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CDRs for commercial recordings

John Robinson (aka Cittern) 12 Jan 04 - 05:30 AM
treewind 12 Jan 04 - 07:15 AM
Homeless 12 Jan 04 - 09:21 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Jan 04 - 09:31 AM
Bev and Jerry 12 Jan 04 - 07:35 PM
Cattail 12 Jan 04 - 07:59 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Jan 04 - 11:04 PM
Kudzuman 12 Jan 04 - 11:33 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Jan 04 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,VRDPKR 13 Jan 04 - 12:34 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Jan 04 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,VRDPKR 13 Jan 04 - 11:19 AM
Homeless 13 Jan 04 - 12:07 PM
treewind 13 Jan 04 - 03:38 PM
Cluin 13 Jan 04 - 04:04 PM
treewind 13 Jan 04 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,MMario 13 Jan 04 - 04:32 PM
early 13 Jan 04 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,Sandy Andina 14 Jan 04 - 12:28 AM
Cluin 14 Jan 04 - 12:34 AM
dick greenhaus 14 Jan 04 - 12:44 AM
GUEST,Russ 14 Jan 04 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,pavane 14 Jan 04 - 08:10 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Jan 04 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Russ 14 Jan 04 - 11:13 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Jan 04 - 09:52 AM
Cluin 15 Jan 04 - 03:15 PM
Cluin 15 Jan 04 - 03:21 PM
Cluin 15 Jan 04 - 03:32 PM
JohnInKansas 15 Jan 04 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,LANCASHIRE LAD 16 Jan 04 - 06:50 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Jan 04 - 10:33 PM
John Robinson (aka Cittern) 17 Jan 04 - 06:08 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 17 Jan 04 - 12:24 PM
John Robinson (aka Cittern) 17 Jan 04 - 03:23 PM
Lancashire Lad 18 Jan 04 - 01:31 AM
GUEST,VRDPKR 18 Jan 04 - 06:07 PM
Mr Red 11 Aug 04 - 11:32 AM
Terry Allan Hall 11 Aug 04 - 01:45 PM
JohnInKansas 11 Aug 04 - 03:36 PM
treewind 11 Aug 04 - 06:32 PM
Mr Red 12 Aug 04 - 05:21 PM
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Subject: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: John Robinson (aka Cittern)
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 05:30 AM

I was wondering what others thought of the use of CDRs for commercial releases. I know the evil empire of Celtic Music has been heavily criticised for such practice, but I was amazed (and a little dischuffed) to order "The Waifs" CDs from Amazon and find they were CDRs.

They play fine on all my CD players and look and sound professional, but it is a little surprising given the amount of air play they have had through 2003. It was claimed (and I can believe it from the quality of their music) that they were the big hit of Cambridge after all. Can they really be selling so few CDs as to be unable to justify a "proper" pressing?

I also have a practical interest since we are about to press a CD!

All the best
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: treewind
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 07:15 AM

It does seems incredible that anything selling though Amazon and getting a lot of airplay is produced in such small quantities (less than about 500, at a guess) that pressing isn't worthwhile.

I hope this isn't another case of lack of accountability for the number of CDs produced, as is suspected to be the case with CM.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Homeless
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 09:21 AM

Here is a whitepaper that talks about using CD-Rs and problems with them, 7 fatal mistakes. As a photographer using CDs to archive all my work, I found it very interesting.
CD and CD-R use entirely different technologies, and a CD-R doesn't last nearly as long, especially if they get exposed to sunlight. When I lay out my cash, I'm purchasing not just the enjoyment of the music, but the knowledge that I'll be able to listen to it for years. You don't get that with a CD-R.
I personally would be very annoyed to pay full price for a CD, only to receive a CD-R. It's happened to me before, and I won't do business with those people again.
Don't cheat your customers.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 09:31 AM

John, can I ask how you know that the Waif's CD was a CD-R?   I have a copy and I am 99% sure that it is a manufactured CD.

I do receive CD-R's from independent artists for my radio program. I can only think of one CD-R that wouldn't play on the air, but the disc was scratched, something that could happen to any CD.

There are a lot of urban myths surrounding CD-R's. While it is true that they are burned as opposed to pressed, they should last a lifetime if you take proper care. This assumes that you use a decent disc in the process. The early CD-R's were made from cheaper material and they could be faulty.

Most CD manufacturers require a minimum run of 1000 pieces. With the printing of inserts, jewel cases, shrink wrap, etc., you should be paying between $1 to $2 per disc.

CD-R's are actually more expensive in large quantities, which is why I find the Waif's story hard to believe.   CD-R's are fine for artists who think they will only sell a dozen or so.

The investment in a professionally produced CD is not as huge as it was 10 years ago. Frankly, if you do the math, you should be able to sell 100 discs and turn a profit.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 07:35 PM

Homeless:

This is a great site. Thanks for posting it. We know very little about CDs and have not read all of the site but it seems just a little bit paranoid to us. How does it strike others?

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Cattail
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 07:59 PM

Thanks for the site Homeless, some good interesting reading there.

