With the advancement of technology, recording music at a professional level from home has never been more possible.

Home recording studio equipment is more affordable than twenty years ago. The affordable prices have completely changed the way artists and music producers produce and release music.

With the right equipment, you can get on your way to producing high-quality tracks in no time –– both for yourself and for clients. But where do you start?

This guide will help you begin your journey as an independent music producer by showing you:

  • The equipment essentials you’ll need for your studio
  • How to start a home-based recording studio from scratch
  • How to market yourself to attract the right people
  • How to manage the financial side of things

The equipment essentials you’ll need for your studio

Computer

Otherwise known as the backbone of your home recording studio.

When starting out, you’re fine to use the laptop or desktop you already own. It’s likely powerful enough to run most commercial music-making software and plugins.

But if you want to splurge on a brand new one, look at its CPU, RAM, storage, I/O (inputs and outputs), and fan volume. They all play a role in how many audio tracks, simple libraries, plugins, etc., you can run at once.

DAW (digital audio workstation)

This will be the primary software you’ll use to record and produce music on your computer. There are a ton of different DAWs on the market that provide the same basic functionality but with their own unique tools and setups.

The DAW you use is a personal preference, and you’ll only find out if one works for you by testing it out. Don’t like it? Try another one.

Audio interface

This is the primary hardware device that lets your gear communicate with your computer. Your audio interface effectively replaces your computer’s built-in soundcard.

It’s important to note that expensive doesn’t always mean better. In fact, there are tons of budget ones that are great for home studios.

You’ll need to do some research to find the best option for your needs.

Studio monitors

Most home speakers are built for listening to music, not working on it, so you’ll need to invest in some studio monitors.

Why?

Because studio monitors are built to deliver a more truthful reproduction of sound. When working on music, using studio monitors allows you to achieve a sound that ideally translates well across all listening devices when working on music.

Monitor stands

Good ones absorb unnecessary vibrations from your speakers, so they don’t cloud your mix. In addition, monitor stands give you the flexibility to set up your speakers where you want them to improve sound clarity.

Monitor stands can either sit on your desk or be on your floor and come in a variety of materials. Whatever model you choose, sturdiness and absorption pads are paramount.

Acoustic treatment

Every home studio should use proper acoustic treatment tools to minimise the noise that travels in a room.

Soundproof your studio by using dense building materials to block out travelling noise for a cleaner sound.

Microphone

You also need a good microphone to record vocals or instruments for your tracks. The three broad categories you need to know are:

  • Dynamic mics –– have a sturdy build and can be used both in the studio and for live performances
  • Condenser mics –– these generally excel at vocal recording, but they require 48 volts of phantom power (supplied by the preamp) to operate
  • Ribbon mics –– the most fragile of the three. They typically have a darker tone, which can create interesting results on high-frequency material

Headphones

Every home recording studio should have two different headphones: one for recording and one for mixing.

Mixing

Here you want to use open-back headphones because they allow air to pass through their ear cups. This creates a more natural sound. Look for ones that provide good sound quality over isolation!

Recording

Closed-back headphones are best here since they block out a lot more outside noise, yielding much better isolation. Look for ones with maximum insulation properties!

When you’ve bought all your equipment, you’ll need a studio desk to prop it up on and a comfortable chair to sit on. Then you’re good to go!

How to start a home-based recording studio from scratch

Once you’ve sourced the equipment you need and have assembled your recording studio, the next step is to set it up properly so you can begin making money.

Register your business

If you plan to make money from your recording studio, you’ll need to register as self-employed and turn your studio into a legal entity. To do this, you’ll need to register it with the UK government.

If you plan to run the show alone, you’ll probably want to register as a sole trader.

Doing so means you’re legally the same entity as your business, meaning you’re personally liable for it. On the plus side, it’s easier to set up, and you’ll have fewer regulations or taxes to deal with.

Your other option is to set up your studio business as a limited company.

The business will be a separate legal entity from you, which gives you protection if it fails. That said, you’re responsible for a few more taxes and regulations.

Whichever company structure you choose, you’ll need to report your earnings and pay taxes. These may include:

  • Income or dividend tax
  • National Insurance
  • Corporation tax – this only applies to limited companies

You’ll also need to submit a Self Assessment tax return to determine the taxes you owe.

Write a business plan

Turning your idea into a business plan helps you stay on track when setting up your home-based recording studio.

On top of that, you might need to secure funding from a bank or investor to help grow your business. You’ll need a business plan to prove that you’re a viable investment to these people and companies.

Your business plan may also include:

Get insurance

No matter how many precautions you take, things can still go wrong with your home-based recording business. For that reason, it’s crucial to make sure you have the appropriate level of protection.

