You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nashville’s Ocean Way Recording Studio Adjusts to Changing Times

Everybody knows digital technology and the Internet helped drill a big hole in the music recording business. Nashville, like other recording centers, felt the pinch.

For some of Nashville’s studios, a partial solution has been music scoring for movies and video games. Pat McMakin, director of operations at Ocean Way Nashville studio, recently talked about what scoring means to his business and how it all happened. “By 2008, all of us studios that were dependent on records for our business saw the recording budgets getting lower and lower,” he says. “When the general economy tanked in 2008, we were in a crisis position.”

At the time, it dawned on McMakin that he needed to rely on his ace in the hole. “I just knew that we had a room that was considered to be one of the best orchestra rooms if not the best orchestra room in Nashville and in this region.”

But first he needed to counter perceptions from media companies in L.A. “Our first visit out there, we found an attitude that in Nashville an orchestra was maybe 50 banjo players. They’re very much in the same position we have been in, in that they work in their world, in their market, in their town, and are so busy doing that, they’re not aware of what’s going on elsewhere.

“So in Nashville, here we had this terrific group of recording orchestral musicians, many of them recruited from around the country to fill an internal demand, and nobody in the world knew about them,” McMakin adds. “Our big break came when Sony PlayStation discovered Nashville. It was one of those things where we had done a full orchestral session with 82 pieces, and one of the people on that session was from L.A., Clint Bajakian, who was then one of the top folks at Sony PlayStation’s music department. I think Clint was a little incredulous that Nashville was even a place to consider. Everybody knows Nashville is a music town, but not many think of us as a broadly music town.”

Bajakian persuaded his colleagues at Sony to give Nashville a try. Over two years Sony recorded a number of PlayStation projects in Nashville. Word spread that game companies could get great music out of Nashville without having to deal with the established rules of the L.A. musicians union, which included expensive back-end payments to musicians.

Companies also came to realize that though they could do their music cheaper overseas in Prague, it was easier and faster to get the job done in Nashville. Soon independent film production companies that were dealing with diminishing music budgets began looking to Nashville. “More and more of these independents are deciding that they are going to do their music non-union,” McMakin says.

Composers who have brought their work to Nashville include Trevor Morris, John Debney, Bruce Broughton, Greg Edmonson and Austin Wintory. Morris scored the popular game, “Dragon Age” and Debney scored the series, “Texas Rising” at Ocean Way.

Now, says McMakin, Ocean Way’s business is “probably 80% games, 20% film and TV.”

More Music

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    R. Kelly's Former Manager Turns Himself in on Threat Charge

    R. Kelly’s former manager has turned himself into Georgia authorities on a charge of threatening a man who alleges that Kelly has indoctrinated his daughter into a sex cult. Henry James Mason, 52, is accused of threatening to harm Timothy Savage, who was prominently featured in the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.” Savage alleges that [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Dropped by Sony Music

    Sony Music has decided to dissolve its working relationship with R. Kelly, Variety has learned. No external announcement of the move is planned in the immediate future, says a source, who added that Kelly’s presence on the RCA website (where he remains listed) will not indicate his departure from the company, as his back catalog [...]

  • Ikea Sonos

    Ikea Plans to Launch Its Sonos Speakers in August

    Furniture giant Ikea is getting ready to roll out its Sonos-powered smart speakers later this year: The company revealed in a video Friday that it will launch its Symfonisk line of smart speakers in August. Ikea and Sonos first announced their collaboration in late 2017. Under the plan, Ikea will build internet-connected speakers that are [...]

  • RENT: Top L-R to Bottom L-R:

    How Fox's Live Version of 'Rent' Honors and 'Enhances' Jonathan Larson's Vision

    In the more than 20 years since Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” first debuted on Broadway, the conversation of adaptation has often come up: Film director Chris Columbus infamously brought the story to the big screen in 2005, Michael John Warren similarly shot one of the final performances of the original theater run in 2008, and talk [...]

  • Foo Fighters Preview Pre-Super Bowl Concert

    Watch Foo Fighters Preview Pre-Super Bowl Concert With Comic Football Video

    Super Bowl week is turning into an extended music festival, with the days before the big game in Atlanta including concerts by Bruno Mars and Cardi B; Migos, Lil Yachty and Ludacris; Future; and the Foo Fighters, whose “DirecTV Super Saturday Night” on Feb. 2 at Atlantic Station with Run The Jewels is sold out [...]

  • Cardi B

    Cardi B’s Anti-Government Shutdown Rant Is Now a Pretty Hot Song …

    Cardi B’s Instagram messages usually have a solid cadence to them, and meme savants the Gregory Brothers have turned their songifying skills to her passionate rant against President Trump and the GOP over the government shutdown. Titled “Yeah B—h / Nah B—h,” the short clips mashes up several of Cardi’s lines with the beat from [...]

  • Album Review: Sharon Van Etten’s ‘Remind

    Album Review: Sharon Van Etten’s ‘Remind Me Tomorrow’

    As she’s said in recent interviews, many life changes went into veteran indie singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten’s fifth and latest — and dramatically different — album, “Remind Me Tomorrow.” She summarizes it thus in the album’s bio: “I wrote this record while going to school, pregnant, after taking ‘The OA’ audition,” she says, referring to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content