This is an article by guest writer, Larry Mitchell. He is a classically trained violinist who has been helping musicians of all stripes become more successful in selling their music. He works in marketing for Mixonic (http://www.mixonic.com), an online CD duplication firm specializing in independent musicians.
As an independent act, making recorded music available for your fans is a necessary step for growth. Having your songs on CD helps to legitimize your band and keeps your sound in front of your audience, even when you aren’t playing. Even if you’re a bit intimidated by the idea of recording a CD, it’s important for you to think about. To make the process a bit less overwhelming, here are the basic steps you need to take.
STEP ONE: Decide on the content
What songs are you going to put on the CD? How long of a project will it be (i.e., a single song, EP, or full-length recording)? Make a list of possible song choices; include any fan favorites from your live shows on the short list. Decide what songs go best together, and narrow it down.
STEP TWO: Record the material
A lot of work is obviously involved in this step. You’ll need to procure a recording studio, hire musicians if necessary, rehearse the material thoroughly (preferably before you start paying for studio time), and do the actual recording. This step could take weeks or months, depending on a number of factors—including your budget and the time you have available.
STEP THREE: Post-production
Once you’re satisfied with your tracks, you’ll need to have them mixed and mastered. A trained audio engineer should go over the recording thoroughly, making sure all the instrument and track levels are set to your liking. The final audio mix should then be mastered for maximum sound level and quality, and if applicable, a master CD should be made for replication.
STEP FOUR: Decide on the artwork and cover design
Your CD cover is a critical part of your project, because the appeal of your packaging will affect your sales. Optimally, the CD cover and label should be designed by a professional graphic artist, but at best, your cover art should be uncluttered, visually appealing, and should reflect the tone and mood of your band and your record.
STEP FIVE: Have your CD printed
For this step, you’ll need to make a few important decisions, such what company should do the printing, how many CDs you want to print, and whether you want them duplicated or replicated. For smaller projects, duplication is the easiest and most cost-effective method (i.e, copying the data onto recordable CDs); for larger projects, replication (pressing CDs from a glass master) is recommended. Chances are, as a smaller band, you’ll want a “short run” printing of the CD, because you don’t want to print more CDs than you can sell. When deciding who should provide this service, be sure to select a CD printing company that offers a quality product at a reasonable price.
By keeping these basic steps in mind, it won’t be long before you have a fully completed, packaged CD that your fans will love, and you’ll be that much farther along the road to success.