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Emotional Overload Studio Project Plan

Maximum Music - Minimum Fuss!

For many of those who love music, it’s their life, not just a job or a hobby. Unfortunately it’s often a thankless task. Sometimes it means lugging heavy equipment around after hours of driving (not to mention practice) only to be told that by some unfriendly venue manager that you can’t play because you’ve not brought enough people- it actually happens, and it just about sums things up.

Musicians often have temperaments best described as artistic, sometimes egotistical, sometimes ultra sensitive and sometimes manic-depressive. Again, the bullies and rip off-merchants so common in the world of entertainment often fight them amongst themselves for “fun” and profit.

Those who actually get on in such an environment tend to be the most hard-nosed and tenacious, and often nasty, as opposed to the more imaginative, creative, just plain fun or otherwise talented.

Music industry figures have been quick to decry the loss of sales due to internet “piracy”. However, since the invention of the radio and tape recorder, fans have always taped off the radio, copied their friends LPs and so forth. It’s actually paid off for many acts, with publicity generating further sales of genuine media and concert tickets. Oddly, record labels have been known to pay radio and TV to play their records- it’s rather hypocritical that those on the receiving end of this payola aren’t considered “pirates” whilst kids at home are!

But the real issue is that whilst it’s never been an easy life for a musical artist, the modern commercial environment has become one at odds with such artistic achievement. In effect, the music industry has scared off both musicians and genuine fans.

Premiership football might be a million pound business, but it wouldn’t be possible without the Sunday leagues and the kick-abouts in school playgrounds, the fans of small local teams who stand and cheer through rain and snow etc. It’s this enthusiasm that generates both the talent on the pitch and the ticket sales at the turnstiles at the top.

There’s a time and place for money, accountants and lawyers- but just as such don’t kick the ball themselves,  they are peripheral to the world of music but in the modern scene have assumed centre stage. So much so, that musicians are often driven to squabble over money that doesn’t exist and copyrights to music that has not been sold or otherwise licensed- suing for their share of nothing!

Our aim as a music production/rehearsal facility, social club and record label is to return creativity and friendship to a cold and clinical scene. Internet sites like Tribe Of Noise, CCmixter.org and Indaba have created online virtual collaboration spaces fostering a huge amount of respect amongst their users. From a professional point of view, there is nothing stopping work created in this way, provided all involved give their permission from being exploited commercially. From an artistic and technical one, the material created in this manner is approaching and even exceeding the quality and diversity offered by the major commercial labels.

We feel that a “bricks and mortar” development of this scene is a logical and necessary step in a brave new music scene bringing back humanity and harmony to a culture that has lost a lot of it’s soul. In the world of the arts, a “scene” can exist without an “industry” , but the reverse is not true. If there’s going to be a way forward for musicians to have the possibility of making a living from their work, first we have to give them the ability to play at all. At present, many are discouraged by the unpleasant attitudes often found surrounding modern music.

One aim is to provide the features not found in the typical bedroom producer’s or home studio setup- the ability to record a complete live band and loud acoustic instruments such as drums, this being linked in to the online collaboration website systems mentioned.

A simplified, streamlined recording process forms a part of this- for instance drums and amplification permanently in place and connected to multi-tracking equipment. Thus a band could rehearse, perform or jam and have the results recorded with minimal setup time.  The idea would be to create as much as a “plug in and go” experience as possible, all of which can improve the creative flow.  Due to use of internet file-sharing, bands could mix and overdub in their own studios, or invite other musicians from around the world to join in.

We intend to form a “house band” of local musicians to provide backing to soloists and also perform session work on music recorded at this studio or online- providing a money making opportunity for commercial projects too. Sampling can be made use of, for instance allowing a drummer and bassist to create loops for rappers and so forth. There’s a healthy market for copyright-cleared sounds of this nature, similarly for film and TV incidental music etc.

Lastly, the simple and streamlined nature of this project does not require hugely expensive equipment, and facility costs could be provided easily afforded by the many low income and disabled players, with the possibility of cheap or free jam sessions that again could be used as a basis for online collaboration.

One of the best things about CCmixter has been its popularity amongst female artists, which in our local scene is sadly lacking- there’s also been a mixture of language and culture- to return to the previous example marrying a rap group to a rock group etc. All of this could be expanded with the real world facility’s creation of a local scene to compliment the online one.

  

Emotional Overload Studios 

Aims:

1)      Access to music – a safe creative and social environment for  all musicians, particularly those disabled, unemployed or otherwise disadvantaged, for the facilitation of recording, rehearsal and education.

