top of page
*New for Summer 2023*
Bally Studios Daytime Super Saver Sessions
Regular sessions, up to 50% cheaper, with free storage.
A new way of booking rehearsal sessions, with the benefits of both a standard rehearsal session, and a split lock-out.
Here’s how it works.
- Bands can book much, MUCH cheaper rehearsal sessions, from £28 for 4 hours, inclusive of all fees, a reduction of nearly 50% on the usual price.
- Free storage for your instruments (only for guitars, keyboards, snare and cymbals, effects units and cable bags. Storage of amplifiers is NOT included.)
While keeping the benefits of booking booking individual sessions, including:
- The same quality of service as they’d expect for their usual session, with everything set up for you.
- Clean rooms, with well maintained equipment provided free of charge.
- Staff members on hand throughout your rehearsals.
- Free teas and coffees included, as always, and help provided by the studio staff, should you run into problems.
- No hassle of needing to arrange their time slots with other bands, Bally Studios does this for you.
- No long term commitments.
Sounds too good to be true, what’s the catch?
If you've ever booked a cheap flight, you’ll know that you need to jump through various hoops to get them. This can include turning up to the airport extra early in the morning, or getting a flight from/to the airport on the outskirts of the city, rather than the one in the city centre. The airline buys up the cheaper (less popular) time-slots at the cheaper (less popular) airports, without the same options of changing the date/time of the flight, early check in, with no option for free checked luggage that the more expensive airlines allow as standard, and in return you get a much cheaper flight.
It's a bit of an extra hassle, sure, but the popularity of these flights prove that the general public are happy to put up with these extra inconveniences to secure a much better price. The same applies for these sessions. We're only offering up the sessions that are traditionally harder for us to book out, and we're packaging them up as a bulk booking of x12 sessions over 12 weeks, and by us packaging x12 sessions, and by us offering the slots that are harder for us to fill, we're able to offer these big discounts.
Here’s the hoops that bands need to jump through to get these cheaper sessions. It's not for everyone, but it may be for you.
- Bands need to book sessions by the dozen, x12 sessions need to be booked at a time, and sessions need to be paid up front.
- The price is £336 for x12, 4-hour rehearsals, including all fees. That's £28 a session, or £7 per hour.
- For a 4 piece band, each member would throw in £84 to pay for their next 12 weeks worth of rehearsals. That's £7 per member, per rehearsal.
- There are NO EXTRA FEES on top of this, not even for the backline/equipment hire. Everything is included.
- Apart from a few select instances, (explained later) slots need to booked in the same slot, every week, and cannot be moved or cancelled. (If Bally Studios needs to cancel them due to unforeseen circumstances then, of course, a full refund on the missed sessions will be offered.)
- To confirm, these slots are non refundable.
- When a band enquires for a slot, it is pencilled in but is not confirmed until a second band also books another studio on the same slot. If you want to do the Wednesday early slot, we need to wait until we can find another band who also wants to do the Wednesday early slot as well before both sessions are booked. Bally Studios will do this for you. (If you know a band that also wants that slot, by all means, let us know!)
- There is much less flexibility on these time-slots. Instead of you picking the timeslot that suits you best, instead there are x2 time slots per day, x5 days a week, across x3 studios for a total of 30 slots per week. It's less convenient, but it allows us to cram more sessions in, which means that we can offer them for much cheaper.
Here's the timeslots we have each week.
What are the factors that allows Bally to offer such discounts?
- In most cases all of the income that we make from the first booking goes to paying our staff their wages, and we can't go under this price, otherwise we'd be losing money on bookings. By only confirming the bookings when two bands make a booking request, we can split those staff costs between x2 bands, both ensuring that our staff costs are always met, and that we don’t make a loss on any of these sessions.
- More than 14% of all sessions booked are later cancelled, and that cost is usually factored into the profit margin of the rehearsal prices that we usually charge. As these sessions cannot be cancelled, we don’t need to factor that extra margin into the price that we offer these sessions for.
- When bands choose the exact time slot that best suits their schedule, in many cases it can cost us the opportunity of booking other bands in. For example, we’re opened from 10am – 11pm from Sunday to Friday, leaving us a 13 hour window to book bands in. If a band books 12pm – 4pm and another wants to book 6pm – 10pm, that it’s pretty much impossible for us to book any more bands in around them, unless we find a band that wants to do a 2-hour session from 10am – 12pm, or 4pm – 6pm, which is very rare, since a big part of that session will be spent setting up and packing their equipment away.
