Observers of the rapidly transforming New York City recording scene were probably intrigued — although not surprised — to discover that in early November (just a few days before the AES Convention), yet another change had taken place. This time, the announcement was not of a closing but of a merger — between Sound on Sound Recording (www.soundonsoundstudios.com) and Right Track (www.righttrackrecording.com).
Right Track’s Simon Andrews
Sound on Sound will move its entire staff and key pieces of equipment from its West 45th Street location to Right Track’s headquarters on 48th Street. Sound on Sound’s founder Dave Amlen was matter-of-fact about the circumstances that led him to join forces with his respected colleague/business rival Simon Andrews, who started Right Track in 1976. “This is a mature industry, and it was only a matter of time before consolidations and mergers would happen,” Amlen comments. “Studio owners tend to be very territorial about their babies. Simon and I have known each other for a number of years, and we’ve both been public about what we were going through. We didn’t hide our problems; they were out in the open.
“No studio at all has had a great go in the last couple of years,” he continues. “It’s just been a very tough time. We talked about how we might come out of this better, weather the storm and over time have a more stable situation so that if there were dips, it would not take the kind of toll you’ve seen in the last couple of years across the country.”
Sound on Sound’s Dave Amlen
Both Amlen and Andrews were fiercely committed to executing the merger without layoffs, meaning that Sound on Sound’s 16 full-time staffers and Right Track’s 27 employees will all remain on the job. Although Amlen acknowledges the emotional strain of leaving the world-class facility he constructed from the ground up, he is happy to have access to Right Track’s considerable assets, including the incredible 4,600-square-foot orchestral studio at its 38th Street location.
“I have an attachment to these rooms,” says Amlen of Sound on Sound. “I literally built the first one myself. But at the end of the day, it was about keeping everyone active and in the business. This was a way to stabilize the recording of music in New York. Ultimately, it’s two companies with niches in overlapping but non-competing segments joining forces so they can be stronger together.”