2)      Internet connected to online virtual studios such as Indaba and CCmixter

3)      Facilities for recording acoustic instruments, including choirs and drums

4)      A record label making use of Creative Commons licensing

Premises:

Complex to be comprised of three areas of approximately equal size.

-          A reception area, including kitchenette at toilet

-          A large control room area

-          A soundproofed recording and rehearsal space

Equipment

Control Room:

Digital Audio Workstation driving a 16 channel analogue input/output rig.

Mixing desk allowing 16-channel simultaneous recording, with 8x stereo dynamics processing units i.e. compressor/gate/limiters

Analogue Mastering Dynamics Processor, Equaliser and Spectrum Analyser

Reverb, Chorus and Delay devices

Guitar amp simulator

Separate mastering workstation

Digital Piano / Midi Master Keyboard (one 88 key weighted, one with plentiful virtual synth controls)

Electronic drum pad/kit

Monitor Amp and Speakers

Recording Space:

Drum Kit permanently mic’ed up with suitable microphones.

Vocal PA system

Guitar and Bass Amps with microphones and Direct Injection

Vocal Microphones, several makes and models to suit vocal style.

Wiring to join everything together.

Headphones, 6 pairs plus suitable amplification

Site Requirements:

Soundproofing of recording/rehearsal area with suitable window to control room.

Suitable security systems such as cctv/alarms

Broadband Internet and phone line

Furniture- chairs, fridge and so forth.

 

Ethos notes:

“Maximum Music, Minimal Fuss”

System design for maximum interoperability and minimal technical complexity. The idea is to for a musician or band to be able to turn up and rehearse or record with minimal equipment and fastest possible set-up time- plug and play. That artistic expression is as uninhibited as possible.

Use of online recording, mixing, session musicians and mastering via sites such as Indaba and CCmixter.

Encouragement of non-commercial open-source material creation with commercial licensing available where required- such as for sale of final product, and music for TV/Film/Videogames/Websites/Radio etc.

  

Enter supporting content here

Emotional Overload Studio – Making things pay!

Estimating rent and equipment maintenance/credit charges at around £7000 per year and staffing costs (1 full time technician,  £20kpa, 1 part time technician, £10kpa and two apprentices at £5kpa each) of £40000, we’re aiming to generate an income of between £50k and £60k per year in initial trading period.

We believe that a good reputation and market-leading flexibility will lead to expansion improving profitability further.

We aim to open up to 24hours, 365 days per year as demand dictates.

 

Services:

Rehearsal based:

Hire of basic rehearsal facilities/equipment.

As above “with tape running” to create a “live in session” recording

Additional charges for DVD of multi-tracks for own mixing or building on.

 “Produced”  Multitracking

Hire of studio facilities on half-day basis

Major discount for artists choosing Creative Commons licensing

Mixing and mastering services, including online 3rd party solutions w/commission

Use of online collaboration tools , both commercial w/commission and CC

Production of test pressings/small volume CDRs with artwork and digital distribution (up front fees or commission) . For instance, for an artist to come in with a rough demo and have a professional iTunes release within a fortnight.

 Session Musician Management

Maintain a database of local musicians wishing to collaborate on studio projects, both real world physical and online virtual. Advertise their services to potential clients, taking commission.

Expanding this idea to create a compact “house band” able to accompany live vocalists and other soloists. Market their skills online and to physical customers, again taking commission.

As well as musicians, the management database would also cover technical staff, composers and lyricists, graphic artists, photographers and videographers.

In addition, offer a free amateur version of the above, for educational purposes whereby a musician can improve their skills by playing on a creative commons project- this can be used as a testbed for recruiting new paid talent.

 Education and Social

We aim to hold a “Jam Club” where members pay a regular fee to meet other musicians and play and record together. Recorded material would be then available on CD (and DVD in multi-track form) for members to play with, sample etc, and would also be available on sites such as CCMixter.org.

Building on this, the venue and gear would be available for a fee to musicians and technicians wishing to hold a masterclass for instruments, performance and equipment.

 Bespoke Music

For a suitable fee, original music could be composed and performed by in-house musicians for TV, film, radio and website.

A related project is best described as “pro-Karaoke”, where an amateur singer can record a professional sounding cover song, complete with CD artwork, with live musician available at the higher end of the market.  This aspect could be tied in with promotions in the media- such as Valentine’s day with vouchers and so forth.

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