If, however, the sessions were planned like so:
Slot 1: 10:30am – 2:30pm.
Slot 2: 2:45pm – 6:45pm
Slot 3: 7:00pm - 11:00pm
we’ve now got 12 hours of bookings out of the same day, instead of 8 hours of bookings, with a bit of time between sessions for changeovers. That’s a 50% increase in bookings, per studio, per day, which could get us an extra 30-35 sessions per week, across the 5 studios. The 15 minute gap between sessions also makes the changeovers less stressful for us.
- Our income is more regular and predictable, and our staff get more regular staff shifts, allowing the studio and our staff to plan our schedules, and the work that we need to complete, more in advance.
- By only offering this in the timeslots that are traditionally more difficult to fill (in the 10am – 6:30pm slots, Monday to Friday), we still get to keep the more lucrative evening and weekend slots available for the full price sessions.
The vast majority of band rehearsals that are booked at Bally Studios, (and other rehearsal studios) are booked by bands as and when they need them. If they’re preparing for a recording or an important gig they’ll book more rehearsals, and if there’s less confirmed band activity in the diary then they’ll book less. The studio staff will have been prepared the studio to be ready for them when the band turns up, and the costs that rehearsal studios incur to make this all happen (such as staff wages and cleaning costs) are factored into the rehearsal price.
Some bands, however, rehearse so much that they have started to rent studios as “band-shares,” or “split lock-outs”. Between 2-10 bands will get together, rent the soundproofed studio on a 24/7 basis, (usually for a year or more,) and then split the cost of renting the studio between them all. Instead of calling up the rehearsal studio to book their sessions, the bands divide the use of the studio between themselves. The greater the share of the monthly rent that each band covers, the more they get to use it.
Traditionally, the bands in split lock-outs will only get access to the studio, but won’t get any of the other auxiliary services that are usually provided by the rehearsal studio staff. Instead of the rehearsal studio supplying the drums, amplifiers and PA system, the bands will need to provide their own. The bands will need to clean the studios themselves, fix any equipment that breaks, and they’ll need to make sure that the bands that rehearse just before them vacate the room on time. There’s also no access to the usual teas and coffees that studios like Bally Studios offer to the bands that come to them.
For the bands, usually the extra effort is worth it. They get to rehearse at a rate much cheaper than they could ever book by the hour, so any drawbacks are taken on the chin as an acceptable compromise, a necessary hurdle to jump for them to be able to rehearse so much at such a reduced cost. They also get to permanently leave their equipment in the studio, along with the equipment of the other bands, making it possible for them to arrive by public transport/bicycle. A combination of spending more time in the studio and having everything already in place when you walk in the door means that pretty soon it starts to feel like a second home to them, their little sanctuary away from the world. Considering more and more people are flat sharing in cramped London accommodation, that should never be underplayed.
There’s benefits for the rehearsal studio too. They get a rehearsal studio taken off of their hands which means one less studio to book sessions in for, to clean, to set up the equipment for each and every session, and less costs in repairs as well, including changing drum heads and repairing amplifiers. By far and away the biggest cost saved though is on staff wages,with staff members not being present while sessions take place. The predictable income of a split lock out makes running a rehearsal studio a lot more stable, allowing the studio staff to focus on other tasks that need completing, instead of tending to the bands.
In short, split lock-outs have many benefits, but they’re not perfect. Over time, there are some downsides that start to reveal themselves, for both parties.
Firstly, the need for bands to take on the tasks that the rehearsal studio staff usually have to do is not to be underestimated. They have to make sure the other bands clean up after their sessions, including vacuuming and emptying bins, and that any broken equipment is fixed quickly for the other bands to use. If the bands run into any issues in their sessions, such as an earth hum on any equipment or a PA system that is feedbacking much more than usual, they’ll need to fix such issues themselves, some of which will take time and expertise to overcome. If 5 bands are quick to report equipment issues, but the 6th band blows a speaker, doesn't inform everyone else, and refuses to pay for a repair themselves, pretty quick the in-fighting can start.
For a band-share, the bands need to clean the studios and fix the equipment. With Bally's Super Saver sessions, we handle all of that.
