Pop Mark Media's Confessions of a Small Working Studio: Tree Sound Studios

Sep 25, 2012 12:34 PM, By Lisa Horan

Social Responsibility Yields Unexpected New Business Ventures, Number One Album

photo of Paul Diaz

Tree Sound Studios' founder and owner, Paul Diaz

Given the society in which we live, it’s no wonder why many of us become jaded. All too often, we see the dishonest get away with crimes, the innocent suffer unnecessarily, and good people overwhelmed by bad circumstances. Sometimes, though, a story comes along that brings us back to that old adage: You reap what you sow.

Atlanta’s Tree Sound Studios offers a refreshing example of that saying. At its heart is a guy who decided to follow his conscience and do something he felt would make a positive impact on the world, in spite of the sacrifices he’d have to make. In the end, his choice not only has served its intended purpose, but also generated positive effects he never saw coming.

Planting a Seed of Responsibility
When Paul Diaz opened Tree Sound Studios in 1992, it was simply a recording studio set up to serve the Atlanta music community. And it did that very well. The studio developed a stellar reputation in Atlanta’s music community and in the music industry at large, attracting major recording artists (Beyoncé, Fergie, Whitney Houston, Collective Soul) and playing a part in Platinum and Gold projects.

As time went on, however, and the studio was thriving, Diaz began feeling drawn toward using the studio’s position to go beyond recording. He wanted to promote a cause that was near and dear to his heart: green initiatives. “Honestly, I just felt like it was the right thing to do—not necessarily from a business standpoint, but, really, on a personal level,” he explains. “I figured that if we could get some of our world famous clients to recognize the value of green initiatives, they would potentially influence their own fan base, which represents millions of people, and we would then have been a part of spreading the message about the importance of going green to people on a global level.”

An interview with Dave Matthews only strengthened his resolve. “Dave Matthews gave a really powerful answer to this question that an interviewer asked him: ‘Now that you’re super famous, are there any causes you would support or champion?’ His answer was green initiatives and promoting the Seventh Generation Prophecy, which emphasizes that when you take something from the Earth, you have to consider if the seventh generation from yours will have that same thing, and if they won’t, you shouldn’t be taking it. In other words, its focus is preserving the environment for future generations.”

That premise became a focal point for Diaz, but not merely in hoping famous artists would inspire clients to go green; beyond that, he made his own commitment as a studio owner. His studio is carbon-neutral and powered by renewable energy sources, uses biodegradable cleaning products, and has an on-site organic herb, spice, and vegetable garden, and a water catchment system that collects and uses rain water for landscaping purposes.

photo of solar trailer

Tree Power and Sound's solar trailer operates on 1,500 watts of solar power, in addition to two smaller PODs.

Growing a New Business Model
Diaz’s commitment began extending into offshoots of the company. He launched several sub-companies under the Tree Sound umbrella that focus on green initiatives. Take Tree Power and Sound, for instance. The company offers live sound services through solar and wind power technology, including a solar trailer that operates on 1,500 watts of solar power, in addition to two smaller PODs. The equipment has powered three stages at once fully on solar and wind power.

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