Let's talk about accessibility
I am committed to operating this space in a way that is affordable to musicians of all backgrounds. If you feel sticker shock – don't worry. I understand. Below you can learn more about the value you're getting for your money and where your money goes.
We will also be offering membership scholarships in the near future. Stay tuned!
Traditional Recording Studio
Let's say that you're set on recording your debut single, EP or album. It's impossible to estimate how many hours your project may take you but we can estimate the average cost at an LA recording studio to be around $100/hour .
Traditional studios also typically have a minimum number of hours you must book and lack a flexible calendar that allows projects to unfold progressively over time.
In other words, you need to have lots of money, know exactly what you want to record, and not make any mistakes (or you literally pay for them).
If our rates seem expensive, then it is needless to say that most studios in LA will be out of budget within a few hours. When you tack on the uncertainty of how long recording a project will actually take, traditional studios quickly feel like a pipe dream.
There is an aura of mystique with traditional recording studios that make it seem like you shouldn't be there unless it's on your label's dime. This can be uncomfortable for independent or newer artists/groups who are not accustomed to the recording process.
While there are organizations and specific studios actively fighting this battle on the daily, most of the traditional music industry is still dominated by wealthy cis het white men. If you identify with an underrepresented group (like me), then there is always the risk factor of not knowing how you'll be treated in a studio session.
Build Your Own Studio
With traditional recording studios out of the picture, there is always the bittersweet possibility of building your own studio (this is the route we took!)
Home studios have the advantage of comfort, no commute, and flexibility when it comes to recording your single, EP or album. Still – to go from zero to home studio hero takes a lot more than you might think. Beyond thousands of dollars in (often hidden) start up costs, you'll also need to tackle recording and production learning curves.
Sure, it is strictly true that you can make music only with a laptop, pair of headphones and a DAW (digital audio workstation) like GarageBand. However, many musicians looking to record won't be able to achieve their desired results without investing in more equipment, a lot of which you might not initially consider. For a glimpse on studio start up costs, check out the equipment breakdown.
When I first started making music, I thought, "How hard can it be? Everyone and their mother has a YouTube channel explaining how to do it." But can you actually trust everyone's mother? While the democratization of music production online has increased substantially and is great for finding quick answers to specific questions, a comprehensive education remains difficult to piece together, especially for free.
Operating a studio is a demanding task to undertake alone and you'll run into so many questions along the way. At some point, you may get tired of consulting the Internet and wish that you had a trusted friend right next to you to show you the ropes. This is where Switterbeat Collective come in...
With these alternatives outlined, I hope you can understand how Switterbeat's model offers a solution to some of the most common issues facing musicians on their recording journeys.
The independent hourly rate for studio time is probably the lowest you can find in LA (~$12.50/hour). Switterbeat also offers additional benefits including open access to our space (and all of its perks!), community building workshops, concerts, and get togethers.
This studio is a safe place to make mistakes and learn along the way. I'm not shy about admitting what I don't know and I run into issues during the recording process. What keeps me going is that I always frame them as opportunities to learn and improve. Sharing learnings will help empower all of us on our recording journeys.
No musician is an island, especially at Switterbeat. We're here to build a network of musicians who share passion, drive, and a lot of fun. By joining our community, you're not only investing in your own growth but also the development of other artists like you.