The benefits to leaving your equipment at the studios are also offset by the risk that this entails. It’s rare that there will be enough space for each band to get their own storage cupboard, so usually the equipment is left in the studio itself, or in a communal cupboard that each band gets access to. If there’s 6 bands sharing the studio, and 5 of them are honest as the day is long...... then that 6th band could present you with a problem. It’s not uncommon for 5 bands to pay their share of the rent on time, but then the 6th is continually missing their payment deadlines. Worse, sometimes a band will just walk away from their rental agreement, meaning the other 5 bands now need to cover the whole rent, instead of 5/6th of it. Even if they’ve signed a rental contract, it’s now up to the other 5 bands to take civil action against them. The benefits of band-shares rely on getting as many bands involved as possible, but paradoxical the more bands that get involved, the more chance there is of bands dropping out. Remember, for a band share to work out you need ALL of the bands who are part of it to pull their weight, and that is easier said than done.
For a band-share, one unreliable band can cause big knock on effects for the others. With Bally's Super Saver sessions, the up front payment system means that if a band drops out of the rental, it never affects the other bands.
If you suddenly need to change the amount of rehearsals that you need in any given period, you'll need the approval of the other bands to do it, which could be tricky. It’s very common for bands to need more rehearsals in the run up to the summer festival season, and less in the run up to Christmas, (as more bars/venues are turned over to Christmas parties, less gigs usually happen at this time of year, particularly with many people saving their money for Christmas.) As the same factors will affect most bands, this means that at the same time that you need extra sessions, so too will the other bands you’re sharing with. At the same time that you’re looking for other bands to take your excess sessions, they’re hoping that you’ll do the same for theirs. If a band member has events outside of the band that they need to focus on (marriage, birth, death, etc) or a work deadline, then the room will still need to be paid for whether you use it or not, and as a result many bands feel compelled to use it, whether they need to or not. Soon bands can start to rehearse for the sake of rehearsing, as opposed to rehearsing as they have these amazing songs that they want to work on. The commitments you’ll need to make when taking on a band share can take time to reveal themselves.
Band-shares can be inflexible. With Bally's Super Saver sessions, you can change your schedule as and when you need to
There are downsides for rehearsal studios too for booking in split lock-outs. Renting out a rehearsal studio for £1,000 a month sounds great, but when you’re turning down 35-40 sessions in some months, that usually bring in £50 each, there are times that you question the economics of the long term booking, especially when you’re making less extra sales from these bands in the studio shop. The reduced staff costs sound great at first, but when staff members suddenly don’t have enough hours to support themselves and need to look elsewhere for those extra wages, it’s easy for them to start to become detached from the studios, both emotionally and physically.
Bands are stuck between wanting to get the cheaper rates of a band-share which allows them to rehearse more, but they also want the option to be able to rehearse less when they need to. They want to walk into a room that is clean, with working equipment, but they also want that homely feeling of walking into the studios and seeing their gear there waiting for them. They want the cheaper session prices, but they also want the benefits of the studio staff doing all of the time consuming and boring jobs for them.
Likewise, rehearsal studios want regular sessions in the diary, with predictable income that they bring, but they also want to keep some of the more lucrative sessions that provide them with more income. They want sessions booked in that provide their staff with the shifts that they need to support themselves, that allow them to have daily contact with the studios. They want to make sure that equipment isn’t being damaged, and the social benefits of having day-to-day contact with the band, but they also want to minimise the times that the studios are left empty.
Q - Why do we need to pay for the sessions in advance?
A – We make much less profit on these sessions compared to the usual sessions. By getting the money up front we don’t need to chase bands for payments. We have x3 rehearsal studios per slot available, and x2 slots per day, meaning we have x30 studio sessions available per week. By getting the full money up front we need only chase x30 block payments every 12 weeks, as opposed to x360 individual payments. We’re discounting the sessions as it’ll be less work to chase these payments (and believe me, that’s a full time job in itself,) and so that we’ll have a more predictable income from getting paid up front, and that’s the benefits of the up-front payment.
Q – Why do we need to book so many of them at once?
A – The sessions are much cheaper as they’re booked in bulk, and so the bulk discount is already factored in to the price. This option is only designed for bands who are likely to rehearse at least x12 times in 12 weeks, and that do slots that are regular enough that we can sync them with other bands. If you’re not likely to rehearse that much, or if you want to have much more flexibility for your sessions, then we’d recommend the standard rehearsals at the standard rehearsal price. In short, if you want the bulk discount, you have to book them in bulk.
Q – Why do we need x2 bands to be booked in at once, at the same time?