Bev and Jerry, I don't know about paranoid. They seem to present
the problems, (if there are any), in a fairly impartial way, they
do mention one or two products (disks and pens) that they reccomend,
and, of course, they promote the products that they sell. Fair
enough.
As to the rest of the content, it seems very reasonable to me, I
welcome any information on the use and storage of these disks, and
it did get me wondering if the cheap bulk disks I am buying would
last as long as I hoped that they would.

Who knows? have we been using them long enough for anyone to say
whether they will last one year or ten?

When I think about this sort of thing, I always think about when they
started making boats out of glass fibre, they estimated that they
would only last for ten to fifteen years, now look at them, still
looking good after thirty or forty years. On the other hand they
might have only lasted five years.

I think that taking the best ideas out of all the information that
you can get your hands on can only enhance the life of your disks,
(and the precious information on them).

Just my 2p's worth

And thanks again for the site Homeless.

Cheers

Cattail !


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 11:04 PM

CD's and CD-R's were never meant to be permanent storage media. Neither were wax cylinders, 78's, LP's, cassette tapes, or video tape. However,you can find each of those items in playable condition IF the owner gave them a proper care. Don't start panicking about CD-R's. There is an element of paranoia that causes people to question the durability of CD's. Urban legends are born. With reasonable care a CD-R should last at least for your lifetime, and probably the lifetime of your grandkids. IF it is something that is very important to you, make a copy or two.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Kudzuman
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 11:33 PM

I have some CD-R's that are ten years old at and play great and are played alot. No problem. They play on my computer, my boombox, my super cheapie boombox in my shop and on my home component system. What's the problem? I don't assume any media to last for 100 years (of course I'll be dead and then I really don't care as I'll be playing the music of the spheres no doubt!). I also have quite a few 30 year old cassettes that work and sound just fine (I've was told that cassettes are useless after 5 years!) Myths are so easy to propogate aren't they?

Kudzuman


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Jan 04 - 11:48 PM

Kudzuman, I think the problem is that someone will leave their CD-R in a hot car or leave it on a shelf (not in the case) where sunlight streams across it. They may also scratch the disc or smear their fingerprints on the surface.   When they discover the disc won't play, instead of blaming carelessness, it is easier to blame the CD-R as being faulty.

There is SOME truth to the myth in the fact that early discs and cheap discs are not always made to the highest standard. The failure rate is exceptionally low these days - IF you use decent equipment, a decent disc, and you store the disc properly.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,VRDPKR
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 12:34 AM

In the past 12 years, I've recorded in 3 studios and checked out 5 or 6 others. Always had to set up an appointment, drive some distance, and watch the clock ticking my budget away. Had to mix when studio time was available, had to order in batches of 500 to 1000. Last year I bought a Mac G4, Cubase studio and a couple of mid level mics. Now I record at home when I want. If allergies are bothering me, I wait a week. I mix, make a CD R and drive around in the car for a week to see how it is. If I don't like it, I redo it. I work for an hour or two in the morning. Then I go for a walk. I try to do this every day I'm at home. On a good week I'll sell maybe 10 CD's. How long will it take me to sell 500-1000? Now I make them at home. If I have a big concert coming up I'll make 100. Just bought an Epson 900 that will print directly onto the CD. Love it.. Now I've finished one album, working on the next. I like everything I've done at home better than anything I've done in the studio. As far as quality on CD R's, my old duplicator used to do them in house. Then he started shipping them to LA. The last order I placed was shipped to me from Singapore and I had 8 or 9 people contact me because their CD wouldn't play. I worry about how many people had a problem and I didn't hear from them. Now I do them at home and so far, so good.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 09:27 AM

VRDPKR, it sounds like you have a good setup, but if you ever stopped to think about how much you've spent in supplies, printer ink, and your own time, you are probably losing money.   I don't know who you used or what kind of deal you made in Singapore, but there are reputable places here in the U.S. that can make REAL CD's for under $2 a disc for 1000. You could probably turn a profit after selling 100 copies (10 weeks by your estimation), and you could spend your newly found free time writing songs or practicing.

New technology is great.   When I started doing my radio show back in 1980, vinyl was the only option. Sure, people made cassettes but they usually sounded hissy and you could not play them easily on radio. Back in 1980 I would receive maybe 100 LP's (folk) a year.   Now I am receiving a dozen a week, many that are self-produced.   While I am always astounded at the talent out there, I often find a few clunkers. Just because people can record a CD doesn't mean that they should. Family and friends may give great feedback and support, but I urge "new" artists to go beyond that and get some critiques from musicians or fans beyond your inner circle before investing time and money into such a project.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,VRDPKR
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 11:19 AM

I didn't make the deal in Singapore. The company in the US I was ordering from did. I started out trying to buy local. The company I was working with was bought out by a bigger company, which was bought out by an even bigger company. I started out knowing who I was talking to when I would call. By the end I was talking to the newest,(cheapest) manager. You are right about the investment in time and money, but on the other hand, I need a computer anyway. I need a mixing board and mics. The only real additional expence was the Cubase software. Another benefit is I have all original tracks and can put togather a special album (Valentine's, St. Patrick's, Christmas,) at short notice. I like having total control of my product. Ever finished a project and belatedly realize you've missed something? I have. Once others have recorded, mixed, made masters, covers, printed material, ect,, etc, it is difficult and expensive to change anything. Plus you have 500 copies sitting around. This way I can keep fine tuning. I only have a few more copies than I think I will need for the next month. My real concern is quality. I want the product I offer to be good. It is still early days, but so far none of the CDs I've sold has come back to me as defective. As far as price, if they are costing me another $.25 apiece, it's worth it to me since I don't have to write a check for $1500 when I order. As far as time, I like doing it. Better than TV.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Homeless
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 12:07 PM

