You Need To Know When Manufacturing Your Compact Disc
made a CD, now you need to get it manufactured. Who do you trust with
your precious project? Choosing a CD manufacturer and getting a good
deal can be frustrating and confusing. Here are some tips to help
you "do your homework" and get the best deal.
find many audio manufacturers advertised in most music related magazines,
or on the internet. Ask your studio who they recommend. Beware! There
are many "fly by night" companies out there throwing around
"low" pricing. The lowest price doesnt always mean
the best overall deal. Things like quality, turn-time and most of
all professional and prompt service should influence your decision.
Due to the number of variables involved, pricing can sometimes be
confusing. Some manufacturers have all-inclusive "package"
deals. A lot of times these are economical but may not fit the needs
of your project. Ask about any "hidden" charges like shipping,
or fill deviation. This market is very competitive so most manufacturers
are willing to deal. Send a written quote from one company to another
and ask if they can beat the price. ALWAYS get a written price quote
before you begin the order.
sales rep professional and did they sound genuinely interested in
your project? What experience does the company have? Have you seen
there ads in respected magazines and internet sites? Youve got
to know that a company is well established and respected and youve
got to have trust in their services before you hand over your precious
is going to ask questions about quantity, packaging, inserts and artwork
(see below) in order to get you an accurate quote. Make sure you have
the proper information available prior to shopping around.
Most companies will manufacture as low as 300 units with price
breaks at 500, 1000, 2000, etc. My experience is that 1000 units is
where the price begins to be the most economical. For example: My
company sells 500 packaged CDS at $750.00 while 1000 is only $440.00
more. Plus, the industry standard for printing CD inserts is a 1000
minimum, so even if you manufacture less CDS, you still have to pay
for art, film and print of 1000 inserts.
Unless you are doing a very large quantity, a standard jewel
box with insert and wrap is the most economical and popular packaging.
If you are not concerned with "fancy" packaging you can
save some money by not including a printed insert and package the
CDs in a paper or cardboard sleeve.
If you are packaging in a standard jewel box, there are several
insert sizes to choose. Unless you have an unusual amount of images
and text (such as lyrics) to include in your artwork, I would suggest
a 4 panel CD insert. A 4 panel insert is one page folded, (like a
birthday card), plenty of room for several graphics and a good amount
of text. CD inserts always come with a "traycard"; the insert
that sets in the back of the jewel box. To save money, use a 4/1 print.
(Outside color, inside B&W). Make sure you know the size of your
booklet and the colors before calling for quotes. Youll need
to decide the number of colors you want to imprint on the actual CD
itself. 2 colors are standard for most manufacturers, and Ive
found are usually sufficient for an attractive design.
This is the most confusing aspect of CD manufacturing so do
your homework before you begin the project. There are 3 steps to producing
a finished CD or Cassette insert: 1)art design, 2) film output and
3) printing. Most manufacturers can do all 3 steps for you or you
can provide any of the appropriate materials directly to the manufacturer.
IMPORTANT! If providing your own art materials, make certain that
you follow the manufacturers exact specifications.
Art work design - This is taking your photos, ideas,
credits, lyrics, concepts, etc. and designing them (usually using
a computer graphics program) to the exact specifications of a CD/cassette
insert. Unless you or someone you know has experience designing
specifically for CD inserts, I would strongly advise that you let
the manufacturers experienced graphic art department design
the project for you.
Film and color proofs - Film negative and color
proofs are generated and used to make the plates for printing. BE
CAREFUL: Some manufacturers quotes do not include film or assume
you are supplying film. Make sure you get a film price if you need
Printing - Most CD printers use the industry standard
CMYK, 4 color process printing method, and "gang" several
projects together to help cut costs.
TIME Most CD jobs can take as little as 2 weeks or
as long as 6 weeks depending on what services are needed and manufacturer
work load. (October December is traditionally a busy time for
audio manufacturers due to Christmas products.) Beware of manufacturers
who "promise" a quick turn time just to get your business.
I would trust a manufacturer who gives you "realistic" time
when choosing a manufacturer, do your homework but also go with your
instinct. There are many companies out there that can give you a low
price while still providing excellent, quality, service and turn time
but youve got to do your part. One day youll be signed
and someone else will be handling all this for you anyway, but until
then, make sure you do your part to have all the proper information
together then start making some calls! Good luck!
Jim Cocke of Crystal Clear Sound -
The country's fastest growing CD and cassette manufacturer. Crystal
Clear Sound can do it all! CD, CD Rom and CD-R replication, digital
bin cassette duplication, art design, insert printing, digital mastering
and editing, competitive, low prices, prompt professional service,
unsurpassed quality, trusted experience for over 30 years! www.crystalclearsound.com