A – The sessions are £28 for 4 hours, so you’ll pay £7 per hour. If we only have x1 band in at once, once we pay our staff member we’d be losing at least £5-£6 per hour once we factor in their wages. If we have x2 bands booked in paying £7 per hour, we’d be making a very slim profit of £1-£2 per hour after staff costs, so the only way that these sessions make sense for us, economically, is to have at least x2 of them happening at once.
Q – So the sessions need to be at the same time, every week?
Not necessarily. We're only asking bands to book sessions in a regular booking as it will help us increase the chances of getting two bands rehearsing at the same time, which is necessary to make these sessions viable. We can only offer cheaper prices by increasing the volume of the sessions, so getting two bands at the same time is the only way that these sessions can allow us to cover our costs.
The more regular the sessions are, the greater than likelihood there is of us finding more bands who also want to do those regular sessions since most bands rehearse on a regular basis. However, if you know of a second band who also wants to book sessions in the same time slots as you, - (if you're a record label that needs rehearsals for 2 or more bands, or if you are a band that knows another band that is happy to rehearse at the same time as you) - then by all means you can mix up the schedule as much as you want. So long as you can do a minimum of 12 sessions over 12 weeks, they can be as sporadic as you want, using whichever time slots that are available, but only if both bands rehearse in all of these sessions. The sessions don't need to be regular, but they do need to be synchronised so that they all happen at the same time.
Q – So the sessions have to be booked in 12’s?
A – No, they need to be booked in a MINIMUM of 12 bookings. If you want to book x15 of them, then you’ll get them at the same rate of £28 per session, x15 = £420 for the 15 sessions. Book as many as you want, so long as it's at least 12 of them, and so long as we can get another band to also book in the same sessions.
Q – Can I change the times of the sessions to one that is more convenient for our band?
A – Unfortunately not, for the same reason that the cheap Ryanair flights usually leave very early, or very late in the day. The only reason they’re so cheap is because by using these time slots, we can book other bands around your sessions. By scheduling them like this, we can book more sessions, and so we can sell those sessions for cheaper.
Q – Can we split these sessions between bands?
A – Sure! So long as the sessions are paid for, the band that uses them doesn't make much difference to us. However, included in each booking is the instrument storage of one band, so if the bookings are split between multiple bands then either the other bands will need to bring their own instruments, or they’ll need to pay extra to store their equipment.
Q – We’re a record label, how would this work for us?
Record labels can book a slot, (for example, the late shift on a Friday) and then send different bands to us each time. So long as there’s at least x2 bands booked at the same time for all of the slots, and so long as the money is paid in advance for both slots, then you can do with them as you see fit.
Q – Will this all affect the quality of the rehearsal session that we’ll have?
A – Absolutely not! Whilst you’ll have to adjust the time of your session, and there’ll be less flexibility when it comes to cancelling your session, once you step in the door for your sessions you’ll get EXACTLY the same standard of session as a band paying the full rate. The rooms, the equipment, the cleanliness of the studios, and the service you get will be EXACTLY the same as you’d expect in a standard rehearsal.
Q – How do we go about booking them?
A – Contact us as you would when you book any session to let us know what slots you’d like, we'll pencil you in, and then we’ll keep looking around for another band who is happy to take a slot at the same time as you. Once we find them, then we’ll contact both bands to say to take the payment. Once both bands book, the sessions are confirmed. We need to book both bands in at the same time to make it work. if only one band books and then the other drops out, then we refund the original booking.
Q – Why don’t you allow cancellations?
A- Firstly, it’s a hassle to have to chase up cancellations payments, and it’s not worth booking these sessions in for less profit with the same hassle for us. We also need x2 bands booked in at any one time to make the sessions economically viable for us. If Band A and Band B books the same slot, (on the Thursday late slot, for example) and they both pay up front, if Band A then pulls out of their block booking and gets a refund, now we only have one band booked in for that slot, which means we’re losing money on those sessions. We need x2 bands to be in each slot for it to work for us, so by removing the cancellation option then Band B’s sessions will not be affected by Band A cancelling their session, since we’re still getting paid for both sessions, even if one of those sessions is not being used. So long as it’s being paid for, the sessions remain viable, and these sessions can’t work for us if we don’t have the predicate income to make them work, and this is what removing the cancellation option allows us to do.
Interested? Contact us in the usual ways.
We all know what a rehearsal session is, but what’s a split lock out?
The downsides of split lock-outs.
bottom of page