You have created your master disc and now it's time to get some copies done. You don't have the time to fiddle around with equipment or you need too many copies to handle yourself. There are several companies that can help but there is a learning curve. In order to get the best value for your money and avoid delays, you need to choose the correct production process, find a suitable manufacturer and supply accurate artwork and content the first time round.
Decide between replication and duplication.Duplication is copying usually done on tower or automated burners onto blank CD-R or DVD-R media. Replication is factory environment pressing of the discs with results like you would find in commercial music and video stores. Most companies will offer duplication for quantities less than 500 units and replication for quantities over 500 units. Time does also play a factor because if you need your copies in one or two days, replication will no longer be a viable option. And yes, there is a difference between these two processes especially if you are dealing with DVD production. There are still standalone DVD players that will not play DVD-R media and this can be a major concern for anyone distributing video content.
Find a company you can work withA simple Google search for "cd duplication" or "cd replication" etc will throw up a lot of choices. It is a very competitive business. Add your city or town to the search if you want to work with someone close by. Check out the website and ensure the company clearly explains their range of products. Give them a call to discuss your requirements. Be aware that some companies will give you prices for a two colour onbody label print just to appear cheap and the prices for a full colour print are not as fantastic.
Organise your artworkIt is very important you use the templates provided your manufacturer. Pay particular attention to supplying adequate bleed to artwork and using the CMYK colour profile. Your manufacturer should have clear artwork specifications and even a list of hiccups to avoid. They should also advise you on the printing process which will provide the best results on your onbody CD/DVD print. If you think you might get confused, it's best enlisting the help of a professional designer or asking your CD or DVD company to put the artwork together for you. It makes a huge difference in the outcome if you use someone professional instead of trying to create artwork in Word!
Decide on your packagingThink about how you plan to distribute your CD or DVD. Will it be sent by mail? Will it be attached to your promotional literature? Will it be sold at a retail outlet? Having a clear idea will narrow down your packaging options. Most companies should provide you with a range of options varying from a clear plastic wallet to creative packaging such as digipacks and printed card wallets.
- Choose the CD or DVD company wisely. There are so many fly-by-night duplicators who are not committed to quality. Make sure that you speak to customer service representatives and get a good feel for their project management skills.
- Always make a copy of your master. In fact, make two or three copies. Send the company two copies in case one disc gets scratched in the mail.
- Make yourself available. Don't go AWOL after submitting your order. There might be a problem with your master and artwork that can only be resolved by you or your designer. Any tiny issue can cause a delay.
- Don't plan any events until you actually receive your products. So many companies and musicians plan release dates without having the product in hand. Avoid last minute panic and ensure that you have your goods before planning important events.