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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Recording and releasing albums is no longer just for bigwigs in the music industry. Gainesville bands are also heading to the studios in order to give fans souvenirs, to get their songs heard and of course, to make some extra money.

But the cost of a recording session, master compact disc and the art and graphics that make it look legitimate come with a big price tag.

At Skylab Studios, a recording studio that has been in Gainesville for about 16 years, it could cost a band more than ,5,000 just to reserve studio time to record and use the equipment.

Once the studio fee is paid for, CDs, which usually cost around ,2 per disc, must be ordered. The average local band that records at Skylab will order anywhere from 500 to 1,000 CDs, said Gerry King, owner and chief engineer at Skylab Studios.

"A band could have to sell 20,000 to 30,000 CDs just to make a profit," King said.

Michael Pedron, bassist for local funk band Umoja Orchestra, utilizes both the professional studio and the at-home approach when recording.

In December, Pedron and his bandmates traveled to Port St. Lucie to professionally record their first studio album at the Avalon Recording Studio.

As practice, the band uses Pro Tools, a popular at-home digital audio workstation that provides CD-quality production. Pedron said it was their "big buy," setting them back about ,1,000.

"We use the home recording for writing purposes," he said. "It helps to piece together the sound."

Sweet City Action, another local band that finished recording its first studio album Oct. 1, chose to record with Goldentone Records, located in Gainesville.

Hunter Stanford, the band's guitarist, estimated the entire project cost the band about ,1,400. Most of the money used came from the profits the band earned at live shows, Stanford said.

"We wanted to go with something professional, and Goldentone gave us a personal, local angle," he said.

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Through entrance fees, T-shirt sales and CDs sold, Umoja Orchestra made back the money it spent on album production on the night of its CD release party.

"When someone buys a CD, they are essentially paying us back for five CDs," Pedron said.

But it's not always the money that matters.

"I'm not too worried about making the money back," Stanford said. "It was a lot of fun to do, and now we have something to show people. It all comes back around."

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