Launching this month, November, is a new venture from two faces that will be familiar to many in the post-production equipment world, Tim Hurrell and Ben Nemes. Following their departure from Avid earlier this year in yet another round of job cuts at the company, Hurrell (then EMEA sales director, audio) and (pro audio sales northern EMEA) have created resurface.audio, an online platform for the trading of digital consoles in the recording and post segments.
“There are buyers and there are sellers out there, but they are not very joined up,” says Hurrell.
“Say there are two guys in London, who want to get rid of their (Avid) ICON and put an S6 in… and maybe there’s a guy in Germany who wants an ICON because he doesn’t want an S6 right now… how do you connect those guys?”
“Plus, with these consoles and control surfaces, no one knows what anything is worth.” Though he’s reluctant to use the analogy, Hurrell points out there’s no console equivalent to Parker’s Car Price Guide. “This is one of the most common themes we saw as sales people at Avid. Analogue stuff has moved into this buying and selling world. Digital hasn’t.”
Nemes (pictured left with Hurrell) suggests some studio owners find themselves asking the question, is a particular console worth more to me on the open market than it is sitting in an under-used editing suite? These are the sort of dilemmas that resurface aims to provide answers to.
The pair insist that the site is a classifieds forum first and foremost; though, they will act as a broker if the need arises.
Nemes: “If you had, say, an [AMS Neve] DFC for sale, and you found someone who might want it, but you had no interest in getting involved, in taking it apart, shipping it, then reinstalling it in its new home – you know there are people out there who do that, but how do you find them?” This is when the brokering would come into play, he says. But, he notes, brokerage is not the big plan here – while he suggests there are something like 6,000 ICONs globally, there are much smaller numbers of large-format Harrison MPC or AMS Neve DFC consoles.
Resurface, then is a resource, a portal connecting souls in this high-end console world.
Will it succeed? Well, between them, the entrepreneurial pair have clocked up some 50 years of experience in these markets. Hurrell started out in Manchester at Spirit Studios (the original School of Sound Recording) before taking up roles at the now defunct Turnkey/Mediatools in London’s Denmark Street, then joining Digidesign/Avid. Nemes was a founder/director of HHB Scrub in Soho; before that, head of sales and marketing at AV reseller Tyrell.
And since the split from Avid, they’ve been busy spreading word of their new initiative. “We know quite a few people who we hope will want us to represent them,” says Nemes.
The website goes live this month, with digital recording and audio post consoles being the key focus. (Expansion into other sectors seems inevitable, if the first phase is a success.) The top tier classified ad will cost you $200. “And we don’t discourage people from communicating outside the website,” says Nemes.
If classified traders are heading to the portal, then Resurface hopes to attract a certain amount of advertisers who think, as Nemes puts it, “this is where people who do this for a living hang out, let’s stick an ad on there too”.
Along with this will be a newsfeed of sorts, though it will only be delivering curated content relevant to the console market. And there will be a services section for freelance trainers, repair specialist, logistics companies and so on.
“We think we can justify making this a proper business,” says Nemes. “We’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve backed us up – they’re on the site because they are thinking of opening/closing/refurbing/moving a studio, and they need to buy and sell consoles – and they are in agreement that it’s just not happening effectively at the moment.”