A lot of us bought the iPhone when it first came out because we knew it was gonna be cool not because it was cheap (because of course it wasn’t). We justified our purchases of these great devices by saying, “…well, if you consider how many times it will get used, or handled, or enjoyed, it’s really not that much money for a phone.”
You can look at your studio time the same way. Except for your band, it’s about the cost per listen, because let’s face it, a great recording is expensive. By the time you get it mixed, mastered, and duplicated, (and marketed if you wanna be serious) it could seem like it costs 1,000 bucks for each song! But, remember, you are recording so people will hear your music, and for most of us, it’s also so they will buy it, buy our other merch, and become our undying and loyal fans So, you’re actually paying to share your songs, not record them.
With the iPhone purchase, it was a stretch for us to include profits as a possible outcome/reason, as any phone could make calls to clients, but for you guys, profit is very likely to come from someone listening to your songs.
When you consider how much it costs your band to show your music to one person, one time, it goes down when more people hear it. It goes up when you record, and back down every time someone hears it after that. It goes up when you play a show, and down if you actually get paid for playing. And yes, it goes up when you get it mastered, but it goes way down when more people buy it because it sounds good. You can tell where this is going…
You see, you can’t actually measure the cost of a great recording all at once – you have to measure it over time. And for almost all of you, the price just keeps going down. In fact, it’s highly likely that already, your band’s recording only costs you fractions of a penny for someone to hear. And for some of you who do are doing the math, you are realizing that it didn’t cost anything at all! After a while, you’re supposed to make money with your music – that was the idea when you got started, right? So what if you aren’t on a major label yet?! The goal isn’t really to be on a label, it’s to be able to what you love doing (and hopefully not need a day job). You may actually need a big label for that.
A lot of us are in the studio business because we started out trying to do our own recording as musicians. And we know most guys who do their own recording do it to save money, but that really isn’t what happens. It just costs you all time that your music could be out there.
We’re always telling young musicians, don’t be so worried about what it will cost in the studio – how much it will cost for mastering – the time you lose is more expensive than anything else. Just get in there and spend the money so you can start sharing your music, because people are ready to pay you for doing it (and buy your black t-shirts too)!