I just reread the thread, and I keep seeing one word and one phrase that really bother me. The word is "if" and the phrase is "proper care." As a consumer, I like to think that I do take proper care of my CDs. As a vendor, can you take the gamble that all your customers will take proper care?

Urban myths aside, CD and CD-R are two different technologies. CD-R is light sensitive. CD is not. I have in my possession a CD-R that works fine in my computer, is not recognised on my home stereo, and some songs will play (sometimes) on the car stereo. I also have a CD-R which was labelled with a Sharpie marker, and you can now see thru it where it was written upon. If anyone wants to make the trip to the Midwest I'd be happy to show these to you.

Ron said, "...leave their CD-R in a hot car ..." I am guilty of this. I do most of my disc listening in the car. I have a 10 CD changer in my car, and no air conditioning. I almost always have CDs loaded. So my discs do get subjected to heat and light (while I'm driving as well as when the car is sitting). While CD isn't impervious to this, it is not nearly as sensitive as a CD-R is. So CD-Rs rarely go in the car with me. As a consumer, if I can't take a group's disc with me and listen to it where I want, it is worthless.

All that being said, I also have some CD-Rs that have handled quite a bit of rough treatment and still work. I also have a CD that was commercially pressed in '87 that will no longer play. If you hold it up and look thru the back side, you can see right thru it. I don't know if it was a cheap pressing or if it's deteriorated or what. I've kept it just because it's the only CD I've ever seen do that.

I was talking to an audio guy the other day and he showed me a new type of CD-R put out by Memorex, I think, in which the dye layer is black. I'd commented on it because I thought black was not supposed to reflect light. He said not only do they work well, but are highly resistant to tracking errors because of scratches. He picked up one of his CDs and scratched the hell out of it with his fingernail, then stuck it in a CD player and it played fine. He said they've switched to those exclusively because, "When you're playing the intro for the CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation to walk out, you can't afford for the disc not to track." I don't have any experience with them, but it might be worth looking into.


Bev and Jerry - yes, the site seems a little paranoid to me, but look at the intended audience. It was written for people who use CD-Rs for archival purposes. These are people for whom that data has to be there years later when they return to that CD-R.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: treewind
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 03:38 PM

Ron, I've done CDRs at home and I have a reasonably good idea of how much the ink, paper, blanks and cases cost. Ink is a surprising amount of it. About £2 per CD altogether. Now add in my time and it's probably not a very profitable excercise, thought I wouldn't calling it losing money, just working for a rather poor rate.

But then the rest of folk music's like that - there's another thread going on about that....

Anahata


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Cluin
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 04:04 PM

Our band, Blarney, put out a disc on CD-R format because it was to be a small local run. We run off a few at a time (200 initial, then another couple of runs of 30 or 40) on the home PC when we need them. There are about 300 out there, the oldest about 3 years old now, and none have come back. No problems at all that we've heard of. We used respected name-brand CD-Rs (Maxell and Sony) and I'm sure some people have not treated them with archival cotton gloves, so they are probably treated about as well as regular CDs.

I was a bit dubious about the technology at first, not wanting to sell a product that might be defective, but I'm persuaded it fits the bill. We did use stick-on labels for them too (the CD Stomper thingy), making sure they are adhered well and flat and that worked out too. So I think it's a pretty good option for indie musicians to use. It's worked for us.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: treewind
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 04:18 PM

I've used unbranded*[1] blanks at £13 per 100 on a Plextor CD burner, burned at max speed which was x24*[2] and had no trouble with them.

I do believe that having a good CD writer helps. Plextor usually cost a bit more than other makes but have a good reputation for reliable burning.

*[1] I've read somewhere that "Unbranded" means made by a reputable manufacturer but not carrying any manufacturer's logo (in fact they are totally blank which is the whole point). Anyway CDRs are all made in one of a very small number of factories, whatever brand name is stamped on them.

