Step by step
Producing a cd takes time and money. Important is to have a good plan in which you have taken into account a good estimation of the costs and how many cd's to sell.
Making a cd
Think of what kind of cd you want to make: with whom, for whom, which tracks, what kind of sound, etc. Based on these things, also determine what is needed to realize this.
When you make a cd together with other people, it is important to decide who will be responsible for what task; who will do the financing and who will do the administration. You will have to decide on a type of of business because of taxes and liability issues.
In your planning, distinguish the various phases: pre-production, recordings sessions, post-production, release and publicity campaign.
Which studios have the equipment and offer the options you need? Find out if this is affordable for you. Ask for samples of earlier recordings they have done. See whether they have experience and an affinity with your style of music and way of working.
Based on your planning, look at what the costs of each phase will be or how much you are willing to spend. Think of studio costs, the pressing of a certain number of cds, art work; renting (additional) equipment, travel expenses, catering, repairs, a producer, guest musicians and the expenses for promotion.
Subsequently, calculate how many CD's you should sell to break even and explore additional funding such as subsidies, funds, loans and sale by subscription. If you are paying for the production with personal funds, draw up proper agreements about this. Also make agreements on the distribution of income.
Choose a technician and/or producer whom you like to work with, and who fits the budget and objective of you cd production. Make clear arrangements regarding the fee and to what extent you will accept interference. If it is becoming too expensive you might ask an experienced colleague-musician for independent advice to raise the level of quality. Try to carry out all the steps that cannot be outsourced inside the band. Read literature about recording processes and musical production.
As soon as the arrangements have been set you can start renting equipment and reserving a location. Do as much of the preparatory work as possible outside the studio days, so that the days you have available in the studio can be used for the actual recording. Think of arranging the mechanical reproduction rights with Stemra; see what codes you need to put on the cd (ISRC, AV code), and the cover (barcode) and apply for them; determine the order of the tracks before the cd is mastered; etc.
Make sure there is enough space in between the sessions for listening and preparing the next steps. At the end of this step the art work should be ready. Take pictures, video's and sound bites you can use for publicity. On the internet you can already let people know how you are going.
Normally you remain the owner of the cd master. You can arrange the whole distribution yourself or you can also work with a distributor or record label. Make sure the digital distribution has been taken care of.
Make sure your release is newsworthy event. Organise a presentation, arrange interviews, reviews and gigs. Meanwhile make sure people can buy and listen to your CD in many places: VPRO luisterpaal, radio, TV. Prepare the moments that are not only about your music but also about you as an artist. Try to extend the attention for your CD with extra releases: video's bonus tracks, live recordings etc.
Conclude all financial matters as soon as possible after the recording, to retain good professional relationships. Evaluate the recording process to learn from it for a next time.