Community-Based Recording Studios: A Look into the Future
No finer work has been done in this area than what you'll find by visiting www.recordinginstitute.com/R2KREQ/cottage.htm and reading Robert Dennis' description of how to build a low-cost studio. By renovating a "standard" garage, installing sound-proofing materials and installing the equipment of choice, you can expect to construct a recording studio for somewhere in the range of $25,000 to $35,000. There's nothing extraordinary about a recording studio that requires hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even the millions of dollars that some recording studios tout, to build. Many studios out there today have variations on this community, DIY theme and are referred to as basement studios.
Our model utilizes an approach that incorporates most of what Robert Dennis envisions in his remarkable article. We also emphasize the location of the studio to reflect the community and encourage placement within the depressed centers, or HUB zones, if they are present, in order to attract federal, state and local funding opportunities. More importantly, however, is the need to place the facility nearest to those who truly need it.
Volunteer contractors are the primary source of labor and equipment, expertise and assistance. We also recommend corporate sponsorship and donations for accomplishing the facility restoration, as there is ample room for such sponsorship and participation. For those communities that are not able to round up sufficient local resources, the central resource will assist and, in some cases, provide the facility for the community.
As mentioned above, the community-based recording studio doesn't just sit there once it's built. It is staffed by volunteers, populated by all age groups and running a mixture of programs, from educational music history classes to marketing classes for musicians and artists starting out, to community events, to HowTos surrounding the operation of a recording studio.
By providing free recording services, musicians and artists will be able to create demos, record works and develop skills that will carry them through if they choose to pursue careers in the recording arts and sciences. In return, the musicians and artists must place their works in the Public Domain. After all, the primary purpose of this model is to broaden the base of our precious Public Domain. It also positions the musicians and artists to participate in an exciting service, found only through these community-based recording studios, that relates to marketing their works.
As you may or may not be aware, the music industry is pursuing legislation that will give exclusive control over the development of technology, literally, to Hollywood. On the other side is the recording merchandisers, who want to work more closely with customers to provide creative and innovative technology that benefits them (increased sales of recordings) and their customers (increased variety of products to choose from). For example, one idea that is tossed around is technology capable of placing recordings in attractive and creative containers. Think about a necklace with a heart on it, capable of playing one or two of someone's favorite songs. I'll leave the rest of this thought to your imaginations. Bottom line, though, is there's a multibillion dollar industry just waiting for the RIAA to negotiate licensing and contractual agreements with the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM). And it isn't happening. Why? The answer depends on who you ask, but I place my money on the idea that unless the RIAA can control the merchandisers, they're not going to play nice.
The community-based recording studio provides support services for musicians and artists that will enable them to create web sites, introduce their works to international audiences, place their works on the sites for downloading, offer merchandise, share information about themselves and build a following. This then leads to work, tours, possibly record deals and careers with the producers and managers they choose, not the other way around. The Public Domain works, but the potential for earnings is a real and workable alternative to what is now offered by the music industry in Hollywood.
We have described, in the most general terms, a community-based recording studio model that doesn't require communities to have all the resources in place at the same moment in time. A central organization provides the missing pieces and supports those communities that need additional help. The model also provides free recording services to the residents of the community and surrounding communities in return for placing their works in the Public Domain. This broadens the base of our precious Public Domain and, at the same time, offers musicians and artists an alternative professional track to the monopolized track offered by the RIAA.
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