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Tuned out: Legendary Charlotte recording studio tries to compete as newer, cheaper studios rise (access required)

By Sam Boykin It’s Thursday morning and Wayne Jernigan is busy painting the doorway to Charlotte’s legendary Reflection Sound Studio. Some of music’s biggest artists have recorded at the Central Avenue studio since it opened in 1970, including R.E.M., Aerosmith, Robert Plant, James Brown, Whitney Houston and Fantasia. But after decades of being one of the go-to places in the Southeast for artists to cut tracks, Reflection is relatively quiet now as it struggles to compete in an industry that has been dramatically altered by inexpensive digital recording equipment and changes in the music industry itself. “We’re trying to reinvent ourselves to fit into what’s happening now,” said Jernigan, who owns Reflection. “We’re bringing in new blood and ideas.” Since the 1980s and ’90s, when Reflection was always booked and a dozen people worked at the studio, Jernigan said business has dropped off by more than 50 percent, and he has only a couple of part-time employees.

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