[Editor's Note: This month, we begin the first of our monthly updates from the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS), an organization that has been around for 25-plus years, but has operated solely among the high-end world of recording facilities. With recent efforts to broaden membership and activities for all members, we thought it was time to create a presence in Mix, with monthly updates on business issues that affect all aspects of the recording industry. We kick it off with a note from the new president, Karen Brinton.]
You may not be familiar with SPARS, or you may recall it as an organization only representing multi-room facilities, relics of a previous age. But think again. Today, SPARS is in motion, reaching out to all who want to be part of an organization that cares about the industry, from providing services for ailing engineers to fighting for standards, and everything in between. Let us not forget that SPARS stands for the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services.
Last year was a banner year for the organization. Under the presidency of Andrew Kautz, and with Marcia Vaught-Kautz onboard as executive director, it was a year of growth and change that was long overdue at the organization. Committees were created, the board involvement was extraordinary and the financial picture moved into the black, allowing us to move forward on some key initiatives. I hold Andrew and Marcia in the highest regard for their dedication and commitment to SPARS.
Perhaps the most important initiative? SPARS now has medical insurance available to members. In an age where medical care is costly and sometimes prohibitive to both small businesses and freelancers, I'm so proud that we're able to offer this. It's a huge step in the strides SPARS is taking to offer members value-added benefits.
SPARS, in conjunction with the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences, will be holding a Technology Summit for all SPARS members May 12 to 14, 2006, at the CRAS campus in Tempe, Ariz. Both technical and business/legal issues will be addressed. Our board held a panel there last year for the students, and all who participated had a great time. We thoroughly enjoy our relationships with our educational members. Our interaction with the schools and students is both energizing and inspiring.
Our profile has been raised significantly with the support of our friends in the press, and we are in the process of a complete rebuild of the SPARS Website, sponsored by Microsoft and AMD. The SPARS Website will be more interactive and a great resource for information for our members. Please check in regularly at www.spars.com.
This year, with 155 active members, SPARS looks forward to the future of our ever-evolving industry. The diversity of our membership helps all of us stay in touch with what's going on in the various facets of our industry. We've developed many relationships with strategic partners, and will continue to add to our affinity program to keep our members in touch with services beneficial to our businesses.
The SPARS community includes audio recording and mastering facilities, manufacturers, engineers and multimedia specialists — everyone from single-operator studios to large multi-room facilities. If your business involves music recording, mastering, video, film, industrial or corporate media, advertising, computers, interactive games, forensic audio, studio design, manufacturing, Internet audio, education or any allied industry, your colleagues are members of SPARS. SPARS' work is carried on by sister organizations in England, Japan and Canada.
We look forward to our association with Mix and our forum for discussing business and technical issues with all segments of the recording and live sound industries. After all, it's all about the audio!
Karen Brinton is owner of Remote Recording and president of SPARS. For more information on SPARS, please visit
or call 800/771-7727.