CDs consist of a reflective metal layer embedded in a polycarbonate (clear plastic) disc. The reflective layer is covered with a pattern of millions of tiny pits which represent the �ones and noughts� that make up the digital audio data. This data is recorded in a spiral (a bit like the groove on a vinyl disc) which starts in the centre and winds out toward the edge. At the centre of the disc is an area where the PQ data is held which acts as an �index�, allowing the player to search quickly for tracks. The maximum playing time for a 12 cm audio CD is about 79 minutes, although it is advisable not to exceed 77 minutes as some discs might not play on all machines. An 8cm disc has a playing time of about 22 minutes.
The pattern of pits in the CD is pressed from a master (again a bit like vinyl records). The start of this process is known as glass mastering. The data from the DDPi files or DDP Exabyte tape is translated at high speed into pits on a glass master. The glass master is then used to create �mothers and daughters� or 'stampers' (a �negative� metal impression) from which the individual CDs are pressed (injection moulded). Once the discs have been pressed, any �on-disc� printing is then applied using either a litho or screen printing technique. As standard we include silk screen printing in any two colours within our prices. Litho print is always full colour and achieves a quality akin to printing on paper. You will need to supply finished artwork which carries your design.
All discs are examined for defects in the playing surface and sub-standard on-disc printing. Any discs which fail these quality checks are discarded. Finally discs can be machine packed into cases, with any printed booklets and cards, before being wrapped and boxed for despatch.
As part of the glass mastering process, stampers are marked with the factory of origin. They are retained at the factory and cannot be supplied to customers.
Several types of 'standard' CD packaging are available:
Singles are often supplied in 2 piece slimline cases with a J card (a shaped and folded card designed specifically for singles). Sometimes referred to as a Maxi Single case. These cases can't normally be celowrapped, although they can be shrink-wrapped, but this looks very poor.
The clip in tray is normally grey, but is available in other colours and can also be clear (in this case the tray card is normally printed on both sides). The tray covers the tray card. A booklet is inserted in the front of the case. This can be either a single piece of card, or a folded or stapled booklet.
Other common forms of packing are:
Various forms of specialised CDs are also available, including:
If you think that your single might enter the charts there are various rules you need to comply with, including featuring no more than 3 tracks, and not exceeding 20 minutes in playing time. Other rules also apply, so see links page for more information on who to contact.
If you think that your products will be distributed by a commercial distribution company, or will be stocked by a 'large' retailer, you should consider using a bar code. Bar codes are often used in conjunction with ISRC codes for automatic royalty payments by radio stations. Bar code numbers are controlled in the UK by gs1. Visit their web site at www.gs1uk.org or for more contact information see our links page.
Each bar code number consists of three parts:
In order to use a bar code number you must be a member of gs1 who will allocate you a company prefix to which you add a reference item number. Only members of gs1 can use bar codes. However, there are companies who will act as intermediaries. Barcode 1 UK have been used by our customers and seem to give the level of service needed.
International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC) are codes which can be embedded into the data on an audio CD to identify the owner of each track. They consist of a series of numbers which are allocated by the PPL in the UK, and regulated worldwide by the IFPI. ISRCs can be used by radio stations, etc., to automatically log play out of your material for royalty payments. Visit their web site or for more contact information see our links page.
The Mechanical Copyright Protection Society administer the mechanical copyright of the vast majority of music in the UK on behalf of songwriters and publishers. If you are going to use someone else's material, you will almost always have to pay a royalty. In order to progress your manufacture, you will need to fill in an Application For License form (available on line here), regardless of whether you are recording your own or someone else's songs. Once the form is completed and returned to MCPS they will let you know how much you will owe (if anything) in royalty payments, and then once this is paid, they issue a License To Manufacture. Other than for runs of less than 300 units, we (along with all other reputable duplication facilities) will require a license before we can commence manufacture. Visit their web site or for more contact information see our links page.
We use various factories for CD manufacture (replication), offering the best combinations of quality, price and turnaround time. The options are so complex that it is best that you contact us for a price. In order for us to calculate the cost of your CDs you will need to decide the following:
We include full assembly, cellowrapping of jewel cases and delivery to one mainland UK address as standard. Please read the 'small print' at the bottom of the page for final details!