Getting your band’s album made costs a lot of money, at nearly every stage of the process. Recording an album is notoriously expensive, as some studios charge hundreds of dollars per hour, and the replication process can easily set you back about a grand or so. However, with some planning, it’s possible to greatly reduce the cost of CD replication and duplication.
1. Go minimal on your artwork. The less complex your artwork, the less your CD duplication will cost. If possible, black and white is best, and there are certainly ways to make a great artistic statement using only black and white. If you really want color, by all means go for it, but cut down on the number of pages in your album’s insert. Nobody wants their album to look cheap, so either hire a professional or solicit your fans to find someone with experience in design. You’ll be surprised at how great an album can look using a very basic design, and the money that you’ll save can be spent on promotion.
2. Consider alternatives to jewel cases. Jewel cases are cheap, especially when you’re getting your album replicated rather than duplicated (duplication presses music to CD-Rs, while replication presses audio to actual CDs). However, there are cheaper options out there, for instance two panel sleeves. These aren’t great for a full album (there’s no spine, so they’re instantly less promotable to radio stations and the like), but they’re a good idea for EPs and singles.
3. Shop around. There are a ton of CD replication and duplication companies, and they charge differently, as you might expect. Get your band’s CD job quoted by at least 5 companies, and bring the lowest quote back to the other companies. Try to start a bidding war. Use the market, and your band can save a ton of money.
4. Order in bulk. You’ve got to be careful, here; you don’t want to order too many CDs, or you’re going to regret it. Most bands can’t sell more than 300-400 CDs, so don’t go buying a thousand unless you absolutely know what you’re doing. However, the more you buy, the less you’ll pay. Use that to your advantage. Talk to fans, friends, and other members of your band, and try to accurately gauge the number of CDs that you’ll be able to sell before you order. It’s okay to buy a few more than you actually need–it might even serve as an incentive to help you make some sales, but really think about the number before you order copies of your album.
How does your band reduce the cost of CD replication and duplication? Post in the comments section below this article.