer et al.

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Recording Studio Franchise?

From available research conducted, there are no known fully operational recording studio business in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia that is into franchising; most players in this line of business are adopting strategies that will help them leverage on the internet and main stream media to market and promote their business.

Besides, it is easier to start and run a recording studio business from scratch to profitability without leveraging on a known brand name. People will patronize your services based on your competence as against relying on a brand name.

Ajaero Tony Martins