*[2] There's a myth that burning at slow speeds makes better CDs. As long as you hard disk can keep up with the data rate, burning within the CDR's rated speed is perfectly OK and in some tests was more reliable than slower speeds.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 04:32 PM

the myth about burning at slower speeds came about because of underrun - the disk could not supply data at the rate it was being burned.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: early
Date: 13 Jan 04 - 07:10 PM

With regard to the cdr debate I have burned many CD-R's over the last four years for my self and other local artists with very few failures but must point out that to reproduce them at 24 speed is asking for trouble even with the best media. I rarely burn at speeds above 8 and with my Yamahah Audio mastering get very good results ( this basicically stretches the information or lands and pits to the top end of tolerance ) playback is more reliable and sound quality improved . For most folk artists who are yet to make it big or manage to break into the circuit CDr's offer the ideal solution and if I might add, some of the CD-R's I have bought are a better product than many of the CD's produced by artists who are luckily wealthy enough to go for a pressing working at the same level


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 12:28 AM

It's been my experience that older CD players in cars and boomboxes can't always read all colors of dye substrates, and many CD player manufacturers expressly warn against using CDs with paper or other stick-on labels. My own car changer (ca. 2002) chokes on paper labels and it's always a gamble whether a home-burned CD will play well or skip--it's happened to me many times, even when using high-quality burners (whether built-in or studio-quality standalone). If you can afford to have CD-Rs printed right on the surface, the label problem disappears, but not the dye incompatibility.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Cluin
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 12:34 AM

I figure if I'm going to go to the trouble of archiving data on a CD-R, I'm going to burn at a slower speed (max 16x) to make sure I get a good copy.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 12:44 AM

A decent duplication program provides for verification--a byte-by-byte comparison of source and copy. If the copy verifies, it makes no difference at what speed it was burned.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 06:56 AM

I am helping a friend produce home made CDs.

No matter what you multiply a minimum order of 1000 by, it becomes a large chunk of change for an artist with a very small or nonexistent budget to produce up front.

Even if the total final cost or producing the CDs at home exceeds the cost of having the CDs reproduced commercially by a fair margin, paying those costs in small installments over a period of time might be the only way the artist can handle the finances.

And then there are 1000 CDs to deal with.

Modern recording technology has two benefits that are sometimes confused. It makes it possible for amateurs to do things that previously only professionals could do. It makes it affordable for amateurs to do things affordably that previously only professionals could do.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 08:10 AM

Mrs Pavane uses CD-R for disks to sell at gigs. The £1.80 each we pay includes case, on-disk printing and MCPS fees (Pop, not folk). We then have to add the inserts, which I print myself.

So far, we have bought 200 for £360, and sold about half in 7 months. At the current exchange rate, $2000 for 1000 would be about £1.20 each so I suppose we may consider it for the next one. Break-even point obviously depends on the price, but so does the MCPS fee, which complicates the calculations.

By the way, if you have any tracks on your CD which are subject to copyright, you SHOULD pay the MCPS fee (in the UK, that is).
Checking is not such a simple job though.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 10:11 AM

Russ,I understand the issues with money. A budget of at least $2000 is needed to have CD's pressed.   Going CD or CD-R should really depend on the career path of the individual.   If the individual is doing this as a hobby, then a CD-R is perfectly fine. If the individual has made the committment to go "pro" (and this is a decision that shouldn't be made on a whim), then the investment in a professionally produced CD may make a huge difference.

Speaking from a radio perspective, I have had conversations with many Folk-DJ's. Some will not touch a CD-R. I happen to enjoy the music that is being self-produced and I gladly accept them. However, I have seen many self-produced CD's that do look "home made". You can tell when an insert has been printed on a inkjet printer. Let's be honest, we are all consumers. When given a stack of CD's, many people will gravitate to a CD that looks more appealing. The CD is a reflection of what the individual thinks of themselves. If you show a committment, the consumer will respond in kind.

Again, I would like to stress that what I said in the last paragraph is certainly not universal. My comments are meant to give a persepective from a radio point of view. Your audience at shows and presenters in clubs may have a different persepective. I have found MANY wonderful home-produced CD-R's that I play often on my show. Many have come from Mudcatters. Many of these are far better than some of the crap that the larger independent labels produce.   However, take a look at the FOLK-DJ website (Folk-radio.org). Look at what others are playing.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 14 Jan 04 - 11:13 PM

Ron,

Excellent points. Your perspective and honesty make your contributions extremely valuable.

However, my friend IS a pro. Really. My assistance in turning his earliest professionally produced tapes into home-made CDs that a friend could then reproduce was a financial breakthrough for him.

The home-made products look and sound great. But that's not particularly important. It would be a complete waste of time for him to send CDs of his variety of traditional music to "Folk" DJs or "Folk" venues. The attendees of his workshops, festival appearances, house concerts, and camps, however, snap them up.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 09:52 AM

Russ, I think your friend knows his "market" and has made a good decision. I do agree, homemade products can look and sound great. Technology has advanced in the last 10 years or so to enable us to perpetuate this type of music in ways that the musicologists of the past never dreamed of. For new songwriters, it is a tremendous opportunity to share their songs with new audiences. With MP3's it is also possible to create topical songs and get them to the outlets that will spread the message.

My comments are geared for those who are looking for radio airplay as well as potential jobs at venues. People respond to packaging, we are all consumers. I do know that SOME (emphasis on some because it is not universal) folk venues do listen to radio. Radio helps build a "buzz" or introduce an artist to a new market. Again, as you've pointed out, this doesn't apply to everyone. It sounds like your friend has made connections and has his "route" clearly mapped out. That is really the key.   Too many people think that they will make a CD in their basement, send a copy to a radio station, and shortly thereafter they will find their calendar filled with bookings across the country.   Obviously there is a LOT of hard work and research involved.

