The Auralex recording booth is 4 feet by 6 feet. Artists such as Lady Gaga have used the booths to record and rehearse. Now reality TV show American Idol will use VocalBooth's equipment.
Niche manufacturer VocalBooth has landed some major endorsements over the past few years: Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews Band, Madonna, Mariah Carey, even the one-and-only Lady Gaga. But those names pale in comparison to the company’s latest publicity tool, a little reality show called American Idol.
The hit music show plans to use a VocalBooth portable sound enclosure as it expands its format to show more behind-the-scenes rehearsals of artists honing their styles and recording their work. VP of marketing Jennifer Mathey says the company plans to install the booth for the show in Los Angeles on Jan. 10.
Exposure to millions of music-loving viewers could bring a whole new level of attention to a 20-employee, Bend-based business that has been cranking out miniature recording studios since 1997. VocalBooth products have caught on with touring musicians because they allow the artist to make spontaneous recordings when the muse strikes rather than having to arrange time at recording studios. They are also used for radio programs, voice-overs and video games. The company’s sound booths were named product of the year in 2009 by Economic Development for Central Oregon.
Mathey says VocalBooth welcomes the celebrity endorsements but doesn’t actively pursue them.
“It’s word of mouth that drives it,” she says. “All of the artists on our website give endorsements because they want to, not because we’re paying them.”
COO Jay Riker says the extra publicity seems to be paying off. “We suffered along with everybody else during the recession, but we’re seeing a surge in people talking about our products,” he says. “We’re scrambling to keep up with orders.”