Getting the right insurance cover should be a priority. At the very least, you’ll want to look at:

  • Public liability insurance –– protects you against the cost of a claim made by someone who was injured or had property damaged while working with your studio
  • Personal accident cover –– allows you to access set amounts of cash to tide you over in case you get severely injured and can’t work
  • Equipment insurance –– provides cover in case your equipment is damaged, lost or stolen
  • Temporary insurance –– provides cover for equipment you don’t normally have in your studio in case its damaged lost or stolen

Countinup’s insurance partner, Superscript, has plenty of insurance covers you can look at. Find out more here.

How to market yourself to attract the right people

Now that you’ve assembled up your home-based studio and covered the key steps to set up a new business, it’s time to present your talents to the world.

Here are some things that’ll help you attract the right people.

Build a cool and memorable brand

The first step is to decide how you want to present yourself to the public by building a brand identity for your studio. Doing so lets you reach people more effectively and win them over more easily.

Having a defined brand helps you create a presence and develop awareness for your recording studio.

So how do you do this?

Begin by considering the following:

  • The target audience – Who do you actually want to reach? For example, do you want to attract labels to buy your own music or recording artists whose music you can produce? Or both?
  • Your values and story – What made you start your recording studio? What values drive your business? For example, helping undiscovered talent get their big break?
  • The colour scheme and style – What colours and fonts will you use to present your studio? How will you design your logo and other materials? Will you include specific symbols in your brand identity?
  • The tone of voice – How will you communicate with your audience? For example, will you be cool and mysterious or bubbly and informal?

Develop a marketing and advertising plan

This is a crucial step to attracting the right people to your new recording studio. Whether you want to sell your own songs or find recording artists to work with, a well-planned strategy will help you reach them.

Here are a few proven methods you can use.

Set up a website

Every business needs a professional website to present itself to the world. It’s your corner of the internet and the first place people will go to check you out.

And it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can easily build a stunning site for your recording studio by using tools like WordPress or Squarespace. These tools have templates you can customise to fit your style and needs.

Make sure your website at least includes:

  • Studio name and logo –– add a slogan or mission statement if you have one
  • Basic info –– list your services, location, special skills, etc.
  • Music or samples –– dedicate a page to show off your skills with a portfolio of your best music samples
  • Gear info –– add a page that details the gear you use in your studio, so people know what to expect
  • Contact information –– share your email address and other contact info like social media channels
  • Customer reviews –– if people have already raved about your music or production skills, make sure you share it on your site

Tip! Consider starting a blog on your website. If you write about music tips and mixing tutorials, you can reach more people interested in music production. You can enhance these articles to increase site traffic by applying SEO to them.

Use social media

Social media will likely be your most useful tool to attract people to your studio.

Use your channels to share content about your services and tracks, but also to build rapport and connect with people in your target market.

When the goal is to generate a buzz about your recording studio, your best bet will be to make use of YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok first and foremost.

  • Instagram –– great for posting photos of your studio setup, your recording sessions, and sharing details about your services
  • Youtube –– perfect for posting tutorials and longer videos about your projects to reach people within your target audience.
  • TikTok –– good for leveraging trends to attract viewers and show the more fun side of your brand

Paid advertising

While it does cost more, advertising your recording studio can help you reach more people with less time and effort. Paid ads could be an excellent way to kickstart your studio.

For analogue methods, you could pay for ad space in a music magazine like:

For digital advertising, you can use Google Ads to boost your website. You could also design ads for your chosen social media platforms so people there come across your business.

To learn more, check out how to advertise a new business effectively.

How to manage the financial side of things

Like with most things in the world, you’ll need money to keep your home-based recording studio going. Financial management is a sometimes tedious but necessary task for all self-employed people.

HMRC actually requires you to maintain clear records of the money you spend and earn for your recording studio. Knowing how to manage your money effectively will make this task immensely easier.

Open a business current account

The first step to simplifying your financial management is to keep your studio finances separate from your personal ones.

Opening a business current account gives you a dedicated place for all money related to your business, making it much easier to stay on top of them.

That’s because you won’t need to examine each transaction to find those for your recording studio business.

Use modern accounting software

To be able to drive your recording studio forward and increase your profits, it’s essential to understand your financial habits and performance. This way, you can make better decisions for your business and help it succeed long term.

The optimal accounting software for self-employed people who operate alone is Countingup. It’s a business current account and accounting software in one app that automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin.

Countingup simplifies financial management for single-person businesses with:

  • Ongoing cash flow insights
  • Year-round tax estimates
  • Automatic expense categorisation
  • Invoicing on the go

Using Countingup allows you to save yourself hours of accounting admin and focus on fine-tuning your tracks and business.

Start your three-month free trial today.