When it comes to CD duplication, image is everything. I am not saying that your CD has to look like Universal Records distributed it, but there should be some level of professionalism used when designing the graphics. Most artists plan to duplicate their demos and give them away to the public free of charge. Artists that give free Cd’s away experience a loss of income in exchange for advertising their music, and therefore will try to spend as little as possible when manufacturing the discs.
When creating your artwork, please take in mind that most print houses (dvd duplication services facilities included) print everything in CMYK format. CMYK refers to the different inks used to print your artwork.
Carefully read their directions. Basically, you burn a CD of what you want to have them create for you. You use their graphics or you make your own. You upload your CD to their site. The first time you do that, they will send you a copy of your CD for FREE! As of the writing of this article, you can purchase up to 5 CDs for $1.00 each plus shipping. Over 5, it can cost up to $2.00 per CD plus shipping, depending on their volume. Please don’t ask me to explain why they do this, I don’t know. Either way, it is a great deal.
But don’t assume all the work lies on our shoulders! You have to do some legwork too by giving the mastering engineer the best source audio and as much information as possible. This will make the final mastering process run more smoothly and ensure that you get the absolute best master.
> If your final product is an audio CD, most mastering engineers prefer to receive 44.1 kHz (24bit) data files on CD-ROM (wav, aiff). This gives us the best source material to work with.
There are so many professional duplication services that you can find today. Most of the times, these services cater to both small-scale and large-scale production. You could produce hundreds up to a thousand CDs. Each CD would always have the quality that you are looking for.
Send your master CD along with the form. Ensure that your master CD sounds absolutely perfect before sending it away, as every duplicate CD will sound the same as the master. Keep a second master copy with you in case your original gets lost in the mail.
Remember if you aren’t a well know name in the industry people won’t come looking for your music CD. You will have to attract them in the split of a second in a music store and CD packaging will play a vital role in that.