By the way, you said that it would be a complete waste of time for your friend to send out CD's to Folk DJ's. That isn't necessarily true.   I for one always look for good traditional music to share. I can't tell the artist that they will become rich and famous by having me play their CD, but I can say that I will mention weblinks so my audience can get in touch with the artist if they are interested in purchasing a copy. Also, it may be my own selfish reason, but I do enjoy playing good music on the radio!!


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Cluin
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 03:15 PM

Verification in the software only tells you the information has been burned to the disk right away. It doesn't tell you how good a copy has been made. And it doesn't tell you how well it's going to be read by another CD reader.

CD-Rs are made with a light-sensitive dye that the laser "burns" a pi into. Slower speeds allow a deeper, more defined pit to be burned, one which will last longer against the inevitable degradation due to exposure to ambient light, direct sunlight or application of the laser when it is read. If I want something archived, I want it to last.

Also, older CD players and CD-Rom drives can have trouble reading a disk that has been burned at high speed. I've seen that happen. Try the the same info (music, files, whatever) burned at a slower speed and the disk is read, no problem.

There is difference of opinion amongst the experts in this field about which write speeds to use, but the general consensus is to not use the max speed if you want to avoid problems, either in buffer underruns or errors in writing. Some say you should burn at a very slow speed; others say that the CD-Rs rated for higher speeds will actually not burn as well at slow speeds. All will agree that your best bet is somewhere around the middle. So with a 24x writing speed capable drive and 40x rated CD-Rs, I'm not going to burn any faster than 16x, to hedge my bets. I'm in no great rush when I burn a CD; I can wait for a reliable, more durable copy. Especially when I'm backing up files I plan to delete from my hard drive. I want to know their going to be there years later.

With audio disks, there is error correction in players, that will fill in lost bits of audio with adjacent bits, similar to what compression like MP3 does, so there is some degradation of quality when a sound file full of errors is played back, even if you can't hear it.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Cluin
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 03:21 PM

Oh, and the non-branded CD-Rs...

"...Unbranded disks tend not to have an extra coating on the bottom layer to further protect the CD. A deep scratch could reach the compound and physically destroy the data; any scratch could potentially deflect the laser beam and cause a read error. "

from this site.


I also read that the black CD-Rs (though they look cool for audio) were designed for game machines and shouldn't be used for audio or data. (I'll try and find that page again)


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Cluin
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 03:32 PM

Here is the page that suggested not to use the black CDRs for audio. More good info on the page too.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Jan 04 - 07:27 PM

Most of the good stuff has been covered, but a couple of comments might be helpful.

The "modern" CD from the name brand suppliers is usually coated, over the recording layer and the "soft" plastic top sheet, with a coat of harder lacquer to protect the top surface. While there is some additional resistance to scratches, the main purpose of the coating is to reduce gas (and liquid) permeability of the surface. Some makers claim a degree of UV protection from the topcoat, but I haven't found reliable info on how prevalent, or how effective, it is.

Even with this lacquer coat, a disk may delaminate if moisture/gas contaminants seep in from the edges, so some manufactures put an "edge coat" on to seal the rim.

While the top coat is a relatively small increment in the manufacturing cost, it it often omitted on "no-name bulk" CDs, even if they're made by one of the major producers. The edge seal is "very expensive" to apply, so is almost never present on the unbranded bulk ones. Whether this makes a difference probably depends on how you handle and store your disks.

The house brand blanks will normally be tested to verify that some certain "maximum acceptable error rate" is not exceeded, and will likely also be subjected to at least some handling and durability tests on a lot by lot basis. The "bulk" disks, to keep cost down, will have a higher "acceptable error rate," and are unlikely to go through any significant lot test for other characteristics. This means that the reflection layer may be thinner, a cheaper dye layer may be used, and other unknown cost reduction "skimps" may be used.

Providing very cheap disks for those who need them is certainly a valuable service, and the providers need not be denigrated as giving us "defective" products; but it must be understood that these bulk disks present greater "unknowns," and hence are questionable for "important work."

Reports from data disk manufactureres and users indicate that "name brand" disks can be expected to preserve data for 50 years or more, if reasonably stored. Accelerated life testing by manufacturers makes this estimate quite credible. We'll know for sure in about 50 years. (That's about the same "archive life" as for stuff laserjet printed on typical office paper.) Bulk disks usually should not be considered good for more than a couple of years, and exposure to direct sunlight may erase some of them in a few hours. Some of these disks may retain useful data for very long times, but there is no assured life for them, and no significant testing to make any estimate other than "short" believable.

Regarding compatibility with auto and other portable devices, one select group heavily into audio play from CDs and CD-Rs makes the claim that the main cause of failure to play in mobile equipment is off-center labels. Most auto and other portable players run a small felt pad or two on the outer 1/8 inch or so of the disk to keep it from bouncing around. If an applied label is even slightly off center, this can cause speed fluctuations that the player can't follow. Even a screen print label that's off can apparently cause the problem, and it's seen fairly frequently in "commercial" discount audio disks sold in truck stops where these guys hang out.

I haven't seen technical info to back this claim, but these truckers are "pretty pro" and may know what they're talking about. If you've had problems, an unlabelled disk (at least without a paper label) from the same lot that wouldn't play might be worth a try.

