Some say it’s a dying format and there is no denying the damning statistics, but neverless bands are still undertaking CD pressing, so let’s learn about how to do it properly.
To hold a physical product in their hands
To see the artwork, have a booklet, and lyrics/credits to read
Greater profit margin
Can bundle with merchandise
Some fans still prefer physical formats to digital
To have something to autograph for fans
Can be more personal to hand a copy to your fan, or include a handwritten note
For competition giveaways and free promotion handouts
To have it stocked in physical stores
Radio stations still like CDs
Reviewers & Press often want copies of your CD
To experiment, if you got the balls – ie if your heart tells you it’s not necessary
If your target market is that which prefers digital
Low budget, when pressing and postage will hurt your wallet
Uncertain fanbase, you don’t want to be left with physical items clogging up your stockroom
Not a live gigging band
If physical stores are unlikely to stock your CD anyway
Digital only singles or EPs
Less than 300 copies is generally done by Replication, the process of creating a glass master and stamper of your data (CD Audio, CD-Rom, DVD video) then injection moulding the discs using that stamper.
Over 300 is generally Duplication, the process of taking blank, recordable discs (CDRs or DVDRs) and writing the information on them with a laser.
Turnaround time – Around 2 weeks in most cases
Anywhere from $2 to $5 per unit, which adds up to $2000 pretty quickly if you’re ordering a lot.
The more copies you order, the less it costs per unit. Companies will often quote you on multiple quantities
Depends if you order Digipak, jewel case, shrinkwrapping, barcodes, and how many pages in your booklet
A recent quote that I have gone ahead with, is 500 x 4 panel digipaks with a 12pg booklet for $1595 inc postage.
Format – DDP where possible, that is Disc Description Protocol. An error-protected delivery format that has become industry standard for reliable CD & DVD replication. Your Producer should be able to provide this on Audio CD or digital. You may also use high-quality WAV masters, but just check with your pressing company first.
Test – Test your CD masters only on a set top CD player, computers can affect the file formats
Submit – Provide via Dropbox, post master CD in mail, or drop into store if local
ISRC encoded – We chatted about this on episode 24, click here for the shownotes
Barcodes – Consider if you need these or not. They usually cost an extra $50 or so. Only really useful if being stocked in stores.
Find an artist (or DIY) for front cover and booklet/layout. Can be the same person or can be different.
You should provide a concept/idea of what you want and be available to provide feedback throughout. You should also provide them with a word file of lyrics, credits and anything you want included in the design.
Get PDF templates from your Pressing company with specifications they require. Give these to your artist who can make sure it’s all to spec.
Other technical art stuff – Leave 3mm bleed, switch off the template layer, leave the registration marks turned on, then output everything as PDFx1a.
Upload to dropbox, or submit on a CD or USB
Research websites of both local stores and online providers.
Get quotes. Some will have prices/quotes on their websites, others you will need to email/phone.
Read reviews & ask other bands about their experience.
Choose a company that are helpful, quick to communicate, good info on their website and good price.
Give free downloads or discount codes with your physical sales
Upsell merch when people buy a CD from your online store
Get you CDs to online distributors who have their own stores plus eBay and Amazon
Templates, examples and guides are available in the BandTools database, to access visit our Patreon page to subscribe!