How to make your own CD
A 12-Step approach


Start with the art.

Find or have someone (preferably a kid if you have one) take a picture of you that inspires an album title. For instance: a picture of you standing beside your car might inspire the title "Ugly Old Buick."

Or a picture of you at the beach might inspire the title "Bikini Blues."


You now have a "concept" for your album. Make a list of song titles that support the concept.

As in the examples above:

Example 1

Example 2


Write the songs to go with the titles.


Get some other musicians together and practice up the songs.

You might have to pay the musicians, or promise to pay them when you sell some of the CDs. Most likely, however, they’ll be willing to play for the glory of having their licks and name on the CD and a few free copies--and some beer.


Buy some recording equipment or go to a recording studio and start recording the songs.


Find some real advice in the blue box:

In between sessions you should establish a record label and a publishing company. Come up with some snappy names. I always thought "Court Records" was a good name for a label that mainly releases prison songs.


Spend a couple years learning how to use Photoshop and desktop publishing software so you can do your own graphic design with the cover art that got this whole thing started. Or pay a graphic designer to do it for you. Or find a friend or spouse to do it for free.


Once the songs are all recorded, mix them.


Get the final mix mastered.

This is important. Shop around for someone who has experience with, or at least sympathy for, your kind of music. Mastering prepares your album for being a professional, bona-fide CD ready for commercial release. Don't do this one yourself. Be there at the mastering session if you can. If the mix sounds good, the master will sound great.


Call up one of those CD manufacturers that advertise in the back of the trade magazines. Tell them what you got and get a price quote. Shop around. Send them the master and the art and don’t believe them when they say they’ll have it back to you in two weeks.


They’ll send you a reference CD and a proof of your art. Check it carefully. If it doesn’t sound right or look right, make 'em do it again.


When you receive your CDs, set an official release date, schedule a party and tell the world you have a CD out.

And then pound this into your head--

Whatever success you ultimately achieve will be the result
of relentless and shameless self promotion.

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