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Want to record in a world-class studio for free? Fender’s new Player Plus initiative could pay for your band’s sessions

EastWest Studios
EastWest Studios in LA (Image credit: EastWest Studios)

Fender has revealed details of its Player Plus Studio Sessions scheme, which it says will provide 260 hours of studio time in “world-class studios” for rising independent artists.

The brand is running the competition to promote the launch of its new Player Plus Series. Fender says it will fund 10 hours at a facility for each of the selected artists and describes the move as a “goodwill gesture aimed at getting artists out of the house and back in the rooms where the magic happens.”

There are some big-name studios taking part in the initiative,  including LA’s EastWest (which has played host to everyone from The Rolling Stones, to John Mayer, Muse and Ed Sheeran), and RAK Studios in London (which has been used by Adele, Nile Rodgers, The Smiths and Royal Blood, among many others). 

RAK Studios

The Studio 3 live room at RAK in London (Image credit: Fever / RAK Studios)

Then there’s Flux Studios in New York, Nashville’s Welcome To 1979, Freedom Studio Infinity in Tokyo, Sing Sing in Melbourne, Studios 301 in Sydney and Pieza Estudios in Mexico City... All in all, the scheme takes in 13 studios across the US, UK, Ireland, Mexico, Australia and Japan.

In order to participate, artists and bands must submit a recent track alongside a live performance video for review by a panel of judges, which includes the likes of Nile Rodgers, Warpaint guitarist Emily Kokal, Wolf Alice guitarist/vocalist Ellie Rowsell and Fender CEO Andy Mooney.

“Submissions will be judged on set criteria,” says Fender. “Including songwriting, performance quality, creativity, technical ability and originality.”

Warpaint guitarist Emily Kokal

Warpaint guitarist Emily Kokal, one of the US panelists (Image credit: Fender)

Importantly, the organisers note that artists involved must be fully independent, submit only original music and be able to travel to the nearest selected location, as no travel costs will be covered. All participants must be 18 or over.

Alongside the 10 hours studio time, selected artists will also get an hour’s consultation with Ari Herstand (who recently authored the brand’s recent handy pamphlet, The 2021 Fender Artist Playbook) and a Fender Player Plus Series bass or guitar for use in the studio.

The deadline for initial entries is 11:59:59 U.S. PM PT on October 20, 2021 and winners will be announced on November 10, 2021.

You can read the full rules of entry here and head to the Player Plus Studio site to enter.

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.