As an unsigned band, you may be wondering whether it’s worth your while releasing a CD without the backing of a label in this day and age, especially with digital streaming becoming so popular.
However, while some people see CDs as a bit of a dead format now that streaming has become so popular, they’re actually still selling in huge volumes.
According to the Financial Times, CDs generated a revenue of £468m in 2015 and it’s certainly true that different formats are of value to different groups of fans.
Many people appreciate having a physical copy of their music, as digital downloads can be accidentally wiped, and older generations may not be as comfortable using streaming services.
Furthermore, plenty of people still have CD players in their cars, so your band could be playing while they drive around every day!
CDs also help to get your name out there, as well as helping to generate revenue for the band, so they’re a great asset to your merch.
With that in mind, we’re here to give you a few top tips when it comes to releasing your own CD as an unsigned band!
Plan the process
It’s very important to sit down and plan exactly what you need to do throughout the process before you begin.
This will give you an idea of timelines and help to make sure you don’t forget anything important.
This will roughly involve:
- Recording and mixing your music
- Creating the artwork and having band photoshoots
- Registering for royalty payments
- Getting your album mastered
- Getting it put on CD
- Distributing your CD
There are a few things to bear in mind, such as the fact you’ll want to make sure you have your album artwork sorted before you have your album mastered, so think about this early.
Establish your rights
You’ll need to establish the rights to the music you produce and establish your royalties by registering with the right organisations.
In the UK, the three main organisations you may want to register with are PPL, PRS, and MCPS, and they all do slightly different things.
PPL will also assign you with International Standard Recording Codes, which you’ll need prior to the mastering process and at various other points throughout, so you’ll definitely want to register with them.
If you haven’t got a clue what any of those organisations are or what they do, this article is really helpful and goes into a lot more detail.
Find a company to make your CDs
Companies such as VDC Group, who are an official UK Partner of Sony DADC, are a great option and provide CD duplication and replication services with a quick turnaround time. They also have plenty of knowledge and experience should you need any advice.
If you’re only wanting to manufacture fewer than 500 CDs, duplication is usually the most cost-effective option to go for, but replication gives a much more professional result.
We hope this has helped you to get a good idea of what’s involved in producing a CD for your unsigned band and inspired you to begin the process to get your name out there!