One of the highlights of my childhood was creating mix CDs for friends and family. After carefully arranging the songs in the perfect order, I’d then create customized art for each case. As I got older and started becoming serious about being a musician, I of course wanted to learn how to take a more professional approach to CDs. In this three-part Ultimate DIY CD Guide series, we'll take you step-by-step through the process of manufacturing, packaging, obtaining a UPC barcode, album art design, distribution, and – finally – selling your CD. While there are certainly many ways you could go about each of these steps, we feel this offers the most professional outcome while still having a variety of budget options. So let's get started!
- Duplication, which encodes your data onto the disc
- Replication, which physically presses the data into the surface of the disc
Replicated discs are the standard for major releases, but duplication is a great option for smaller orders.
There are various printing houses that offer full service printing and packaging or à la carte options for your project. While they all offer similar services, finding the right printing house within your budget is important. Here are some great options to help you get started:
Disc Makers offers a huge selection for creating your CDs. They offer CD duplication, replication, and even vinyl pressing. Other services include mastering, encoding, and graphic design services. When it’s time to distribute your music (which we will cover in part three of this series), Disc Makers can digitally transfer your album information to their sister company, CD Baby, for online distribution.
Oasis manufactures, designs, prints, and packages your CD all under one roof. As the pioneer of eco-friendly packaging, Oasis offers professional and environmentally conscious options. They do replication as well as duplication, and recently began offering vinyl pressing. Along with manufacturing, Oasis offers graphic design, mastering, authoring, piracy protection, and promotion services.
The quality of sound is Groove House’s passion. All glass masters are created in real time from the original master, decreasing the possibility of transfer loss. They offer CD replication, duplication, vinyl pressing, and graphic design. Environmental conscious musicians will love that Groove House uses recycled paper, vegetable-based inks, and water-based coatings in their printing process.
Now that you've chosen a printing house and decided between replication and duplication, you can focus on the packaging of your album. The company you decided to use for your CD manufacturing will have a large selection of packaging options that can be purchased when you place your order, or at a later time. Packaging is a great opportunity for your album to stand out, so make sure to get creative! Jewel cases are the original CD cases, but there are many options to explore. From Digipacks to jackets to eco-wallets, there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to your packaging preference.
Once you’ve decided on your packaging, it’s time to focus on the album art, liner notes, and obtain a UPC barcode. These topics will be covered in part two of our Ultimate DIY CD Guide, so check back here next week!
Check out the next two installments of the Ultimate DIY CD Guide:
Kathleen Parrish is a singer and songwriter from Seattle, WA. While she specializes in lyrics, she enjoys writing short stories, poetry, and journalism. For more information, please visit www.kathleenparrish.com.