So you are ready to make a CD:
The most important step in planning your CD is to establishing how much money is available for your project will help you to determine what recording Studio to use. Check out Links Sections for some local suggestions. Creating 1,000 CD demos will set you back at least $1500, and as much as $10,000, but we will discuss those details later - right now, just keep in mind that you need to set a budget and stick to it so you dont run out of money when it come time to replicate your CD.
A few bonus (though not required) expenses to consider: photographs of your group, graphic art design, extra equipment you might need, and additional amenities for the CD packaging.
When making you first CD you´re not just picking a random potpourri of songs; instead, you are creating a "program" that is varied in scope. This program should show your creative range (that all your songs don´t sound the same), but it should also help the A&R reps figure out how to sell you.
Don't forget to check out our CD Duplication how do I get started page.
Here are some examples of how to create a strong program:
- Don´t put only fast or only slow works on the CD - it won´t display your group´s full capabilities.
- The songs you record should not be so long that a busy executive wouldn't have time to listen to more than one selection. A demo recording is typically between 15 and 35 minutes long.
- You don´t want to offer a demo containing every piece you have ever played, because then if an executive is interested in hearing your group, you´ll only be repeating the selections you´ve already provided for them.
- The order of the pieces is totally up to you, but here are some guidelines: place your two strongest pieces at the beginning of the demo, and another strong, polished piece at the end. The middle is a toss-up
Copyright issues when making recordings of other people´s work
If you are performing someone else´s works and would like to make your own recording of those selections (known in the industry as making a "cover"), you must investigate into whether those songs are in the "public domain" or not. Otherwise, you could get sued. This counts whether you´re doing the whole song, just the melody, or just some of the lyrics; people take this infringement on intellectual property very seriously. See Napster. This investigation of the legal issues surrounding making a cover holds true for all genres: pop, jazz, classical, everything.
- Dead composer: Typically (but not always), if the composer is deceased, the work becomes part of the public domain. Works that are extremely old (say, 200 years old) are surely in the public domain. You can check on this by calling the Library of Congress at (202) 707-9100.
- Living composer: If the composer of the song you wish to record is alive, you must get a license giving you permission to reproduce their work. If the rights are owned by a "third party", such as a publishing company or management, you will need to get a mechanical license before you record that work. Here are the best organizations to use to find out who owns the song you want to cover
The First Place to Start when looking for who owns a song is the Harry Fox Agency.
- The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. was established in 1927 as a musical copyright information source and licensing agency for the music industry. HFA currently represents more than 27,000 music publishers and is the premier licensing resource for the mechanical use of music reproduced in all formats and media. They are the easiest to work with and you can complete the transaction instantly online. That is the always a plus.
If Harry Fox does not represent the copyright holder then move on to these organizations who help you locate the individual artist or their representatives.
- American Society for Composers, Authors, and Publishers at (212) 621-6000
- BMI at (212) 586-2000
- SESAC at (212) 586-3450.
They will give you information about the party who owns the rights, and then you can go ahead and contact that party directly to discuss rates and other details. Don´t forget that you must give credit to that party on your CD cover itself.
NOTE: Even if you only use pieces of someone else´s song, you must go through the above process and obtain a license to reproduce it. There is no exception! For promotional use only is not an excuse for stealing intellectual property.
If you are writing your own songs, you should copyright them so that other people wanting to use your songs will need to obtain your permission to reproduce them. Obtain copyright forms from the Library of Congress to begin this process. Send them the completed forms, a recording of the songs you wish to copyright, and a lyric sheet, plus a $20 handling fee. In about 3 weeks, you will receive confirmation of your copyright request.
Finding a Recording Studio
- Always start by asking other local musicians. This is your best source of reliable information and feedback on prospective recording studios.
- The Yellow Pages are not a bad place to start your search, either, but you´ll need to do a lot of phoning before you settle in on any one place.
- Check out the CD Taxi for Recording Studios in The US. A great place to start your CD productions search.
When picking a studio price is important but there are many questions that you should ask not just how much do you charge an hour? Here are a few :
- Ask about the equipment that the studio uses. What type of and how many microphones. Is the studio direct to digital? What format will your master be provided to you? Most studios will provide a CD master. Some still provide DAT tapes. Ask for a CD master it will save you money when it come time to duplicate your CD.
- Ask about the cost per hour to record with their engineers.
- Ask about their turnaround time for a final product. Some studios have long lead times so be sure you know their turn time before you setup a CD release date.
- Ask the studio to give you an approximate cost estimate for the entire project, from start to finish. It may be difficult for them to give any precise figures, but even a rough estimate is useful, because if it is very near to your budget limit, you know you shouldn't´t use that studio - you may exceed your cost capabilities. For a professional studio, it usually costs somewhere between $100 and $1000 per hour, depending on what city you´re in.
- And it never hurts to show up in person to check out their facilities before you make a decision about which studio you should use to record your songs. Also ask for some examples of their recording work so that you can hear the job they do for yourself.
- If some of your friends are already great sound recorders, you can just rent studio space to do a recording. Discuss it with the studio and figure out if it´s worth the cost.
Now that you have a recording you need to get your CD manufactured. This is where Triple Disc comes in. We are here to make your Audio CD Duplication or replication product a on time success.
Once your CD project is complete check out these companies for online distribution and promotion.
Need Online Distribution for your CD? Triple Disc Recommends CD Baby. CD Baby is a little online record store that sells CDs by independent musicians. Triple Disc will register you for free with any regular priced CD Replication project. They only sell CDs that come directly from the musicians. No distributors. Musicians send them CDs. They warehouse them, sell them to the public, and pay the musicians directly.
Looking for industry contacts and radio stations that will play your music. Check out the Indie Bible. The Indie Bible lists 8000 contacts that will help you to promote your music to the world, and gain valuable exposure! The Indie Contact Newsletter: A FREE monthly e-mail newsletter with helpful articles and LOTS of contacts for Independent musicians.
Nielsen SoundScan is an information system that tracks sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada. Weekly data is compiled and made available every Wednesday. Nielsen SoundScan is the sales source for the Billboard music charts.
Triple Disc Takes the Confusion out of CD & DVD Manufacturing.
Triple Disc is a full service CD and DVD manufacturer that provides CD and DVD replication and duplication and is committed to superior customer service and support. We are dedicated to making your CD or DVD project a headache free on time success. We have been providing CD and DVD mass reproduction since 1995.Triple Disc separates itself from the rest of the CD and DVD industry by going above and beyond to meet our customers needs. Triple Disc is proud to offer some of the fastest turn times in the industry. We can turn replicated CDs and DVDs in as little as business days. 24 Hour turns for CD and DVD Duplication runs. (Rush Charges may apply.) We offer presales support for all CD and DVD projects.
Triple Disc is dedicated to supporting the client from start to finish. Our knowledge sales staff will walk you through the entire process from getting you a custom quote or answering your graphic design questions on the phone or via email. We will help you determine if you need Replication or Duplication and help you determine the best packaging option to meet your specific CD or DVD projects needs. Triple Disc has created a customer service support system second to none.