CD & DVD Duplication Process for New Bands and Artists
Duplication vs. Replication
Media duplication is a fairly simple procedure. Media is duplicated much the same way you would burn a CD or DVD on your own computer, but the process is done in greater scale and considerably faster when performed by a duplication service. When a CD or DVD is replicated, it is first checked for digital errors by computer. A glass master is then created from the client supplied master, which is used to make exact replicas of the disc for the client. Once prepared, a thin layer of aluminum and lacquer is used to protect the disc from damage.
Replicating discs instead of duplicating them reduces the error rate of each successive copy made, meaning your discs are more likely to work on all machines and perform well throughout their lifetime. This is due to the painstaking process replication companies go through to ensure quality discs. All major CD and DVD releases are made via replication, partly for this reason.
General Cost and Turnaround Time
Replication is generally cheaper per unit than duplication. However, most replication companies require a minimum order of 500 to 1,000 or more. If you’re only going to be making 100 CD’s or DVD’s, duplication will be cheaper. Replication usually takes a bit more time than duplication as well, but most companies offer a standard turnaround time of 7 to 10 days on quantities below 50,000. Most replication companies have machines that can assemble discs in their packaging with artwork and shrink-wrap if required, which can save you from having to hand assemble the finished product yourself.
Preparing Your Artwork
Submitting artwork to a replication company can be difficult for many new bands because there are specific requirements that can vary depending on the replication company you choose. In general, artwork should be prepared in QuarkXPress, Freehand, Illustrator or Photoshop and submitted as an EPS, PSD or TIFF file. Bands preparing their artwork should allow for a 1/8” bleed potential on all packaging materials, and all files should include crop and fold marks as needed. Not all replication companies require a hard copy of your artwork, but preparing one can be beneficial for both you and the company. That way you can see any potential errors with the packaging before printing a large number of units and the replication company can use the hard copy as a reference in case you made any mistakes or left something unclear within the digital files. If you have any technical questions about your artwork you should talk with the replication company.
Pricing and Buying
When you have your whole package prepared you can begin shopping different companies to see which one offers the best price. Unfortunately, it’s going to take some comparison shopping on your part because different replication companies have different price structures per number of units, and they often offer specials at certain times of the year for new customers. If you live in a big city it’s a good idea to look for a local replication company. That way you won’t have to pay for shipping on a large number of discs. Shipping cost on boxes of CD’s or DVD’s can really add up. If you think you might need to press more discs after your initial run, ask about discounts for returning projects. Many replication companies offer them.
This article was contributed by CD TECHNICAL who provides professional cd duplication services.