Having a master in hand might signal the completion of the most important task in the production process, but we are far from being done. Since this project is 100% self produced, we are both the producer and the Record Label, and there is a ton of work to be done even after this stage. We have to handle the design and artwork for the CD, start up the copyright and digital distribution process, do the disk duplication and, set up the infrastructure to sell and distribute the CD, and finally get it out to reviewers and fans. All of these can be surprisingly complex and time consuming tasks. Fortunately, we have some experience with this from our last CD project, so we’d already started working on many of these tasks in parallel. Ramona is a professional graphic artist/web designer, through her company Leitmotif, so she’d started up with the concept and design of the CD a couple of weeks earlier. We have also done e-stores several times before so we’re familiar with the setup issues. There are still many pending tasks:
Decide on a CD duplication company. We finally settle with DiscMakers. They seemed to have the most reasonable prices for the features they offered, so we set up an account with them.
Finalize CD design concept and artwork. Ramona had some great ideas for the CD concept and had started working on it. She scheduled a photo-shoot with photographer Glenn Kulbako. The inital concept was to get pictures of her against the mural outside the Middle East cafe in Cambridge and use that as the focus for the album art. She even went as far as getting permission from the Cambridge arts council to use the photo on the CD. So she does the photo shoot and they get some nice pictures.
However, when she tried to put it all together in the design it somehow didn’t quite work – murals can be tricky to work with. Disappointed with the setback, she booked another shoot for a simpler more personal theme she came up with. It works well and she is finally able to integrate into her artwork. Phew, a lot of work but finally the artwork and layout for the CD is done! It looks great and she came up with this really funky hand drawing of the “One Of Us” theme for the CD donut. Very unique!
In early Nov we sent the final artwork and master to DiscMakers. They were very prompt and sent us a hard copy proof of the art within a day of sending the artwork. Very professional.
Next we registered with the myriad companies that handle the payment and distribution of royalties. ASCAP, soundscan etc.. Its unbelievable how scattered and disorganized some of this stuff is and the amount of research you have to do to dig out that information. They certainly don’t make it easy! We also kick started the digital distribution process while waiting for the CD so that the music can be available on ITunes and other services as soon as possible.
We must have filled in a million forms for all the paperwork you have to do.
Finally, it is time to get the back end in place for the website. The plan this time is to sell the CD as well as provide high quality digital downloads from our website. This means I have to cook up something on our server to offer secure digital downloads as well as hard copy CD sales. I was going to code up a download solution myself, but decided on using BandCamp for the digital downloads instead since they offered the same high quality download options I was planning for anyway. Ramona and I spent a few days revamping her web store. Click here to see the web store in action.
The CD’s are produced and enroute to us via UPS, as I write this. Ramona’s website has been redesigned and is online. The web store is live. The CD release concert is booked. I’m sure there are more things we need to do but we are done for now. It has been a journey…