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.
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,
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
- 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 "http://www.jewelboxing.com/"
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
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.