Big Time Sounds is a recording studio that is set to be established in Oakland, Alameda County. Although still a startup, the studio will be set up on a rented or constructed facility within Oakland. The studio will mainly focus on recording country music, pop, RnB and soft rock. Big Time Sounds will cater for musical talents from Oakland area and Alameda County as a whole, with an initial target of at least two major signings a year. As a business, our core aim is profits and therefore, a market analysis will enable proper business planning and optimization to ensure profitability.
Marketing Environment Analysis
Alameda County state has specific laws, regulations, permits and requirements that govern the operations of businesses within the county. These regulations range from building and construction, licensing, tax certification, and fire prevention, just to name a few. Big Time Studio is based on a facility that will either be built or leased and requires Alameda County Building and Construction permit to operate. This permit addresses issues around remodeling constructions, zonings, and field inspections. Separate permits are also needed for plumbing, electrical and mechanical works. It is also necessary to comply with Alameda County tax laws by obtaining business licenses and tax certificates to ensure tax compliance (Bodie, 2013).
The business facilities are also subject to annual inspection by the Oakland city fire department, to ensure fire safety and prevention protocols are adhered to, while also providing further information on fire hazards. A public safety permit from the police department, in case the business wishes to install security devices such as CCTV cameras, burglar alarms, and armed guards, and lastly, the special event and photography permits for events, recording, and filming that are done outside company premises.
In addition to these permits, the business should also be compliant with both state and county laws and regulations (Bodie, 2013). These rules govern sound recording, production and business operation in general. For instance, all businesses operating within Alameda County are required to have set laws or regulations against discrimination or harassment. It is against the law to discriminate a person by his race, religion or sexual orientation. The business should also comply with the occupational/professional and safety requirement regulations. These regulations require that each business prepare prevention plan for injury and sickness. The company and its employees are also obliged to comply with laws that set minimum standards for hours, wages, and work conditions (Mahoney, 2013). Lastly, recording studios mostly deal with contract signing and execution; it is, therefore, important to comply with laws governing issuance, implementation, and breach of contracts.
Generally, Alameda County boasts a stable economy with higher than average income levels. However, the business sells a service which means that marginal profits are dependent on consumer satisfaction. Therefore, to ensure profitability, it is important that the recording studio focuses on the music with which the local population will identify. Free or low-cost internet downloads offer cheaper alternatives for middle-income families who cannot afford to purchase an original. Therefore, to avoid losses, the business will adopt different sales channels such as subsidized rates for the locals and sponsorship events.
Music production is a technology-dependent industry. From the recording equipment to the sound engineering equipment, and to final production, all depend on up to date technology to ensure quality. The most well-established artist will not accept to record in a studio that does not have the latest in sound technology. However, these technologies are not cheap. This high price is often limiting to most startups who are either pushed out of business or forced to accept lower quality and revenues (Burgess, 2013). The adequate and up to date technology also reduces the production time, ensuring more productions annually which translates to better revenue.
The city of Oakland has many recording studios. Most of these are major recording studios, the likes of Skyline Studios, Nexus Audio, and 25th Street Recording Studio. In addition to these, Home-based Studios are also prolific in the area. Therefore, Big Time Sounds are entering into a market already dominated by the major and established competitors. In order to succeed in this environment, the company needs to gain a competitive advantage or a competitive edge (Thompson, Peteraf, Gamble, Strickland III, & Jain, 2013). This competitive edge is possible to attain if the company lays emphasis on young, new, and undiscovered talents. This approach varies slightly from that of the large recording studios that tend to focus on established artists who have produced records before. Instead, Big Time Records will nurture and shape them to be the artists of the future. This simple approach will assist the company in gaining a share of the ever expanding music business in Oakland.
Target Market Analysis.
Music has the unique ability of communication to both young and old. However, the youth are heavier consumers of music and therefore have an insatiable appetite for new music on a more than regular basis (Burgess, 2013). However, the focus on youth-centered music does not mean that the older generation is left out. Through remixes of old songs with new artists and modern instruments, the company ensures that the older generation is part of the company clientele.
At the initial stages, the company will mainly be based within the city of Oakland. However, with improvements, this target area should slowly spread to other parts of Alameda County. Currently, the major companies have a much larger share of Oakland; thus, a startup company would find it hard to influence artists to join. However, the suburban areas of Oakland provide a decent ground to outsource for talents. Once Big Time has a considerable share of the Oakland market, plans will be put in place to facilitate expansion into the regional market.
The population of Oakland holds music in high regards, with genres such as country, RnB and soft rock dominating the airwaves. Concerts and other musical events are common although not that frequent. Notably, the number of new and upcoming musicians in Oakland has risen over the last few years, with more and more artists taking the risk to pursue recording deals. Furthermore, the population of Oakland value originality and creativity in their music and therefore provide a good market for music with a heart and soul instead of purely computerized songs (Watson, 2014). For the recording studio to be successful, it must take into consideration the issue of home support. It would be imprudent to record artist from other cities or counties without consideration for the local talents. Thus, a 60-40 allocation of recording slots with Alameda County artists receiving 60% of chances will ensure local support for the studio.
In comparison to other high-flying cities such as Las Vegas in Nevada, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Oakland and Alameda as a whole would appear to be a rather sleepy' town. Furthermore, most of the residents fall within the middle-income bracket. These two factors significantly affect the purchasing power of the citizens. Although a recording studio does not sell its music directly to consumers, it is important that they ensure their artists have the right avenue for selling their music (Watson, 2014). Therefore, the choice of music is important. For instance, if the recording studio decides to record reggae music in a region where very few individuals identify with this genre, will result in failed release for both the studio and the artist.
Like any other business, a recording studio is subject to laws and regulations, as well as permits to operate. These laws and regulations vary from state to state and from county. For instance, Alameda County requires that a business acquires permits for a new building construction or a remodeling of an already existing building. A permit and clearance from the police department are also necessary before setting up security devices such as CCTV cameras and burglar alarms. A further clearance and regular inspection are needed from the fire department to ensure that fire prevention and management policies are adhered to. State laws also require an anti-discrimination policy as well as tax compliance certificates. The choice of music is also an important consideration. The recording studio should set out to produce music that will identify with a local population. Furthermore, the focus should mainly be on local talents instead of recording artists from other states or counties. The market is quite competitive although there is still room for growth. Therefore, with a focus on local talents and music, the recording studio can gain a competitive advantage and ensure success.
Bodie, Z. (2013). Investments. McGraw-Hill.
Burgess, R. J. (2013). The Art of Music Production:The Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press.
Mahoney, J. (2013). Teaching business ethics in the UK, Europe, and the USA: A comparative study. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Thompson, A., Peteraf, M., Gamble, J., Strickland III, A. J., & Jain, A. K. (2013). Crafting & Executing Strategy 19/e: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases. McGraw-Hill Education.
Watson, A. (2014). Cultural Production in and beyond the Recording Studio (Vol. 47). Routledge.
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