Posts tagged: CD/DVD Manufacturing

Free Doomtree MP3!

By admin, October 18, 2011 12:52 pm

Doomtree’s new album No Kings doesn’t drop until November,

but you can get a sneak peek.

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COPYCATS is handling the CD manufacturing for this album,

and Wired.com is premiering Doomtree’s single The Grand Experiment now.

You can download the track for free, and get a sample of what’s to come when this amazing album drops.

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of the disc!

Preparing Your Master for CD or DVD Replication

By admin, March 2, 2009 12:54 pm

Outputting your master disc seems like such an easy step in the CD/DVD manufacturing process: flip a blank disc into your computer, select the files you want on your master, click a few buttons, and out pops your burnt disc.  Now it’s off to replication!

Not so fast (as you’ll see later in the post, I mean this literally as well as figuratively).  There are quite a few things to consider before sending us your CD or DVD master.

The first thing to consider is that your replicated CDs or DVDs will be exact copies of your master disc.  If there’s a chapter on your DVD master where the sound and video are out of sync,  it will show up that way on your copies.  If you hear a skip or pop on your CD master, it will also be on your replicated copies.

You also need to output that master disc in a playable format.  The master should play exactly like how you want your copies to play.  The tracks should be in the order you want them, DVD menus need to be designed, auto-play capabilities need to be programmed, etc.  Failing to do this can have pretty bad results.  I once had a past customer who submitted their audio CD master as a disc full of .wav files.  This resulted in us printing 1000 replicated CDs that were unplayable on regular CD players.

You should watch/listen to your master multiple times before sending it to COPYCATS Media.  It’s a good idea to listen to it with different players as well: computer, DVD player, car stereo, portable player, boom-box, home stereo system.  Most drives on computers can read discs very well (most can also play .wav files just like a normal CD, too), so it’s a good idea to try them out on other players to make sure they can read the disc.

So you’ve created your master disc, tested it on multiple platforms, and everything checked out fine.  It’s sent to us for replication and then you get a message from us saying your CD or DVD has too many errors and cannot be made into a glass master for replication.  Hey, wha’ happened?  You tested it just like we advised, and now we’re telling you the disc still has errors. Continue reading 'Preparing Your Master for CD or DVD Replication'»

More CD Replication Sales Advice

By admin, February 19, 2009 12:29 pm

Posted by Adam Wachter

It’s all about knowing your client.

This is how I usually dress when meeting customers for the first time.

This is how I usually dress when meeting customers for the first time. I have a lot of clients from the North Pole.

In the CD/DVD manufacturing world you need to learn to adjust to your customers.  You will have a very wide range of customers.  People from all over the nation and world with different backgrounds and different ways of life.  One minute you will be on the phone with a corporate big-wig doing 100,000 units that needs to be done NOW, and as soon as you hang up the phone, you have a local independent musician in the front of the office waiting for you to get their 200-unit CD duplication project started.  Both are equal to me here.

Even if I dont like the cut of their jib, I still need to make them feel comfortable with me and reassure them that I’m going to help them get want they want.  My sales bible really comes from just this one clip:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDWrAwXSVh8]

The main lessons to take from this rabble are:

  • Know your clients
  • Treat them fairly
  • Don’t light crap on fire or you will kill your client relationship

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Don't Be A Menace

By copycatsmedia, February 4, 2009 10:17 am

I’ve come across a handful of great articles written mostly from the eyes of music venue employees.  They’re all full of useful information and pretty entertaining as well.  Here’s a quick recap of each:

A Band Behaving Badly - This was from knowthemusicbiz.com’s blog.  They had an Anne Landers-style advice column.  Here was the reader’s scenario:

  • Bar and band reach verbal agreement for band to play 2 weekends in a row at the bar
  • Band acts like a bunch of jerks on the first weekend
  • Bar tells band not to bother coming back next weekend
  • Band threatens to take bar to small claims court

That’s basically the whole story, but click on the link for a little more detail and read their advice.  Put yourself in Judge Wapner’s shoes.  Who’s side would you rule in favor of?

What I Learned Working at Music Venues - This was written by Cameron over at musicianwages.com.  He details about 5 different things that musicians should be mindful of when playing at a local club.

Top 39 Annoying Things Bands Do - This was linked by the above blog from Musician Wages.  It was posted by a St. Louis music venue, The Creepy Crawl.  It’s a pretty amusing list (complete with reader feedback!).  These dudes sound like they don’t take crap from anybody.  Well, I suppose they must have taken crap from somebody, or else they wouldn’t have compiled this list.

These articles are summed up by one common theme: don’t be an inconsiderate jerk.  I’ve worked in the sales or customer service areas within a few different industries (college admissions, food service, and credit cards along with CD/DVD manufacturing).  No matter how rude a customer would be to me, I always lived up to my companies’ standards of service.  However, if being treated rudely, I typically wouldn’t go above and beyond those minimum standards of service.  But to people who were kind, considerate, and respectful, I’d do anything I could to help them out, even if it was above and beyond the call of duty. 