John


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,LANCASHIRE LAD
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 06:50 PM

Taking this thread back to its source (ie the the question below) I have a few comments to contribute

         
I was wondering what others thought of the use of CDRs for commercial releases. I know the evil empire of Celtic Music has been heavily criticised for such practice, but I was amazed (and a little dischuffed) to order "The Waifs" CDs from Amazon and find they were CDRs.

They play fine on all my CD players and look and sound professional, but it is a little surprising given the amount of air play they have had through 2003. It was claimed (and I can believe it from the quality of their music) that they were the big hit of Cambridge after all. Can they really be selling so few CDs as to be unable to justify a "proper" pressing?

I also have a practical interest since we are about to press a CD!

I got some flack when I attempted to defend Dave Bulmer / Celtic Music for the manufacture of CDRs in another thread. At that time I stated that many artists (some very well established) and a number of labels were now switching to pressing on CDR for commercial reasons. I'm sorry if this upsets some of you, but the hard facts of the matter are that CDRs are the only commercially viable method for many artists to get a decent return for their endeavours.
Sure you can get CDs pressed for about a pound a time if you want 1000 copies. However usually you will have to pay additional sums should you require multi colour artwork, additional on body printing, etc. This is on top of the cost of having a glass master made, etc. By the time you have made a "true" CD your costs are aprox 3 pounds per disc. When you consider that most distributors buy in from labels at aprox £4 per CD this means there is only aprox 1 pound profit per disc.
Add into the equasion that it may take a year or more to sell these 1000 CDs then there is little money in it for either the artist or label.
However with todays technology, an artist or label can press to demand at a much lower cost per unit using CDR / home PC printing, etc. This avoids tying up capital and usually means the artist can sell the CD at gigs for around a tenner and still make enough to enjoy a beer after the show.
Airplay and publicity do not always equate with sales. I remember speaking to Robin Williamson a couple of years ago and he said that most of his recent albums were issued as 1000 copies only and generally were "on catalogue" for aprox 2 years before the initial run sold out. If an artist such as that, with a keen following on both sides of the Atlantic only presses in such relatively small numbers, what hope is there for the newcomer?
As sad as it is to contemplate, we are a minority audience. We love live music and all try to support it by turning up to shows large or small and buying CDs / CDRs. Sadly though, there are just not enough of us these days. This means that for our favourite artists to keep playing, they have to work on a cost effective basis. This means CDRs!

The same will apply to record labels. Take the following as an example.

HMV (or any other record chain) sells most new folk CDs for aprox £14 each.
They control the high street and "buy in" from distributors at aprox £7 - £8 plus vat per CD. and make between 70 - 100 per cent profit

The distributor buys from the label / artist at aprox 4 pounds per disc

If the artist sells direct to the distributor he makes possibly 2 quid per CD from "true" CD releases. If he sells all of his output to them, that is only 2,000 quid a year (presuming the artist releases an album a year). If the artist is signed to a label, the resulting profit is considerably less, as the label has to cover its overheads.

Given that the artists and labels make so little from sales ikt can be no surprise that they see CDR / PC technology as a lifeline. Its a sad fact, but true, that without utilising modern technology many artists and labels will not be able to continue.

Just as examples, these are a few artist's albums (new or re-issued) I have bought this year that have been produced on CDR. Visually and audibly I cant tell the difference though!

Michael Chapman
Jon Raven
Archie Fisher
Mike Waterson
Five Hand Reel
Sid Kipper

I'm not sure if they will last a lifetime, but I will certainly get my moneys worth out of them. I'm of an age that grew up with vinyl LPs and therefore I'm used to the deterioration in sound quality. It doesnt worry me, if CDRs will be worn out in 10 years time. If that happens, I'll just go and buy another copy and have another 10 years of pleasure. If you consider the small outlay as opposed to the pleasure a CD or CDR gives, it seems very petty indeed to criticise the medium you buy it in. If you enjoy the sound, thayts all that counts.

Anyway, thats got that off my chest. Back to my beer

tara


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 10:33 PM

Tara, I'm sorry but I have to disagree with your math. Either that, or the CD manufacturer is ripping you off. Yes, most runs are for 1000 pieces or so, but a reputable firm will include the glass master with that run. For under $2 per disc you should be able to get everything you are asking for. $2 is actually on the high side, it will be closer to $1 if you do your homework. They will also provide 4 color screen or off set printing on the disc with the price. Since most artists I know sell discs for between $10 to $15 per disc, they can make back their money with 100 copies if they plan correctly.

Your mention of HMV and distributors is only one avenue, and as you pointed out, it can be costly. Here in the states, most independent artists rely more on sales at shows and a growing number through the internet.

I also agree with you about the quality of CD-R's. I have no problem purchasing them - but the artist should be upfront about it. I never received an answer to my earlier question about how the first poster knew the Waif's CD was actually a CD-R. I would also like to ask you the same question Tara, of the list of names you gave us, how did you know?   Did the artist tell you upfront?


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: John Robinson (aka Cittern)
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 06:08 AM

Ron - apologies for the delay in responding to your question - a very busy time right now!

