How Much Does It Cost to Record a CD?

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Thanks to advances in the technology behind so-called "studios in a box," recording a CD has become much more affordable. Of course, traditional means of recording still exist for those wishing to have someone else do it, but the cost increases significantly.

Types

  • It's now possible to record a CD in your own home studio. A good digital portable studio, allowing recording, mixing and mastering for eventual CD replication, can cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars. Charges for using a professional studio can range from $75 and hour to $125 an hour. All prices are as of 2009.

Musicians

  • If you're not recording with your own band, you'll need to hire studio musicians. The cost averages about $100 per hour, per experienced musician as of 2009.

Piano Tuning

  • If you use an acoustic piano in your recording session, you should have it tuned. Most studios require the artist to pay for piano tuning. That will usually cost between $100 and $150 as of 2009.

Mastering

  • Mastering is the process through which songs are prepared for final CD replication. You should take your recorded tracks to an engineer who specializes in mastering, which can cost an additional $400 to $500 as of 2009, for an average 10-track CD.

Mechanical Rights

  • If you use someone else's songs, you must secure mechanical rights to be able to record the songs and distribute the CD. Mechanical rights can be secured through the Harry Fox Agency. Costs for mechanical rights may vary.

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