THE FIVE BOROUGHS: 2010 has been busy all right. For anyone involved in New York City’s expansive business of music – producer, publisher, entrepreneur, engineer, artist, and many more – the environment remains fast-paced, ultra-competitive and constantly changing.
Northern Lights’ WSDG-designed 5.1 audio mix suite
With 2011 looming, SonicScoop looked for the news, trends and topics that stood out to us over the past 365 days.
In audio post, it was grow or die in the uppermost echelon. The biggest facilities, including hsr|ny, Nutmeg, and Sound Lounge made serious expansions into audio and/or video:
Sound Lounge opened an ADR Stage and multiple studios.
Nutmeg Post added a strong team and facility when it soaked up Soundhound.
The big post house Mega Playground built out audio capabilities.
Northern Lights added a 5.1 audio mixing suite.
Video house Click3X reversed the trend and added their own audio suite.
Celebrating 35 years in business, hsr|ny continued to expand as a full-service video and audio post facility.
Large and mid-sized recording/tracking/mixing studios kept making capital improvements and expanding:
Premier Studios took over the 8th floor at 723 7th Avenue.
Engine Room opened up its penthouse studio.
Stadium Red expanded with a new studio for Just Blaze and a mastering suite.
The remarkable Electric Lady celebrated turning 40.
Platinum Studios added Augspurgers to Studio K.
Sear Sound set up the Moog-centric Studio D.
Tainted Blue swapped out its SSL for a Euphonix (nee Avid) System 5.
And props to Electric Lady for marking its 40th Anniversary.
Converse (yes, the shoe company) has an interesting business plan for the Rubber Tracks studio it’s going to open in Williamsburg in 2011: no-cost recording.
Advanced smaller studios – independent and within larger facilities — and producer rooms also opened up at a peppy pace:
Chris Theberge’s Music Works arrived on the Upper West Side.
The former One Point Six in Williamsburg was reborn as Three Egg Studios.
Manhattan Center Studios launched The Fuse Box with Public Enemy’s Brian Hardgroove.
Brian Hardgroove is building up the Fuse Box.
Avatar opened up its Studio W writing room.
Sisko’s Min-Max Studios opened up in midtown.
Marc Alan Goodman announced an ambitious new expansion for Brooklyn’s Strange Weather, then blogged about the buildout – step by step – for SonicScoop.
Guitarist Justin King moved his Vinegar Hill Sound from Portland, OR to DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Avid capped off a furious year of reinvention and new products with the release of Pro Tools 9.
Music houses and composers still had a ton of TV, film and video game work to go after and win:
Joel Beckerman of Man Made Music continued to make NYC a TV music powerhouse.
Composer Peter Nashel turned ears everywhere with his work for shows like Rubicon.
The Rubicon ensemble tracking in Avatar Studio C
Outfits like Expansion Team scored for networks such as the Biography Channel.
Tom Salta understands how to get chosen to score for games like Prince of Persia and Red Steel 2.
Production music and synch licensing remained a solid business, especially for those who got in at the right time or had a smart approach.
NYC’s Kingsize Music was acquired by 615 Music.
And later on Warner-Chappell (NYC) bought up 615 Music.
NYC’s Videohelper released the “Scenarios” music search tool.
Jingle Punks continued to grow.
Mechanical licensing experts RightsFlow kept progressing.
One of NYC’s most controversial music business plays, peer-to-peer file sharing network Limewire, appeared to be finally finished.
Tracking, mixing and mastering at NYC’s established facilities did a relatively healthy volume of A-level and independent work throughout the year:
The Black Eyed Peas, Rivers Cuomo and Kanye West were at Germano Studios.
Neon Indian, Beach House, Matt and Kim, Bear Hands and more were mastered at The Lodge.
MSR Studios handled Kid Cudi, Evanescence and Broadway Cast recordings.
Lenny Kravitz, The Dirty Pearls, “Glee”, and Vampire Weekend were all at Avatar.
Joe Lambert Mastering worked with Moby and Ninjasonik.
New software and hardware happiness abounded:
We elected many items “Buzzworthy” at AES, from Universal Audio, Focal, SSL, Burl, Shadow Hills, Izotope, Sound Toys, Lavry Engineering, Telefunken and more.
Propellerhead released Reason 5.
NYC suffered losses when beloved people and places left us:
Recording icon Walter Sear passed away.
Walter Sear’s spirit continues to thrive at Sear Sound.
The great hip hop/jazz experimentalist Guru was gone before his time.
Clinton Recording Studios hosted its last session.
Brick and mortar music retail took another hit when Fat Beats shuttered its last stores.
Baseline Studios, home of Just Blaze and countless Jay-Z hits, closed.
Chung King Studios started off 2010 with a bang by suddenly vacating Varick Street.
NYC-based producers, mixers, engineers and artists became businesses in their own right:
Producer Chris Coady worked on some hugely acclaimed records this year, including Beach House Teen Dream and Delorean Subiza, as well as records with Hooray for Earth, Zola Jesus, Smith Westerns, Cold Cave.
People like Allen Farmelo developed their distinctive sound.
Shane Stoneback is in the right place, right time.
Choice songwriter Claude Kelly made a business of hits.
Shane Stoneback’s career took off via work with Sleigh Bells and Vampire Weekend.
Mixer Mark Saunders embraced multiple aspects of the biz from his studio at Beat 360.
Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess took his iPad/iPhone app MorphWiz all the way to #1.
Joel Hamilton continued down an immersive production path, working on records with Blakroc, Dub Trio, The Parkington Sisters and Blakroc.
And John Agnello brought his classic production and engineering technique to new records for Kurt Vile, J Mascis, Shayna Zaid And The Catch and Dead Confederate (among others).
The studio scene got a lot more socialicious and FUN:
Flux Studios was always hosting something in the East Village, like Alto and Dangerous converging for a schooling from Fab.
Two fiesta types plus (r) introspective Stadiumred artist Jeremy Carr. SonicScoop says: HAVE FUN AND PROSPER IN 2011!
Digital Music NY was one of many popular business-based meetups.
Stadium Red partied down post-CMJ.
20dot20 mixed advertising and music.
And the Connectors connected a LOT of people.
What big stories would you include? And what do you see next in 2011? Don’t be shy – leave a comment and let us know!
— Janice Brown and David Weiss