To answer your question - the Waifs' CDs show a distinct change of
shade on the "burned" side, which as far as I am aware is the clearest sign that the CD is a CDR. I've shown the CDs to a number of people and they all agree that they are CDRs.

The Waifs are not signed to a label (the CD clearly states this is an "independant release") but is distributed by Hot Records/Didgeridoo records who appear to be an established company (their biggest name is Eva Cassidy). I think I'll contact them - not
to complain but because I am intrigued ... and not a little concerned that an act like The Waifs appear to have such low sales.

In partnership with Julie Ellison I have just set up a new label and we are about to send our first release to mastering - and then to the pressing plant. I agree with the earlier comments about actual costs, if you can be sure of selling a reasonable number then pressing makes a great deal of sense, and of course it is more professional.

However, I have been wondering about the acceptibility of CDRs for a while and, ironically, I was thinking about posting this question on Mudcat anyway when the Waifs CDs arrived and prompted my post.

In terms of our own label (Acoustyistics Ltd) I know that Julie will easily sell enough to justify pressing - but there will be some artists who we would be interested in signing for artistic reasons but for whom it would be difficult to make a financial case due to likely low sales. There is one project at the moment under consideration (some inventive reworkings of trad American songs) which will never tour or gig but will produce material worthy of recording. I believe this material should be made available for artistic reasons but it has to be done so in a financially responsible manner.

In these cases I would be happy to put the effort into recording and
production (which we are mostly doing in-house) but would feel a little uneasy comitting the label to a pressing of 1000 or more CDs.   As an embryonic label this would take funds away from the job of promoting our main releases.

I was therefore thinking of releasing these "special projects" on CDR - following VRDPKR's system of "burning as sold" - and probably on a separate imprint (provisionally called "The Acoustyistics Red Label").   It would be made clear to the consumer that these were CDRs - and why they were not released on the main imprint.

The arguments given here have been illuminating (Mudcat proving to be a stunningly effective resource once again), and I think you have all convinced me that, as long as the status of the product is made clear to people before they buy, then releasing on CDR is acceptable.

All the best
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 12:24 PM

John,

Best of luck with the label. I hope you will also keep me in mind, I would love to hear your music and share it with my listeners - and I don't mind CD-R's!   I think you are making some good choices and by being honest with your customers, you are providing a great service.

As for The Waif's, here in the U.S. their CD "Up All Night" has been issued by Compass Records. I can almost guarantee that they have sold more than 1000 copies here in the U.S., and I am reasonably sure it is not a CD-R. Since this website is read by folks all over the world I thought it was important to talk about this, because Compass Records has a great reputation and I don't think people should be given an impression that they are not selling proper CD's. Thanks for clearing it up! It sounds like you received a CD from a source other than Compass.   You also mentioned Eva Cassidy, her recordings have been issued by Blix Street Records in the U.S. and they are also a reputable company. I do not know, nor have I heard of the record label you mentioned.

You will be able to notice a change in shade on CD-R's, and you can also see a subtle change on a manufactured CD. You are right, it is more noticeable on CD-R.

Good luck, and I am looking forward to your releases!

Ron Olesko


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: John Robinson (aka Cittern)
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 03:23 PM

Ron - thanks for the comments and yes we will send you copies of our releases. Maybe you need to PM me to give me the contact details - or is there a website for your show?

Just one final point on the specific topic of the Waifs CDs. I am not suggesting that Hot Records are in any way disreputable. The Waifs only recently "broke" in the UK after they received a lot of radio coverage following their appearence at the Cambridge Festival.

It may be that Hot Records are now pressing their CDs and the Amazon stock was old stock. It may be that even now they dare not take a risk of holding large quantities of stock for any of their artists (The Waifs are not certain to go on getting good radio coverage) and Hot Records claim to have a catalogue of over 6000 records. That's a lot of stock in you are going to press 1000 of each!

If I get a response from them I'll let you know what they say.

All the best
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Lancashire Lad
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 01:31 AM

Hi Ron

Just to set one the thing straight. my name is NOT tara. "tara" is a Lancashire varient of "ta ta" which some of us strange Brits use as a friendly means of saying bye bye. Anyway to answer your question

The Michael Chapman CDR was bought from him at a gig and was blue backed!!
Archie Fisher and Mike Waterson are both on the Trailer / Leader label which are owned by CM who are one of the only companies to openly admit to CDR pressing.

Incidentally. Anyone who has bought any RECENT back catalogue CD on Trailer / Leader / Celtic Music / Making Waves / Mulligan / Black Crow / Broadside / Rubber / Tara will probably have bought a CDR. All these labels are owned by CM who to my knowledge press only on CDR.

tara
Lancashire Lad


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: GUEST,VRDPKR
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 06:07 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This has been hugely helpful. My situation is much like Russ's friend. My wife and I play old time cowboy music for tourists in Northern Arizona. Tower Records is not eager to stock our CDs. We are able to offer the people we play for a unique souvenir to take home. We just want it to be a good, quality product.

OK, let me see if I've got this straight.

Don't buy the cheapest CDs available. There is a difference in quality. Use a good brand name.

