You may choose either to design your own artwork, booklets and so on or you may
choose to have someone do it for you. Either way, it’s important to get your materials
together in a timely fashion. Quite frequently, hold ups in artwork design (including,
for example, provision of photographs of the band or biographies) can slow down
your release. Should you be designing your own artwork, but the recording company
is mediating the manufacture of the release, ensure that you ask them for the
templates for the artwork which will be specific to the manufacturer that is to be used.
Often you’ll be asked to supply press-ready PDFs or specific file types – make sure
you know what is required of you.
The vast majority of recordings will require a licence from the PRS for Music
(formerly the MCPS). There are several licence types available, but most frequently
used by non-professional organisations is the Limited Manufacture Licence which
allows for a one-time manufacture of up to 1000 CDs at fixed cost. Again, the
licensing of your product can be discussed with your recording company or directly
with the PRS for Music to ensure that your product is 100% legal.
Marketing is very important. Many people buy CDs on the basis of how good they
look – your artwork is your shop window. Remember to include some of the CD
tracks in the programme of your concerts, then people know what to expect. Be
realistic about your pricing – you need to try and recover all your costs, but don’t be
tempted to overprice ‘lower spec’ CDs. Many people object to paying the same for a
CD that looks ‘homemade’ as they would do for a ‘proper’ one. Think about whether
you’re going to use a distributor, a web shop or if you’re just going to sell them at
concerts and by post. Always look to maximise your sales.
Above all, your recording is there to provide a permanent record of your band or
ensemble of which you should be proud. Hopefully having made it through to the end
of this you’ll have a good idea of where to start planning that recording, but above all
remember that questions which will allow you to get the most out of your recording
should always be asked!