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Pragma - Chicago's free studio
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junokane
pushin' record
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Joined: 19 Jan 2004
Posts: 264
Location: Nashville, TN

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 3:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

bignerd, while I have complete respect for your commercial endeavor, and I wish you all the success in the world, I must disagree.

Anewman doesn't have to consider it at all. In fact, I believe he shouldn't. Obviously he's got his reasons for running a free recording studio, and he hasn't revealed them, on this board, anyway, which is his perogative. But before anyone goes moaning about unfair competition, maybe they should at least inquire as to why anewman's doing it for nothing. Maybe he's building a resume or doing a fucking kick-ass brilliant marketing scheme to drum up a rep, after which he'll start charging, or maybe he's rich, or maybe he's absolutely loopy-ding-dong-crayyzzeeee. Who cares?

Ben and Jerry's gave away free ice cream cones the other day. Boy was Baskin-Robbins pissed. Ben and Jerry's probably made some converts. Next time those converts will pay gladly for their Chunky Monkey.

Movie studios give away free passes to preview screenings. People tell their friends it's a good flick, and those friends go buy a ticket.

Labels give away sampler cds in retail stores every day. Does your band feel threatened? Press up a few, give them away. Spread the word. You aren't making any money on them anyway, are you? Oh, you are? Then don't do it. Whatever.

Free mp3s online.

2 for 1 at Payless shoes.

Hell, studio interns scrub toilets for free.

I worked a 6-month internship once, ended up with a full-time job at the place.

It's a risk, sure, but if you have gaps in your studio's calendar, approach your favorite tastemaking local band and offer them some hours. If you do a good job, the word will get around. Then charge away.

And that's just if he's doing it for marketing or to gain experience. If anewman is doing it for fun because he's set financially, well, hell, I can think of worse ways for him to use his time and energy. As much as other studios might not like it, there are plenty of musicans who are creaming their jeans. More power to him, I say.
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djimbe
tinnitus


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 1178
Location: chicago

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

I gotta agree with junokane on this too bignerd, and I'm one of the people in Chicago running a place that costs money to work in. Is Pragma taking paying customers from me? Maybe, but I'll probably never know. Other studios that charge are taking customers from me too, so I figure it all sorta evens out. Lotsa places to work in Chicago...lotsa different price ranges, assortments of gear, room layouts and sounds, bands that want to record something... The guys I'm working with this weekend couldn't get into their normal place, so their engineer came to me, 'cause he's familiar with our room and gear and such. He knows he can get done what he wants with us at a price that fits the project budget and doesn't delay things while the preferred space is busy. In that respect, I'm taking business from someone else right now. Happens alot in a market as big as Chicago, but Bloomington is different, so I can see where you're coming from. Just thought I'd weigh in saying, to me, it's a vanilla/chocolate thing....
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meblumen
steve albini likes it


Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 376
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 11:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

bignerd wrote:
Well, I dont want to be the sourpuss here, but there are people that are trying to make a living in the studio business. By giving away free studio time (let alone being free at all times, period) you are cheapening the value of recording in a time when studios and engineers are hurting the most.

This is really unfair to those of us that have to charge money simply so we can pay our rent and feed our faces while doing what we love to do. I'd be pretty pissed if you were in my town giving away free professional studio time to would-be paying clients. I understand maybe you don't realize this, but it's something you should really consider.

mike


I guess your not gonna let me borrow any more mics Laughing I know my place isn't exactly professional but I've only charged a few of my clients whose music was either really lousy or they were unpleasant to work with but I've had a bunch of people in at my place for free since I opened it to the public 6 months ago.

On a similiar note there was a thread dealing with kinda the same topic not to long ago and I mentioned that I had been recording bands for free for awhile which proceeded to elicite several complaints from other messageboard users stating I was doing myself and the recording industry a disservice. I understand the recording studio market is quite crowded and there is quite a lot of competition so it hurts others when I do it for free but I'm trying to get my foot in the door and build a rep and by offering my services for free it was the only way to get people in the door. I also really enjoy recording, I didn't get into it to be rich and while I realize people have bills to pay and whatnot (myself included), I want to record, I would rather record myself and others than not so why do I have/should charge people to record. In the end I'm sure some people might get hurt, but I look at it like the whole internet music downloading debate. Sure plenty of people are going to go for the freebies and not buy CDs. But many of the really great bands with loyal fanbases are still going to be fine. I download stuff from time to time and if I like it I go and buy the CD. I think alot of people will goto studios for the talent of the engineers, the gear and the reputation of the place rather than seeking out the most affordable or free place to record and will continue to come back time after time.

