Thursday, June 17, 2010

National Recording Studios Open Day – An Intriguing Idea

There was a little reported event in the U.S. press that took place nationwide in New Zealand on May 29, 2010 called National Recording Studios Open Day. It was part of the activities associated with NZ Music Month, an annual event coordinated by New Zealand Musician Magazine (a bi-monthly, free publication for the last 22 years). It was the first national event of its kind in New Zealand or any country for that matter.

Organizer Richard Thorne, publisher/editor of NZ Musician Magazine, explained his intent of holding a national open house:

“The main hope behind the Open Day is that by getting people in and looking around, you might get some of them to take the next step and book a session. Secondary was the exposure and publicity gained leading to future bookings.”

Between noon and 4 PM, a variety of professional studios around the country opened their doors to provide an opportunity for musicians, artist managers, music students and others to find out more about local studio facilities, in-house recording professionals and services and the audio quality benefits of recording in a professional studio environment. Owners, engineers and staff were on hand to answer any questions about the studio and the recording, mixing and mastering processes.

Participating studios ranged from the high-end and long established studios to low cost community facilities. Entry was free and each studio offered its own program of information and entertainment.

York Street Recording Studios, a large format international class studio in Auckland, reported 160 to 180 visitors on the day of the event. Jeremy Mcpike, manager of York Street said he had members from their session band there to answer questions from a musician point of view about recording. All their engineers were on hand as well. They ended up having four to eight mini lectures for rotating groups of visitors.

One of his goals as organizer, Richard was trying to dispel the notion that “studios have an aura of inaccessible cool.” Jeremy from York Street elaborated on this topic further from his perspective:

“…there is a bit of mystery about large studios and I think a lot of smaller bands / solo artists may be a bit intimidated about coming in here, thinking that only ‘big’ well know bands can record here, which of course is not the case at all. If anything it is the small jobs in between the albums that keep us busy. So I wanted to use the day to allay some of the fears and show the musicians that we are friendly / approachable / professional and welcoming to all artists from all genres.”

In addition to promotional activities by NZ Music magazine, relevant regional news outlets, papers and radio stations were contacted and a few picked up the story. Each studio also promoted the event locally and through social networking sites such as facebook, twitter and myspace.

Most studios experienced a busy day of visitors, busier than they had expected to be. Some of the studios did take bookings on the day and some got local media exposure they have not received before.

Richard Thorne concluded that the event “was a big success and will be repeated.” His plan is to make the Open Day an annual feature of the NZ Music Month.

The event is an interesting take on the idea of trying to spur support for local recording facilities, what Richard refers to as “collaborative promotion.” If there is a Record Store Day (third Saturday every April) in the U.S., then having a recording studio day may not be all that far-fetched, time difference and all.

Jeremy from York Street summed up the event by saying, “…it was a big day, loads of fun and seeing the amazed look on peoples faces when they came in to the studio reminded us all of what a special place we work in and what a wonderful job we have.” Amen to that.


The event was coordinated by NZ Musician magazine, with support from CHART in Christchurch, Auckland’s SAE Institute and Phantom Billstickers (a street media company).

Here is a complete list of studios that participated in the first National Recording Studios Open Day.

York Street, Parnell Auckland
Earwig Studios, Birkenhead Auckland
Depot Sound, Devonport Auckland
Stebbing Recording Centre, Herne Bay Auckland
The Colour Field, Tauranga
The Stomach, Palmerston North
TMV Studios, Levin
STL Audio, Victoria St, Wellington
PAF - Villa Number 9, Porirua
Tandem Studios, Christchurch

1 comment:

  1. very cool! it'd be great to see this happen in NYC!