That’s what you get for being friendly: a friend in the business who will do everything in their power to help you.

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Adding Value to Your Album in the Digital Age

By admin, February 2, 2009 2:55 pm

I’ve recently became addicted to a blog called Techdirt.  There’s a lot of good posts to read over there regarding the changing way consumers get their music and how artists can benefit by forming new business models. 

 A good summary of this blogger’s viewpoints can be found in the post titled “The Grand Unified Theory on the Economics of Free.”  A point he makes quite often is that your music is an infinite good.  Once those tracks are recorded, they can be duplicated and distributed digitally at no cost.  Because these tracks are infinite, he encourages artists to let them be distributed digitally for free.  Artists should focus their business models on making money from scarce goods, such as concert tickets, access to the band, t-shirts, and even CDs.  The infinite digital tracks should be used as a promotional tool to help sell the scarce goods.value-added-fp-new

Because I’m working at a CD manufacturing company, I began thinking about how someone can drive their CD sales by giving away the music for free.  It seems like giving away free tracks would be counter productive to selling CDs.  You know the old saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.”  Well, I think there are some other good reasons to buy that cow…or CD.  It’s all about adding value to your album. 

Here’s some ideas I’ve floated around in my head:

Artwork - This is something that’s always been a reason for music fans to buy CDs.  The artwork, design, and packaging is part of that whole album experience.  It helps build your music’s image.  And despite what soft drink ad campaigns have told me, image is an important thing. Continue reading 'Adding Value to Your Album in the Digital Age'»

Ending The Week With A Bang

By admin, January 30, 2009 12:04 pm

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Work in the CD/DVD manufacturing industry can be demanding.  How does COPYCATS Media stay on top of our game and deliver high quality products over and over again?  By consuming copious amounts of Monster Energy Drink.

But for some, the standard 16 oz. can just doesn’t cut it anymore.  I mentioned that kicking out CD duplication projects all day can be demanding.  We needed something more.  Enter the 32 oz. “BFC” of Monster Energy Drink. 

Above, you’ll see sales reps Justin Kristal and Zac Boyd, and graphic designer Jeremy Hagen getting the morning off to a great start.  We’ll keep you posted on any new world records for words spoken per minute and violent mood swings as they progress.

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There Will Be Bleeds

By admin, January 26, 2009 10:34 am

As mentioned in an earlier post, putting together your artwork can be the most challenging part of doing a CD duplication project.  A common mistake made is providing art files that do not have bleeds.

So what exactly are bleeds?  It’s not as gross as it may sound.  It has nothing to with blood or bleeding.  A bleed is extending any color, photo, or design elements past the cut line.  Our print shop trims printed pieces in stacks of hundreds of sheets at a time.  This is much faster than trimming individual pieces, but it comes at the cost of some accuracy.  The bleed gives a margin of error when trimming.  If the cut is a little off, the white of the paper won’t show along the edge of your print.  We recommend you add 1/8 inch of bleed to your layouts. 

Conversely, you’ll want to take notice of the safety margin.  This is the exact opposit of a bleed.  If you put important information such as a song title or an important part of a photo right up against the cut line, some of it may be cut off.  We recommend keeping your type and other important design elements 1/8 inch inside the cut line.

You will these three lines (safety margin, cut line, and bleed) on our templates at COPYCATS Media.  Make sure you follow them closely to save time and money on your CD duplication project.  Your printing could be delayed if you have to go back and add bleeds, and it can incur additional fees if the prepress department has to fix it for you.

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Protect them as if they were your own children

By admin, January 13, 2009 11:07 am

I came across this post on KnowTheMusicBiz.com by way of @dbrose67on Twitter.  It’s written by a guy named Steve Gerstman who has a company called Cut Merch.  It seems like a pretty cool merchandise company.  They have all the standards from T-shirts and hats to all the non-standards like bobble heads and jewelry.  What makes it even cooler is that the site also appears to have some inventory management and sales projection tools.  But you need to create an account to access those, and I unfortunately haven’t done that yet.

Back to the posted article itself, Mr. Gerstman gives some sage advice on designing, managing, and selling your merchandise.  My favorite tip he gives is this:  “your product inventory is like cash.”

I’ve worked with lots of independent artists who are doing a CD replication project for the first time.  When they come to pick up their order, they are often amazed at the sight of 1000 copies of their own album.  It can be easy to disregard the importance of every single disc when there are so many, but keep track of your inventory.

For example, let’s say you’re on tour.  You just played a show in Milwaukee and are now on your way to Chicago.  As you enter the Windy City, you realize you are missing a small box of 30 CDs.  No big deal, as you still have hundreds of copies in your vehicle.  You’ll still have enough to finish the tour, and they only cost you $1.10 per unit, so you’re out $33.  But if you were selling these CDs for $10 each, then that 30 CDs you lost was the equivalent of losing $300.

You can now see why it’s a good idea to track your inventory.  When you first get those CDs in your hand, do a quick count to verify the quantity and start a spreadsheet.  Keep records of any sales that you make, copies you give away as gifts or promos, damaged items, etc. 

