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Producing Your Own Indie CD - How Source Inexpensive CD Duplication Equipment

Apr 13, 2008
You sweat out the sessions; the tracks have all been nailed down, now what. How do you get a bunch of CDs made so you can bring them and sell them at your next gig?

So, you're looking for 100 copies or so of a new music you've recorded. You could call several CD replication companies, and they all want no less than 100-300 units ordered, YIKES at as much as 7.95 each that's over 3 grand, and you're only making 500 net on the gig. What to do? Look for a short run CD duplicator. With a CD-DVD duplicator of your own you could produce 1-300 units using your own home computers. They can profitably "burn" your CDs, and print on the CD face. You then create and print inserts, tray cards, and jewel boxes in much smaller quantities than the traditional CD replication company and at a much lower cost. Traditional "pressed" CDs require a much more complex (and expensive) setup process, so ordering less than 300 units is not an option. I suggest shopping around for a new or used cd-dvd duplicator.

Today when investing in a CD duplication unit you will find prices are more affordable than ever, and the latest duplicators have some exciting features only recently available in consumer models. Let's look at a few units. Simple one-to-one copiers or full production systems which automatically cut your CDs (or DVDs) and print the artwork directly on the disc. Primera, MicroBoards, Tascam, Telex, offer various duplicators with costs ranging from $300 - $3800. All these brands are suitable for the needs of musicians and studios. You will be surprised at how cheap they really are and how affordable it really is to make your own CD's.

Now what about the artwork, well it isn't that difficult either. For starters, let's assume that your artwork is going to be one color. With thousand's of inks and hundred's of papers available, a lot can be done with one color at low-cost. A Black Background with white text never goes out of style and it is very easy to produce with any of a number of software packages. Usually the duplication equipment will come bundled with software that includes all the templates and basic graphics tool you will need. Once you get going with it you will discover how easy it really can be.

Here are some Basic Rules:

1) What Are You Creating?

While the basics of a CD booklet and cover are the same, the amount of information you can get on them is very different. CD covers are a single sheet of paper, about 4.5inches x 4.5 inches, so you can't fit that much space on the page. The booklet, on the other hand, can fit a lot more text, because, well, because it is folded, and stapled. Be sure to read and re read your content before laying out the booklet or cover.

2) What You Want to Say

What tracks are on your disc? Your booklet and cover will have to have a listing of the tracks in order of recording. Do you want to include credits and copyrights logos pictures of your band in your design? Before you start working on the design it's a good idea to know what you have to include.

3) Be Sure of the Details

Make sure you follow design standards:
Page Size CD covers and booklets are usually about 4.5" x 4.5", but be sure before you begin.
Check the margins you are going to use as the frame for your material, and be sure you have left room for bleed and text.

Once you have all this assembled, using any bundled CD booklet or cover template will be a breeze. Once the Art is saved and backed up you will be able to create your CDs on demand 1 or 100 at a time.

Now go and get started and good luck with your Indie music CD production!
About the Author
Buzz Jones is musician and computer technician going back some 25 years. He recommends you refer to DuplicatorGator as a source for independent musicians looking for CD DVD duplicators, equipment, CD's media templates, print cartridges and and other supplies.
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