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 Tree Sound Studios

Tree Sound Studios' control room

Interestingly, Tree Power was not created as a moneymaking venture. “We built a mini-solar powered rig and began offering solar powered recordings that we offered to several charitable causes,” explains Diaz. For instance, Tree Sound received a request to record a concert sponsored by Green Peace. Later, River Keepers Association made a similar request. The company was happy to provide its services, but, as time went on, it became financially impossible for Diaz to continue offering the services to organizations free of charge. As it turns out, he didn’t have to. Many organizations were willing to pay. Ever since, Tree Power has been experiencing significant growth. “We get a new gig just about every week,” reports Diaz. “It’s turned into a whole new business for us and, honestly, it’s helped to float the studio.”

Originally inspired by San Diego’s Alternative Power Productions, Tree Power has become the largest solar production company in the world. Since then, Alternative Power Productions’ CEO, Mark McLarry, has approached Diaz to potentially partner on the development of more robust solar powered systems.

In addition, two songs that were recorded in the studio at Tree Sound run on solar power are on Rapper 2 Chainz’s newest album, which just happened to debut at Number One on the Billboard charts.

Speaking of rock stars: The company’s organic micro farm, called Rock Star Farms, is another arm of Tree Sound. Run by Diaz’s wife, Sunshine Sweetwater Diaz, the farm grows a variety of produce through organic and biodynamic practices.

Another offshoot of the company is Tree Leaf Music, a record label whose mission is to educate its clients on the importance of sustainable living and the impact of conscious consumerism through music. The label records with renewable energy and offers green ticket options, including Earth-friendly merchandise and recycled packaging that uses soy-based inks and cellulose shrink-wrap. In business since 2005, the label recently landed a placement on a videogame. Much the same, the film company division of Tree Sound, Three Little Digs Films, is also coming into its own. Three videos produced by the film company were recently selected to air on MTV.

The company’s blog, which is attached to Three Little Digs Films, has also served as another surprising source of revenue, though it was originally designed merely as a tool for sharing information. “We have actually had clients who have booked a month of studio time in the hopes of getting mentioned on our blog,” says Diaz. “It has been that popular. This just goes to show you the power of social media.”

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