If you do this, you’ll get a better idea as to how much revenue you made from your album.  You can then compare that data with the costs of producing your album.  This will give you better insight when planning your next CD replication project.

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Somebody tell me where she's finding indie musicians printing 500,000 albums!

By copycatsmedia, January 8, 2009 5:19 pm

I came across this blog post by Heather McDonald about the costs of releasing an album.  She splits up the costs into three categories: recording, pressing, and promotion.  I figured I should throw in my two cents in the area of pressing. 

Here’s one point she makes about excessive packaging options:

If you do decide to press physical copies, try to keep your spending in check. In other words, special packaging, colored vinyl and things like that may be fun, but they also jack up your costs. A common mistake is to assume that if you shell out extra for these kinds of bells and whistles that your album will sell more. Probably not. “Oooh…cool” doesn’t pay the bills, and nifty packaging isn’t what is standing between you and stardom.

This is true.  The “Oooh…cool” comes from the content you create and not some gimmicky packaging.  However, the content you create also includes your graphic artwork.  By working with an experienced graphic designer, you can produce album artwork that is attention grabbing.

Not that there’s anything wrong with getting unique packaging features.  If you have the funding, then go for it!  It will help draw attention to your album.  But if you had to choose between spending a couple hundred dollars on professional graphic design or getting a more expensive packaging option, I’d go with the graphic design.

Here’s a second point she makes about quantity:

Sure, you’ll get a better per unit price for larger orders, but it’s a good idea to press what you think you realistically have a chance of selling. Pressing 500,000 copies to save 30 cents per unit is a false economy if 499,500 end up sitting in your mom’s garage.

That’s quite the extreme example.  As a former sales guy at COPYCATS Media, I’d never discourage anybody from wanting to order a half million CDs.  However, you should give quantity some serious consideration. 

1000 is the minimum quantity for a CD replication project (if you need less, then you’d do a CD duplication project with CDRs).  The next price break is at 2000-2500 units.  If it’s your first project and you are not sure how many albums you will sell, it might be in your best interest to just get the 1000 unit minimum.  If you sell 1000 CDs in short time, you are obviously doing quite well promoting your music.  I wouldn’t worry about the few cents per unit you would have saved if you initially ordered 2000 units.

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DIY vs. Letting Us Do It For You

By admin, January 5, 2009 11:36 am

I came across this post in a music forum.  Somebody was putting together a compilation CD that would be a 2 disc set.  They were wondering whether it would be more cost effective to print them off themselves or to get them done professionally.  I posted a brief answer on that board, but I’ll dig into it a bit deeper here.

Let’s first try to assess the cost of doing a project like this yourself.  They mentioned purchasing a CD printer to do this project and others in the future.  If they were to invest in a printer, I would hope they get a high quality thermal printer and not an inkjet.  Inkjet printing can smear and smudge when exposed to moisture.  If you check out this site, you’ll see that these printers can range from $2,000 - $8,000.

Let’s move on to the discs.  If you are using a high quality thermal printer, you will need to buy blank CDRs that are compatible and absorb the ink correctly.  If you look here, you’ll see that you can get them for $0.27 per disc.  At 3000 units, that would be $810 total.  This is assuming you go with silver discs that do not print on the center hub.  If you want white discs or discs that you can print all the way to the center hole, it can cost up to $0.44 per disc or $1320 total.

Moving on to packaging, you have a few different options: double jewel case, double digipak, or double sleeve/wallet.  Let’s keep it simple and just go with the standard, double jewel cases.  I found a site selling them for $0.30 per unit.  That would cost $900 total.

The last thing you would get is the printed inserts for your project.  Let’s assume you just a plain, 2 panel insert and traycard.  I found this place where you can get 3000 copies for $610.

Let’s add up all of these tangible goods:

Discs: $810

Cases: $900

Inserts: $610

Total: $2310

That’s a generous assumption for a few reasons.  The first is that I assumed the most basic options (2 panel inserts, silver print-to-hub CDRs).  If you wanted a larger insert or print-to-center CDRs, it will cost more.  The second reason is that I didn’t include the cost of the CD/DVD printer.  This is an investment, so you can’t allocate the total cost just to this project.  Since I don’t know this piece of equipment’s lifespan, I couldn’t make a good estimate.

The last thing to consider is all the time and labor you put into this project.  I really can’t put a price on ones time, but I’d imagine it’s valuable.  You would have to burn, print, and assemble 3000 CD packages.  Since they didn’t mention having any type of multi-drive duplicator, I assume their just going to be using the single drives on their computer.  Once they are packaged, you’ll have to get them all shrink-wrapped or poly-wrapped.  You could purchase a roll of the wrap and get a heat gun (or just a hair dryer).

This is a lot of time spent for some savings.  You can get all of this done at COPYCATS Media or other professional duplicators/replicators (but I’d recommend COPYCATS Media).  It will cost about the same, but save you all the time, effort, and frustration.  You’ll also be getting higher quality, replicated CDs. 

If you have a two disc project in the works, get in touch with our sales department to get a quote.

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