Holidays are great for a lot of reasons, but unless you’ve got close family and friends with similar hobbies and interests to your own, there’s a good chance that any gift you receive for the studio isn’t exactly going to align with your studio goals. This is completely normal and you’re not alone if at the end of the year you’re looking at making some serious upgrades of your own.
But there are reasons that the end of the year is a key time for music retailers like Guitar Center and Sweetwater. After December 25th, there are more gift cards floating around out there than at any other time during the year, and people like us are just itching to spend them. If you’re a business-minded studio owner, there are also some great incentives for doing a year-end studio evaluation and making a few purchases to improve your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might want to upgrade your studio during the final few days of the year…
You Were Planning On Getting Something You Didn’t
We’ve seriously all been there… You asked for Pokemon and instead got Digimon. You asked for Mario and instead got Wario. You asked for a Focusrite interface and got a Behringer.
Look – none of us are guaranteed anything for our studio in the form of gifts. If it’s important to your goals, you need to work to make it happen. So what if the microphone you got wasn’t the one you wanted? It’s still a new piece of gear to experiment with, and your goal hasn’t changed. Maybe the best approach for the holidays for a musician or studio pro is to plan to buy what they need after the holidays and hope someone comes in clutch with a gift. Anything you’ve been saving toward that next goal can immediately be rolled over into the following one.
Income Tax Benefits
Let me start here by saying we’re not legal experts, and we’re not here to give legal advice. If you want that, discuss your planned purchases with an actual lawyer or professional tax adviser.
For many businesses (not just audio ones), year-end equipment purchases are a great way of maximizing potential tax deductions and building out the equipment they need for the following year. By December, many studios, engineers & other music professionals have a pretty good idea of where they stand financially. If there’s some breathing room in the budget to add new equipment, it makes a lot of sense to get that on the books by December 31st rather than waiting until the new year where your financial situation might not be as concrete.
Just make sure you’re using the equipment to further your career goals – these benefits of year-end purchases work for professionals, not individuals making music as a hobby.
Best Deals Of The Year
Even if you’re not someone who’s buying gear as a professional, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of other year-end benefits like some of the best discounts and financing options available. The time between Christmas and New Years Day is ripe with retailer and developer sales that are as good as any of their sales leading up to the holidays might be.
Once the gift giving has passed and you don’t need to worry about what you’re getting for others, many of these deals are still there waiting for you. To get the most out of your discounts, focus on bundles that get you more of what you need and make sense for you. The best bundles can be had for as much as 70% off or more during the holiday season – you just need to keep an eye out for them.
Lusting for a piece of gear that never seems to go on sale? High-end studio equipment seems to be in this scenario pretty frequently, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a bit of slack there as well. Many retailers (especially online) will offer special financing on most any gear they sell, starting at 6 months and going up to 48 months for really big purchases.
Make sure you read the terms of any financing agreement so you’re not hit with a crazy interest bill, but definitely consider these offers if that big ticket item you’ve been after would be much easier to buy if you could spread the payments out over a few months and you’re confident you’ll be able to make the payments.
For some inspiration on the types of gear worth financing, check out this list with everything you need to record drums.
Putting That New Gear To Work
Of course, none of these new gear purchases are going to instantly make you a better music professional than you are. That takes practice and time to learn the ins and outs of each new toy. Sure – you might know how a compressor works, but do you know how your new compressor differs from your old one? Do you know when you’d choose one over the other?
If you’re looking to improve your tracking & mixing knowledge so you know what to look for and when with each new piece of gear, come check out the resources we offer in JST VIP. Every day, engineers and producers are learning new techniques and skills they’ll carry with them as they progress in their studio careers.