New free library studio in GJ will likely benefit, not hurt, local recording businesses

I was at first very concerned when hearing, second hand, about a free studio that is being built by the Mesa County Library in downtown Grand Junction, CO.  I was so concerned that I wrote a letter to the editor after reading an article about it in the local GJ Sentinel. My biggest issue was the impact it would have on new bands looking for a place to record. Local, government funded agency completes with local businesses?  That’s a headline for sure. After speaking with both a library foundation board members and the library head, Joseph Sanchez, I have pretty much decided that this is not necessarily going to take away business, and in fact it may increase it.
  1. The library studio will focus more on video technology than audio recording, at least for now. That may change but the perception of this as an audio recording facility is inaccurate; a better description is a “multi-media” facility.
  2. Use of the studio for bands who have a local library card will be free, based on availability. While that may entice some bands to use the space in lieu of paying to record, my feeling is that it will draw more people into the process of making a record, and they will discover just how difficult it is.
  3. Complete production services may or may not be included, but based on the mission and focus of the library, it looks more like an entry level space, or “Maker-Space” in the words of Mr. Sanchez. Bands seeking more complete production services will still use local studios based on their needs for better gear and professional skill sets.
  4. The library will offer archiving of projects, and local musicians will be able to provide copies of their work to be placed in the collection “in perpetuity”. That means, 50 years from now, someone may just discover some music that would have otherwise died out much sooner.  With the permission of the artists, streaming of music will be offered on their web site, which will provide a way to get the word out for musicians seeking local recognition. It is still not certain if the library will pay a license fee for the use of the music, but that remains a possibility, according to Mr. Sanchez.
  5. Finally, the opportunities for networking among both musicians, private studios, and the public will be greatly enhanced. What that means to me is the possibility of referrals from musicians needing a more professional treatment of their tracks. While the library cannot formally endorse specific businesses, they can make available information on other services available locally.
So I am taking a wait and see attitude. Mr. Sanchez has asked me keep him informed if I find any specific instances of lost business for my studio. That shows me the library is taking an active role in promoting music production in the community, while at the same time treading carefully where they might come into competition. I am counting on this as being a Win-Win for everyone. The studio will open in early January, 2016.

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