Anyone fancying themselves as the next X-Factor champion is being offered the chance to have a CD professionally recorded and mixed at a studio in Barnsley.
For £85 anyone who aspires to be the next Leona Lewis or Matt Cardle can spend two and a half hours in the studio and emerge with a personalised CD, complete with their photographs on the cover. The brothers hope vouchers for Studio Star will prove popular Christmas presents.
The idea is just one service offered by entrepreneurs Josh and Jake, who have just relaunched their business Pirate Music as Big Sky Records with help from business support programme Enterprising Barnsley.
They also offer pre-production advice, support while recording, publishing and distribution.
Josh, 24, who has a degree in professional musicianship, said: “A lot of bands might be very talented, but they might just need some support with the structure of a song. It can be a really subtle change that can make the difference between a hit and an instantly-forgettable song.
“And then when it comes to post production and actually making some money out of the recording we can also help. It all comes from our own experiences running the studio and being in the band.”
Josh is the guitar player and backing vocalist, and 20-year-old brother Jake is the drummer for Hitomi, which has been described by Kerrang! magazine as one of the top three unsigned bands. The band, which has been together for five years, has also had its music has featured on the TV programme “Hollyoaks”.
Eighteen months ago the pair started their recording business by converting the spare room at their parents’ house in Gawber.
“We have the most supportive parents ever,” said Jake, who is in the final year of a popular music degree at University Campus Barnsley, which is part of Huddersfield University.
“But then mum found this warehouse on Newton Street, which is now the studio; so maybe they did want us out of the house!”
The brothers were helped by their parents and friends to convert the premises into sound-proofed studios, complete with all the musical equipment needed.
They base their philosophy of working with other artists on the way they were treated when they went over to Philadelphia to record their CD “Unravel me”.
“When we were over there the guys at the studio helped us with everything and we thought that kind of work ethic could work in Barnsley,” said Josh.
“With a lot of studios you just come in and pay an hourly rate, but no-one really holds your hand through the process. Not everyone needs that, but it is invaluable if they do.”
The brothers are now getting a helping hand from Enterprising Barnsley, with business advice and new websites in the pipeline.
“It’s been really helpful having our own business coaches. They sat down with us and looked at where we are and where we want to be,” said Jake.
“It has given us a clear sense of direction. And the plan is to grow the business so that we don’t just help other bands, but also create jobs.”
Andy Arnold, a business development manager for Enterprising Barnsley, said: “The creative and digital industries is one of the sectors that experts say will grow faster than other areas of the economy.
“Already the CDI sector employs more than two million people across the UK and so it is vital that we support that sector here in Barnsley, whether it is recording studios, gaming, design or media.
“It is all about regenerating the area and bringing much-needed jobs. And it’s actually great that in the middle of that people can be creating something and having fun.”
Enterprising Barnsley is supported financially by the European Union. The project has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.