While doing research and editing for Tape Op articles, I spend a lot of time on the Internet looking for equipment model numbers, studio names and such. Many times I stumble across online advertising for recording studios, and as a studio owner myself I am usually curious how people present their businesses and especially how they talk about their studios in text form. Many well-established, professional studios have clean, simple and informative websites with photos of the available rooms, gear lists and an impressive roster of former clients and albums. But on the other side of the tracks, especially on Craigslist, MySpace and Facebook, there are people desperately trying to get clients to partake of their services. I've collected quotes (in their original form) from some of these website pitches and added my comments.
Posting photos of your space, room dimensions, gear lists, client lists, MP3 samples, current activity blogs, rates, a list of engineers, an FAQ and contact information all makes a lot of sense. But when useless phrases and bogus claims get bandied around, maybe your potential clients are running the other way.
"XXXX is a certifird Recording Engineer and Music Producer."
I'd love to know where to get "certifird" for these. I suppose a degree from a college or trade school might be acceptable for the recording engineer part, but I've never heard of a "certifird" producer, even when spelled correctly.
"Are you looking to get that 'radio ready' sound, without having to spend a fortune?"
"Radio Ready" is popping up less than it did in the '80s and '90s, but hey, maybe some people still want to sound like Night Ranger. I would add that the not-spend-a-fortune pitches pop up a lot on folks' sites. Why not just say "affordable" or "reasonable rates"?
"Our work from past clients have been heard both nationally and internationally by many A&Rs, RadioShows, and other Music Groups."
"Heard by" means what? Heard and rejected? Heard and not played on air? And what the hell is a "Music Group"? Other clients? Record-of-the-Month clubs?
"Industry Standard Mics and Preamps"
I was so grateful the day I got that memo from the AES informing me which microphones and preamps I owned were "Industry Standard" so that I could throw all the bad ones away.
"Top of the line gear"
But is it "Industry Standard" gear?
"I use all high end, state of the art microphones, recording and mixing equipment."
Except that I saw his list. Without bashing on some well-known, lower budget brands, I'll just note that I wouldn't say this if I were him. And wouldn't "state-of-the-art" preclude owning any vintage gear? Yeah, that old stuff sounds like ass.
"Your music will sound its best."
I hope so. The last studio I used wouldn't let us sound our best for some reason. Maybe we should have paid more.
"The Best Everything."
This is above a photo of a Mac Pro. I know many people need computers to record on, but believe me, no client cares one bit what computer you are using until it crashes.
"Rent the studio by the hour, day, or week. Bring in your own gear, and record your own project."
Wait. Is this a studio or an empty room? I opened a restaurant where people bring their own food and drink, but later found out that's supposed to be called a picnic area.
"We can offer what all of your needs."
Okay, to be honest this was a studio in Seoul, South Korea, so it's kinda cute in a confused translation way. They also say, "XXXX Studio is trying to go to close foreign musician." How sweet! What?
"Our studio team offers professional Protools based digital audio recording."
The number of studios that advertise that they have Pro Tools with the words "Protools, ProTools or Pro-Tools is staggering. By the way, you can offer Pro Tools (correct spelling) for less than $500. I mean, it does have "Pro" in the name but...
"I just opened a new 24 track digital Recording Studio"
I'm hoping this was from a site that hadn't been updated since 1997. Or maybe they're being honest about the number of A/D converters they own. That'd be nice, compared to...
"192 track ProTools"
This always creates an image in my mind of some fantastic, huge rack with 192 meters on the front and 24 8-channel converters — instead of an overtaxed Mac G4 with one monitor and eight channels of A/D.
"High end professional full service recording"
"Full Service" is a great phrase that gets bandied about with no real definition. Will they play all the instruments for you? Go on a food run? Hire outcall massage?
"I am trying to break into the local scene."
Near the end of an 869 word Craigslist entry comes the truth. What about helping the client make an album? Oh yeah, that's what the other 860 words are begging someone to take a chance on. Build a studio and they will come. Or maybe not.
"Let us help you take your band or project to the next level!"
Could someone define these levels of success for me? Apparently previous studios you worked at only got you to Level 3, and to "make it" you need to be at Level 5. It's like Dungeons & Dragons or some video game where you shoot zombies I guess.
"Record your next HITs at XXXX."
Ah, but if we were recording HITs already we must be at the next level by now. Why would we change that formula and use this studio? It's nice to know a studio can guarantee hits though. I've never offered that deal. Then again I'm not sure if anyone brought in any proper HITs to record.
"Recording Session Birthday Parties for kids & adults. Record your birthday party & everyone gets a CD."
Finally. Someone is honest and presenting a real service. That one hour CD-R of people eating cake still gets a lot of play at our house.
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