Ok, I'm rambling (just finished finals!) so I'm gonna shut up, to Mike (bignerd) and others that take his stance in the argument, I agree with you guys too and feel for you and didn't mean to offend anyone, I was just sharing my perspective on the issue.
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Toddf
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 30 Jul 2003
Posts: 156
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 3:00 am    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

Once you give your services away for free it's hard to get people to pay for them. At least charge something. Todd F.
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Todd Fitzgerald
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No Wave Casio Kitsch
re-cappin' neve
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Joined: 07 Sep 2003
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Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 11:31 am    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

I must say I'm rather surprised at the fact that a number of people seem to be upset by this idea. If he wants to offer his services for free that's his choice, no?

-Giahni
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Brian Brock
buyin' a studio


Joined: 21 May 2003
Posts: 875
Location: Laveen, AZ

PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2004 8:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

Toddf wrote:
Once you give your services away for free it's hard to get people to pay for them. At least charge something. Todd F.


Steve Albini's keynote speech at the first TapeOp Con (I think that was it) was to the exact opposite effect - you can find it on the net but it's to the effect that dropping prices is what's hard. Say you're charging 100 dollars a sandwich. Everyone decides to buy sandwiches from Subway. Now, even if you lower your price to 10 cents, no one knows. But if you start at 10 cents, when people who love your sandwiches come for more, and they now cost 20 cents, at least they can consider buying them.
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Toddf
takin' a dinner break


Joined: 30 Jul 2003
Posts: 156
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2004 3:26 am    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

You lost me Brian.
I guess I don't agree with Albini.
I have seen what happens with people who charge nothing. It's all about what value people perceive that something is worth.
I have seen studios raise their rates and get more business as people think they must be better.
Now recording your friends band for nothing or giving a band some time to test you out is another thing. We have given a few bands a free day and if they like it they must book more and pay the normal rate. It has worked everytime.
But going around saying your giving away yourself and your studio for nothing seems pointless. Just my opinion. Todd F.
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mfedderman
pushin' record


Joined: 07 Aug 2003
Posts: 254
Location: Highland Park, IL

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2004 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

Hey Meblumen,


Prama and my studio are in the same market and his giving away free recording time hasn't hurt me in the least. I agree with both sides of the argument. My thing is, as engineers we are all in the same boat. When I was first starting out, recorded and mixed bands from free because I NEEDED to start making a name for myself. But I also have to keep in mind the idea of perceived (sp?) value! I've worked in studio called Perfect Sound who charges $55 per hour and then there is Gravity Studios ni Chicago that charges around $90 per hour. BOTH studios have good rooms (Perfect Sound's is actually better), BOTH have Pro-Tools, both have world class consoles, outboard gear and amazing mics. BUT, people would rather go to Gravity because of the perceived value of their price. Nothing wrong with that. In fact I think Perfect should charge more.

Blah, Blah, Blah. Pragma feels ok with giving it away, go for it! If someone running their studio like that is hurting your business, maybe you should take another look around to make sure its them and not you.

Just my two cents...

-Matt Feddermann
Phase Recording Studios
http://www.phaserecordingstudios.com
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meblumen
steve albini likes it


Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 376
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 2:11 am    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

mfedderman wrote:
Hey Meblumen,


Prama and my studio are in the same market and his giving away free recording time hasn't hurt me in the least. I agree with both sides of the argument. My thing is, as engineers we are all in the same boat. When I was first starting out, recorded and mixed bands from free because I NEEDED to start making a name for myself. But I also have to keep in mind the idea of perceived (sp?) value! I've worked in studio called Perfect Sound who charges $55 per hour and then there is Gravity Studios ni Chicago that charges around $90 per hour. BOTH studios have good rooms (Perfect Sound's is actually better), BOTH have Pro-Tools, both have world class consoles, outboard gear and amazing mics. BUT, people would rather go to Gravity because of the perceived value of their price. Nothing wrong with that. In fact I think Perfect should charge more.



