Thanks for this.
Just read the whole thing. (He could use some help with editing, I think.)
Damned good read, and pretty much sums up my own research. I have a cousin who is a well-known Italian musician and he's been hammered brutally by counterfeiters*.
The studio cost is one many civvies really don't get: take a look at any decent CD or vinyl album and you'll often see credits for both a recording studio and a mastering studio. The latter is where the final mix is done for release. Here, you'll tweak the levels and frequencies to avoid problems with certain media. For example, vinyl recordings needed to have the bass and percussion frequencies reined back, or the needle might literally get kicked out of the groove. Mastering studios are also where you'd finalise any surround sound processing.
One example of how much corner-cutting has crept into the industry is the rise of "normalised" tracks. There's hardly any dynamic range any more: every track's level has been rammed up to the max in order to make it sound 'loud'. It's the same technique used on adverts—that's why they often sound so much louder than the TV programmes they're interrupting. Normalising makes sense in some contexts, but it's very wearing. It is, however, very easy to apply... and abuse.
* (Pirates were usually vicious, murdering bastards, often funded by national governments to spank the living crap out of rival merchant shipping as a surrogate for outright warfare. Quite why counterfeiters believe this is a cool thing to be associated with escapes me.)