All Aspects of Independent CD Production

There are many companies that will offer you complete CD production packages, but it all comes at a price, and you may be forced to produce more CD's than you need. For those who decide to venture into producing there own, and are looking to achieve a "professional look" there will be many factors you will want to consider.blank compact disk

Types of CD's, and Burning Speeds

There is a slew of different types of blank disks out on the market, some are green on the bottom and some are blue, some have printable labels and some don't. look for CDs that have a silver bottom, they look the closest to stamped CDs, and avoid using those no-name "cheapest CDs ever", they tend to have allot of dud's, and are sometimes made of very poor quality.

With new technology compact disks can be burned at incredible fast speeds, but what some do not know is that the faster the burn, the poorer quality of compact disk you are burning. too fast of a burn speed will also prevent allot of CD players from being able to read the CD, and cause audible artifacts in your songs. To avoid this from happening burn all your CDs at 1x speed, or 2x speed if it is vital to burn them quickly. 1x or 2x burn speed will enable most players to read the CD, increasing the number of satisfied customers, or fans.

Cover Design, Barcodes, Booklet and CD Printing

The next step of the process is design, for some tips on designing your cover refer to our "CD cover design article" and as for bar codes look into your distributors and see whether you need to have a bar code to sell your CDs through them, Bar codes are a very easy way for a distributor to keep track of how many albums they have sold for you.

As for CD Printing there are 3 methods you can use.

  • Use a sticker that adheres to the top of the CD (some stickers look great but shop around because there are some stickers that peel off easily and will jam a CD player.
  • Rig a printer to print on CD's, and buy printable disks. Only some printers can do this, and you have to buy a special kit to modify it.
  • Thermal printing which looks the best, although thermal printers are an expensive investment, you can always hire someone who has one to do it for you.

Cases and Shrink Wrap

You have a few choices for cases, cardboard cases can decrease expense and combine printing, and case costs but these are not the most durable cases. Your other options are regular , or thin cases, and for some cool unique cases check out "" these include insert cards and more.

There are homemade shrink wrap kits that you can pick up, or you can out source this work to a company that will do it for you. A great alternative to shrink wrap is to use a sticker to seal the jewel case, a great way to sell the CD "as new" and if you get more stickers printed than album cases you can use any extras as a promotional tool, to either hand out or to slip inside each CD.

With all of these aspects of production you do not have to do all of them yourself, You can contract companies to do parts of you CD production, like design, or thermal printing. weigh all of your costs of producing each stage of your CD, do some research and devise a plan that will best suit your production budget.

Now you are ready for distribution, many distributor will not sell your CD's unless you are signed with a multiple artist label, if this is the case my advice is to talk to all the managers of all the record shops in town and see if you can offload some of your albums or sell them on consignment. Put up a web page for an online outlet, and bring a stock of CD's to every gig that you or your band plays at.