Matt I completly agree with you and like you said you started out recording bands for free to make a name for yourself. I'm in the same boat. I have one more year left in school (I'm not even studying audio) before I get out in the job market and its my hope that before then I have an impressive demo reel, as much experience as I can garner from these sessions and possibly a few connections that might throw some work my way. However, for now I'm running a rather modest studio out of my home. Except for a few friends in other bands I wasn't all that known in my scene and thus needed a way to attract bands to my place. After a slow first month I began getting too many offers that I couldn't record everyone who asked. Since them I have done some decent work with some local bands and have even begun to make the transistion to charging people (which I might add isn't that hard to do as Albini pointed out).

I do agree that my rate intially did influence some people's opinions of my work. I've done mostly demos for bands who are looking to start playing gigs and of course have had people do sloppy takes and say its fine because if it were a 'real' recording they would be in a 'real' studio and would spend more time getting it right. On the other hand, I've done other recordings where people were very serious about the project and had high hopes of turning the final product into a commercial release. In the end it would be great if I could either raise my rates or atleast change people's attitudes that more $ doesn't = better quality but I can't. At the same time, I can't charge as much as other places because I don't have the equipment and facilities nor the reputation that many of the studios in my town have.

mfedderman wrote:

Blah, Blah, Blah. Pragma feels ok with giving it away, go for it! If someone running their studio like that is hurting your business, maybe you should take another look around to make sure its them and not you.

Just my two cents...


I don't know if this was directed at me too, but I don't have a problem with people running their studios for free or any othe way they chose. My philosophy is that my skills will speak for themselves as I think others will too. I believe that while occassionally problems and events occurr that are outside of my control, I'm the one responsable for my success or failure and thus have no one but myself to blame whether I make it in this industry or not.


On an unrelated note, Matt, I was just curious if you grew up in the North Shore area because I know your studio is in highland park/deerfield? (one of the two right). I just wanted to know because I'm actually from Northbrook and go back there quite often and probably will return to Chicago in a year or so.
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anewman
gimme a little kick & snare


Joined: 29 Dec 2003
Posts: 77
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 3:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

I'll try to answer everyone's questions and concerns while still keeping this short:

I'm not trying to hurt anyone. Getting stuff for free is cooler than having to pay for it. The neotek sounds good. Thanks to everyone who is supportive of this effort. F the man.

That being said, I'm opening up 110 new Pragma locations in major cities around the US. I may not be the only free studio, but I'm the first nation-wide franchise.
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anewman
gimme a little kick & snare


Joined: 29 Dec 2003
Posts: 77
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

BTW, I'm also looking for more mix work. If anyone wants to send over some stuff to offload some work I'm hip!

Thanks,

-Adam
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Telecastr
audio school graduate


Joined: 04 Aug 2004
Posts: 19
Location: Canton, OH

PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

do you have any samples of anything you've recorded and/or mixed?
also when do you plan on opening another studio, and in what city? let me know if you plan to open in ohio.
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Silverlode
gettin' sounds


Joined: 15 May 2004
Posts: 118
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 2:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

Whiners, be gone! Live and let live. You can charge what the market will bear, and how can anyone complain about that? If you're feeling the squeeze of competition, get better or get out.

For all we know the stuff is crap anyway...no samples on the website. Or maybe it's great? More power to him.
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anewman
gimme a little kick & snare


Joined: 29 Dec 2003
Posts: 77
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

I'm working on getting some stuff together for a "Demo Reel". I'll keep you posted. I have most of the material together, I'm just waiting to get permission from everyone.

-Adam
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MASSIVE Mastering
buyin' a studio


Joined: 23 Aug 2004
Posts: 852
Location: Chicago (Schaumburg / Hoffman Est.) IL

PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2004 11:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Pragma - Chicago's free studio Reply with quote

Silverlode wrote:
For all we know the stuff is crap anyway...no samples on the website. Or maybe it's great? More power to him.

Even IF it's crap, you're not losing anything but a little time...
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