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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACan’t afford that long sought-after guitar? Want to try a brand or two before you buy? As Studio 19’s Andrew Chapman explains, maybe their no fuss rental program is for you.

There are reasons why some artists are able to cut through and have a successful music career while other equally talented artists fail. Good professional guidance, networking, hard work, determination and even pure luck are factors which come into play. Another consideration is your gear. It’s going to be a hard slog if your gear is constantly letting you down and you’re not presenting your music in the best possible light. Many of Australia’s biggest artists have told us that in their formative years, they invested as much money as they could back into the band by acquiring good quality gear. One of Australia’s most successful bands, Midnight Oil was one of those, as lead singer and now politician Peter Garrett told us many years ago.

“We certainly always felt that the best thing to do was to be able to have the best technology, whether it was old Gibson guitars or new Roland synthesisers … just to really get the best stuff … that was as good as we could afford,” he said.  “It was important because that sort of set the benchmark for the sounds that you are capable of making. It was the same in the recording studio. We wanted to use the best of the technology that was available, to then make creative decisions instead of NOT being able to make creative decisions because you were limited by NOT having the technology.”

Easier said than done right? New gear can be expensive and for many struggling musicians, it’s just not on their radar. However, I wonder how many musicians have thought outside the box and considered renting as opposed to taking on the burden of purchasing expensive new gear? Australian company Studio 19 Rentals puts forward a great case for considering it. They provide a completely transparent service whereby all of the costs involved are detailed, the minimum rental commitment period is just 6 months and they have made their conditions as muso-friendly and flexible as possible. Studio 19 work with a wide range of music retailers nationally too, so there’s bound to be a store near you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I think the most attractive feature for customers is that they are only committing to a six month minimum rental period,” explains Andrew Chapman, Studio 19’s National Manager. “So after six months, they can give the instrument back if circumstances change and walk away at no penalty or after six months they may wish to get the next model up. They give that back and re-rent the next model. For professional musicians it is like a lease and there are tax benefits.”

As testament to the success of Studio 19’s program, Andrew cites a band on the Gold Coast who have been renting their entire PA system for the last 8 years. “They never apply to buy the product, they just rent it,” he said. “They have about $40,000 worth of PA gear out with us. Every two years they give it back and get a whole new $40,000 system. They claim 100% of those payments back against the band’s business on tax. The shop involved is getting a $40,000 sale every two years as well, so it’s great for the industry all round.”

For the beginner, renting an instrument makes a lot of sense. While learning the trombone or trumpet you may find that puckering up and blowing into brass just isn’t your thing. After six months you can hand it back and try something completely different … the guitar, drums, violin, accordion, keyboard, the options are endless. For the professional music, the rental system allows you to try different brands. Maybe you’re not sure whether to opt for the latest Roland or Yamaha synth. Studio 19 allows you to give both a go for 6 months each and make your purchase decision a year down the track after you’ve given both products a decent road test. It’s not only the major brands that Studio 19 offer either, some of the stores involved offer many cool boutique brands too. “in fact, some of the real boutique specialist stores are some of our best clients,” explained Chapman.  “They stock a lot of top end gear and our rental product makes top end gear affordable for people at the end of the day.”

In coming up with Studio 19’s current rental model, Andrew Chapman took into consideration the feedback and advice of many experienced music retail and wholesale reps who have communicated with customers for decades. They found that there were  two major hurdles in the minds of customers toward the rental process. One of those is that people think they’ll be tied to a rental agreement forever. As mentioned earlier, the minimum rental period is only six months. Another concern is that people just assume that there has to be a catch. Andrew is happy to put potential customers at ease on that front too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“What we offer is very transparent so all the detail is there for them,” said Chapman. “We don’t hide anything. They know how much they can apply buy the product for at any interval during the rental period. The big thing for us is that we are focussing on the flexibility for the customer. A lot of people walk into finance options and assume there is a catch and there often is. We often get asked after our people have explained the program to the customer, what is the catch? There just isn’t one.”

Visit Studio 19’s website for more information


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