The studio business is the ultimate concierge service for artists and musicians. Whatever is asked for, a good studio staff bends over backwards to deliver, even if those requests come at the eleventh hour on a Friday night. In the past, that may have meant enabling indulgence and excess; if it resulted in happy clients and repeat business, then we obliged as long as the bills got paid.
But the true backbone of the service we provide has always focused on offering a creative environment, whatever that may look like, to induce and capture studio magic. We still offer all the amenities. We still get the occasional multi-page riders from demanding clients. Instead of items that may be considered unhealthy, we get requests for organic this and vegan that. Times have certainly changed. And now time is more about money.
Nothing kills a vibe and momentum like technical delays. When there was more tolerance for delays, sometimes these situations worked in mysterious ways and resulted in lucky accidents that could never have been planned. Would we still have these creative accidents today? Not too likely.
There have been two noticeable changes in the type of services we offer. In the age of empowered artists, we receive a lot of phone calls from clients who may not be familiar with recording or the record production process. The studios have become consultants whose brains clients can pick. Isn’t offering advice and suggestions what a concierge supposed to do? We prefer to have this conversation, even if it is sometimes time consuming, rather than having people hang up the phone so they can continue their cut-price shopping.
As a sign of the times, the concierge desk is more like an IT help desk. How do I access Wi-Fi? Can you send this file via YouSendIt? Can I Skype/iChat during the session? I want to sync the music to a QuickTime video. Can you punch a hole in the firewall? Do you have a fixed IP address I can use? Do you have high-speed Internet access for Ustream? Do you have Nicecast/Source-Live? It is all about connecting, collaborating online and transferring the results to the next destination.
Comfort is still important, but now studio time means productive time. Comfort now means peace of mind knowing that you are still within your budget. Being pampered, now more than ever, means getting started on time, getting everything done that you need using all the tools at your disposal, at the quality level you expected. A well-run professional studio can deliver these things and much more.