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Modular system cases for Rent - interest to the community?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Modular system cases for Rent - interest to the community?
aze_007
Rental model

I have a question to the community and I have been thinking about it for a long time before deciding to bringing it here for discussions.
I have been spending money on modular since 2009. Lots of money. Probably well more than 100k Euro but I never cared to keep track. Besides all the modular stuff I own some standalone synths and non modular studio equipment. I am no musician so maybe that is why I can afford the hardware, (sorry, was intended to be a joke). I guess I have a decent job and can afford to spend disposable income on my hobby.

And that is what it mainly is, a hobby. I do not gig, I do not record a lot of things. I see it in a broader sense as a therapy thing. Sometimes I have lots of time and get creative and sometimes I do not even enter my studio for many weeks. I learned to play the flute when I was younger, so I know a little about playing music, I did some programming of sounds while I was an engineering student but I cannot play keyboards. I love creating sounds and I do admit I just generally love playing around with all the gear.

Here comes the thing. This gear is not made for playing around with. It should produce music. I guess there are many wigglers out there who would love to use the stuff I have. And they could do exactly what I cannot but out of reasons I do not want to even attempt to judge might be less willing or able to spend all the cash I have spent. I have therefore decided to consider renting out gear. That would include cases, single modules and also non modular stuff.

I have seen that Schneidersladen (the Berlin store for those non European wigglers that might not know the place) is also now offering a makenoise shared system and another customized case for rent. Obviously there are some commercial and technical constraints to look into. For example how can those cases be safely shipped or may they only be picked up (as with Schneiders). Will they be toured and gigged or do they stay in smoke free personal studio environments. If something breaks what happens. If something more breaks what happens then. And so on. But I am willing to look into solutions for all those questions.

My point is, I do not make money with my gear, it is my hobby. But maybe someone else more creative and more musician than myself would be able to make some money with the gear and make better use of it. I do not want this to be a business where I make huge profits on the rent, I see it more as a contribution to the community, but obviously I do not want to make it a loss either. The minimum would be to cover my expenses and a presumed insurance policy for things that go wrong.

I am putting this into the Eurorack sub forum because that is my main gear. But obviously other things could be offered too (how about an Oberheim Matrix 1000 with the latest firmware upgrade or a Novation Drum Station Mk2). Or 6 different Volcas or 6 different MoogerFoogers.

I have not yet done the financial maths which would be needed to even consider seriously starting this. I am not sure that the community in Southern Germany/Europe is even large enough to be interested (oversees might get tricky due to shipping and customs). I am just throwing this out at the community to get some feedback if this is a pure crazy idea or could lead me to to start doing some number crunching.

Throw your thoughts at me. I can take it.
Thanks for any constructive feedback.

Alex
Baddcr
Gut reaction is that this would be more trouble than it's worth.

I've had similar thoughts after hearing about the Lawrence public library modular synth:

http://www.lawrencepubliclibraryfoundation.org/synthesizer-details.htm l

I would much rather see a lot more things like this being set up, perhaps with a pay to use model, it would eliminate a lot of the issues you raise and also bring folk together.

Obviously numbers of folk interested within a geographical locale would limit the appropriateness of this in some areas more than others.

Whatever you decide - good luck!
racooniac
living in austria just starting out in modular i would also like it more to just drive to munich or something and pay a little to use your modular system somewhere for a few hours where its set up than to "commit" to something big like renting an expensive system where i am fucked when a roommate throws a beer into it. =)
adam
gear rental is very common in the media industries, it's possible that renting to companies would be less hassle than private persons, i know someone who's company rents a lot of video equipment to people, he says it's very stressful.

If you can set up part of your house as a studio or rent a small unit maybe thats easier.
mskala
Music gear rental is, as adam said, super common. But I sure wouldn't want to do it as a business, let alone as a hobby. Rental gear gets treated roughly to say the least. We can debate whether that's the fault of the people who rent it, or just the nature of the business, but it's a fact that it happens. Pro gear that rental places usually offer, is built to withstand rough handling in a way Eurorack synth gear often isn't, and even so it spends much of its time at least halfway broken. Paying for the repairs, testing, and insurance to keep it in rentable order involves enough money that you'll be forced to operate as a business; it's not a thing most people would want to do as a hobby, notwithstanding the tales of kindly old-time music-shop owners who would let struggling bands borrow equipment on extremely generous payment terms.

Maybe it'd be neat to loan the gear to a library, something like veets was talking about. It wouldn't have to be a permanent donation, you could just arrange a loan for a while (and that might be better for the library too, less commitment on their side). Then your gear stays in a more controlled environment but gets to be used by people who otherwise wouldn't have a chance.
DruidTek
Why don't you set up a space for all of your equipment and sell time slots for people to use it in a supervised setting? Something like MESS in Melbourne?

You might even learn a thing or two about writing music yourself! Or, certainly gain some inspiration!