Don't record at the fastest possible speed. The recommendation is 16x.

We are using an Epson 900 to print directly onto CDs. I'm glad to hear this was a good move.

Good to hear many others are trying this approach.

Special thanks to Ron for feedback about DJs and radio stations. We'll send you a copy to your station. (Found you with a google search.)

Harpy Trails,

Verde Picker


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 11:32 AM

I just purchased CD-R Gold (Badged Packard Bell with credits to HiSpace).

I have not seen Gold CD-R's for sale for some time. The problem with cheap CD-R's is that the varnish they use to protect &/or print on the CD can contain various acids and the plastic that separates the varnish/inks may be porous and after less than 10 years (maybe 4-5) the acid eats away the aluminium (OK aluminum if you insist).

When I first read this in the New Scientist they remarked that Philips had found this with commercial CD's in the very early days of their invention and modified the inks/vartnish/layers for more expensive ones. The problem with branded CD-R's is that even well known names "buy in" so you only have the name as a guide, not a guarantee.

CD-R Gold come-in at about the equivalent of a US dollar (with jewel case) and finding them is the harder part. I don't know how long they last but one is not gambling a lot for a longer run into posterity. I was going to donate a couple of my CD's and CD ROMS to EFDSS as they contain some collected songs & versions.

So with one box on the shelf at PC World (in UK) I took the lot. They tell me they are not old stock and they will re-stock. However as per my experience with red shoes (or anything similarly rare) you buy when you see or you regret it for ever.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 01:45 PM

I've sold a lot of CD-Rs with a "no question money back" guarranty...thus far (about 5 years) I've never been asked for a refund.

For a lot of folks like myself, CD-Rs are a very viable medium.


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 03:36 PM

I've recently encountered information that may relate to the original question of why an issue large enough to be carried by Amazon might be a "burn" CD rather than a pressing.

When you press (or print) 1,000 copies of something, someone has to store, preserve, inventory, and maintain access to them in order to have them available to sell. If you have a contract with a distributor, most of the copies are "distributed to dealers" and the original producer doesn't have to worry much about all this. Many of the things Amazon (or Borders, Barnes, and the ilk) sell are not kept in inventory "in the store," but are drop-shipped from whoever has them when you order from one of the big guys. Amazon sends them the mailing label, they slap it onto a package, and it looks like it came from Amazon - but really doesn't. They're just a "paper intermediary."

I've confirmed recently that Both Borders and Amazon, and probably Barnes, are now offering "print on demand" marketing of books by independent authors. I see no reason why they wouldn't offer the same sort of contract for CDs. While this concept has been around for some time, I hadn't realized the extent that major companies have become involved.

With print on demand, there is NO INVENTORY except for a file or two on a hard drive (and/or master CD). When you order one of these books, ONE COPY is printed, bound, and shipped - often within 2 or 3 days. The "production lot" is 1 copy. CD-R production makes perfect sense here, provided that minimal quality standards can be assured. CD-R reliability and durability is pretty good, and while I can't confirm that they've done so, I can see many reasons why a distributor like Amazon would like the concept for "niche" artists.

With conventionally printed and released books, 20,000 copies is considered miniscule. It takes that many to get a couple of copies in each store for the first release. RISK has a money value, and uncertainty about how many copies will sell - and how many to print - prevents many interesting things from ever being published. IF an initial release sells well, the publisher has a little more information on sales performance to decide whether a second printing is justified. If not, in the conventional setup, the book would be dropped from inventory. If a second printing and distribution isn't justified, with POD available they might decide to retain listings, and send it over to the POD guys. IF THE DISTRIBUTION CONTRACT PERMITS IT, the artist may have no control over whether CD-Rs show up in later distribution - if the distributors are, in fact, using this method.

(Lots of "ifs" above. Sorry, but I'm still trying to find info on how extensive POD is, whether it really works, and whether it's crept into audio products with major distributors.)

THREAD DRIFT: Cittern (John Robinson), who started this thread, may come from a long line of troublemakers. I found his Namesake Ancestor here (No, I did NOT notice it first on anything in my pocket.) Any relation?

John


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: treewind
Date: 11 Aug 04 - 06:32 PM

Interesting theory, John. I still don't understand the economics though.
Even if they get supplied on demand for virtual distributors like Amazon, 500 (pressed) CDs is not a big storage problem, and it's cheaper than CDRs (or it used to be: maybe that has changed).

I have read somewhere here that Amazon do supply some stuff from really small independent labels, so that may be it.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: CDRs for commercial recordings
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Aug 04 - 05:21 PM

I despair the answers that say "I ain't had no problem, what's the problem, there solved"

I've had no problems with CD-r's but then I haven't had a burner for 10 years and those CD-r's are getting cheaper by the minute. But if you are looking for a cast iron rock solid everlasting medium the internet via an ISP and webspace with a knowledgeable company is most likely the best option for long term sorage.

Terry Allen Hall - what archive medium have you got? double-up and triple might be a good policy. Or know your brands (if you can get the info) or use gold for the really important stuff. Your customers are not the problem - your precious archive is.
Ignorance is bliss. Enjoy.


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