By the way, it was a very different NYC and a very different music business 40 years ago:

Keep in mind that almost all of those now-legendary NYC studios were located in what were then 
crime-ridden hellholes (most of Manhattan was a crime-ridden hellhole in 1975, although it got even 
worse when crack cocaine hit the scene a few years later).

One other point -- I have a bit of first-hand knowledge about what was in the schedule books at A&R, 
Sigma NYC and MediaSound, and I assume the other big places had about the same business model with 
some (probably Hit Factory and Power Station) able to be almost all album-music-production and 
others (United Recording and a host of other survivors from the 60s and early 70s) doing almost all 
of their work in radio and TV commercials, sound-for-TV and some sound-for-movies. For the places I 
saw the schedule books, a lot of daytime booking was music score and voice-over for commercials. 
That was the bread and butter. The glory album sessions often were at night, at a discounted 
block-rate. In the late 60's and early 70's, the ad agencies started taking some production in-house 
(my late friend and mentor Bob Eberenz built studios for several major NYC agencies). The 
synthesizer and the musician/arranger with his home production studio further hollowed out the most 
lucrative part of the big-studio business model. And, as I said earlier, once the city got cleaned 
up, real estate values and rents went sky-high.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 2:07 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] From yesterday's NY Times

>I think that's the key -- it's always a labor of love. Through the history, the record companies 
>have dipped in and out of owning studios, often finding that it's a business line that the 
>accountants cannot stomach!
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Aaron Levinson" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 1:56 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] From yesterday's NY Times
> As a current studio owner this business faces one more extraordinary challenge that it didn't face 
> in the past which is the fact that the recording studio as laptop and m-box era has eliminated an 
> entire segment of people who were once at least potentially clients. This is not just garage bands 
> and weekend warriors but also little post houses and VO talent who can know build an excellent 
> closet sized space to do their daily gig and not hire an outside facility that specializes in this 
> work.
> At least Steve has proximity to labels that need restoration/transfer services. Contrast this with 
> people in smaller markets who don't even have that narrow tributary to rely upon with any 
> regularity. As always owning a pro level recording studio remains a labor of love first and 
> foremost..
> AA
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Oct 13, 2015, at 1:37 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I hope Steve is able to continue with his transfer and remastering business at a Brooklyn 
>> location. He does good work. I've been enjoying the Errol Garner set just today, it sounds 
>> fantastic.
>> The trajectory of Steve's Manhattan studio is, unfortunately, long the story of recording studios 
>> in Manhattan. You set up shop in a dangerous hellhole neighborhood because the rent is cheap 
>> there and musicians tend not to mind doing business there.  Once the neighborhood gets gentrified 
>> so it's safe and desireable, the gross revenue and profit margins of the recording studio 
>> business are far too low to afford prime-space rent rates. Think about how much more revenue per 
>> square foot a Starbucks or trendy boutique or luxury condo generates vs. a recording studio. This 
>> happened to almost all of the large-space recording studios in the 80s, during the Reagan-era 
>> Wall Street boom. Then another round of it happened during the Giuliani era, particularly in and 
>> around Times Square, when a former crime-ridden hellhole neighborhood got Disney-fied. Yet 
>> another round happened more recently, leaving Magic Shop as one of a handful of full-function 
>> studios left in Manhattan.
>> The way rents are going in Brooklyn, there won't be much of a recording/music business there in a 
>> few years.
>> By the way, if you go back and study the history of the long-term studios, there's almost always 
>> some unknown backstory where something more lucrative than the music business is subsidizing the 
>> studio. Look at a "golden age" studio empire like Bill Putnam's and you see a diversified 
>> business with many locations, an equipment-manufacturing business and, probably most importantly, 
>> a large and varied client list from the sound-for-picture world. Until very recently, the margins 
>> on doing movie and TV sound work were much, much better than doing music albums. Just think about 
>> what backgrounds you know about your favorite albums, especially if they are jazz or pop/rock. 
>> Many of them are legendary for being recorded "on a shoestring." Well, that shows you how thin 
>> the margins are for the studios. That kind of a business simply can't pay premium rent, it needs 
>> to exist in a low-rent area.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Barton, Matthew" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 1:11 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] From yesterday's NY Times
>>> The owner of the studio, Steve Rosenthal, presented at ARSC in Pittsburgh on his work on the 
>>> expanded reissue of Errol Garner's "Concert by the Sea" that is now #1 on Billboard's Jazz 
>>> chart.
>>> Matthew Barton
>>> Library of Congress
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On 
>>> Behalf Of Peter Hirsch
>>> Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2015 12:06 PM
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Subject: [ARSCLIST] From yesterday's NY Times
>>> As a librarian/archivist and collector, I am not directly involved with this end of the 
>>> recording process, so I was not aware of this studio's existence before reading this article. 
>>> Still, it touches on the "sic transit gloria mundi" aspect of our collective interests on this 
>>> list. In some ways, it is more a comment on the current state of affairs regarding real estate 
>>> in NYC and how these forces are transforming the city into a tourist trap/theme park and 
>>> investment haven for non-resident billionaires, than on the state of the recording business. 
>>> Hyper-gentrification is thriving and driving away so much that makes the city a place to be and 
>>> make a living in. "A Beloved Recording Studio May Be Priced Out of SoHo":
>>> Peter Hirsch