Kudos for wanting to help others, we need more people like you in the world! thumbs up
Superfuzzyfrog
I have rented my personal gear many times over the years, and I also worked for a rental house. Rental equipment gets used and abused. It's gets treated as nothing more than a tool with little to no respect. If you can imagine a worse case scenario for your equipment it will most likely happen at some point. You will hear things like. Hey dude, this thing quit working! We played that foam party down on the beach during that heavy rain last night and it shut down at 4am. I want a refund!!! evil

I no longer rent my personal equipment. If you decide to move forward with this I highly recommend you find a good insurance company to work with.
MarcelP
aze_007 wrote:


I love creating sounds and I do admit I just generally love playing around with all the gear.

Here comes the thing. This gear is not made for playing around with. It should produce music. I guess there are many wigglers out there who would love to use the stuff I have.
Alex


Hi Alex,

I applaud your desire to get your equipment into the hands of capable musicians who may not have the opportunity to afford the instruments they desire to achieve their musical ambitions.

The thought of packing and shipping your instruments out into the world fills me with horror though - for reasons others have outlined above.

A more controlled proposition might be to hire out your entire system/studio in the way a "normal" studio might be hired out. I suspect you are a more capable technician/engineer/musician than you are thinking - personal experience and insight into your system uniquely qualifies you there - and that your services as in-house engineer/operator/producer would be as valuable as the instrumentation itself.

I appreciate that you would need suitable premises (your basement/attic/dining room might not be ideal) and that would increase overheads. But you would also personally benefit from having a dedicated space for music making - which might be more productive for you. That may also be more commitment (in hours) than you are prepared to give - but the hideous logistics of : configuring, testing, packing, shipping, receiving back, unpacking, testing, repairing, etc, that would be involved in hiring out systems take a lot of your time and be a series of activities with little appeal for you - you surely didn't build a massive Eurorack system to then have to repeatedly fault-find your mistreated modules, or spend your afternoons watching for the DHL man come up your drive... Offering your entire system, knowledge and skills to an eager youngster who wants to collaborate on making music with you seems much more appealing and ultimately rewarding.
spacessound
DruidTek wrote:
Why don't you set up a space for all of your equipment and sell time slots for people to use it in a supervised setting? Something like MESS in Melbourne?

You might even learn a thing or two about writing music yourself! Or, certainly gain some inspiration!

Kudos for wanting to help others, we need more people like you in the world! thumbs up


I think this is a more feasible model but it's a lot of work and probably needs a partner (a music institution?). It would be more or les feasible depending on what city you're in - Ulm? A hearty Uni town but maybe not the population base? But maybe between munich and Stuttgart would be ideal
aze_007
Thank you all contributors to the topic.

I do appreciate all comments and suggestions. It is not quite unexpected what has been said so far. Especially the problems with all the gear not taken care of by potential customers. It seems a mankind issue - only owned stuff is treated well.

As @Adam pointed out it would make sense to only rent out to companies rather than private persons as organizations are set up to honor their contracts and are insured if employees do not. Actually Schneiders in Berlin is renting ou their systems only to companies, probably out of the same reason.

The suggestion to lend it to an institution is also an interesting thought. As @spacessound points out I am situated in a smaller German city halfway between the larger metropolitan areas of Stuttgart and Munich. I am not sure I would find a university or library or similar here but maybe in the bigger places.

Lastly the idea of creating a sort of studio which is open for testing things out and maybe even making some music in situ is in fact also possible. I have a house large enough and actually the studio is already taking up two rooms in my basement. The thing here is my available time. I have a day job and one which consumes most of my energy during the week. I am not sure I am willing to let people use the stuff in my absence. Wouldn't that be the same as lending it out?

First thing I will explore now is the insurance. In any case this would be necessary and might be an expensive problem on its own.

@racooniac: I am actually also Austrian and I have the feeling the wigglers out there in the east are quite far away from the more intense activities here in Germany. If you are interested in trying stuff out you are very welcome to my home. Where are you situated, I visit Graz quite often and could bring some stuff for trying out.

Thanks again and please contribute more, I love the community and their open mindedness.

Alex
Dcramer
Rent to own.
If your goal is to make money, then offer a service where you rent modular systems by the month to those who can't afford to purchase outright.
But don't expect the gear to be returned, instead make it attractive to them to buy it out at some point. You can take a depreciation on the inventory value against your taxes (here anyways) and have a inventory of used gear to sell. thumbs up
grndggnl
Servus!

Concerning insurance: I have my instruments insured via Harmonia:
http://www.harmonia.eu/

I don't have any experience with an insurance case - but I never heard or read someone complaining. And they are quite affordable and uncomplicated. I think they are also in Bavaria.

And a business idea:
Imagine "gear holiday". A hotel room full of synths with room service. Man! I would come every year for at least one week! It's peanut butter jelly time!

Cheers!
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