Tom Kerswill


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Web Design

Find out how to make a simple but flexible website using basic html and css.

Website promotion

If you've already got a website, read our how-to guide for advice on attracting visitors. There's information on search-engine optomisation, and advice on advertising your website.

Bands as companies

Find out how it can be worthwhile to form your band into a limited company. It may sound crazy, but will save agro later on!

Cutting records

You can't quite beat vinyl - find out how to cut a 12" record, and what you'll need to get it done.

Producing cheap demo CDs

One of the biggest outlays for bands and musicians looking to get noticed by record labels is in making, and sending out, demo CDs. Even if you're choosey about who you send demos to (see the tips here) it's still expensive to send them out. Here I describe the way that I can produce and mail demo CDs for about 35p each.

This is a technique for making your CDs at home. It can work out a lot cheaper than going to a CD pressing plant - and the best thing about it is that you only need to make limited quantities of CDs. And if you record a song or want to rejig your demo, it's easy - just change the label and the songs on the CD.

First of all - the easiest way to do this is if you have a computer. There are other ways you could do it... a standalone CD recorder and a photocopier would probably work too... though be careful with standalone CD recorders as sometimes they'll only take the more expensive audio CDs, which are unnecessary.

Step 1 - Get Blank CDs

First, buy some cheap, blank CDRs. These are best purchases in quantities of about 100, because then they're cheaper. If you're in the UK, the best deal I've found so far is at Amazon - click to have a look: BenQ CD-R 80min (52x) 100 Shrink Wrapped. The cool thing about this is, if you buy 2 lots, you get your postage paid for too.

Step 2 - Cheap CD labels

Next, you need labels. The best place I've found for these is called blank disc shop. Have a look on their site and you'll find packs of blank CD labels. They also have slightly more flashy ones - like glossy CD labels and even transparent film labels. But they're not quite so cheap!

As well as the labels, you're probably best off buying a CD labelling starter kit - again you can get these from blank disc shop... they're around £5.00 from there. The kits include software and a tool for pressing the label onto the CD.

Step 3 - Packaging and Sending

Lastly, you need something to package the CD in. If you choose wisely, you can save money and postage!

I use simple cardboard sleeves, again available from the blank disc shop. You can buy them in bulk packs, and they're cheap - about 4p each. The big advantage is that you can stick them in a cheap brown envelope (make sure it's well sealed!) and send them off using a cheap 2nd-class stamp.

If you follow these steps, you could be producing a demo CD in no time, for a price that's far cheaper than if you went to a commercial CD pressing plant. It means you can save the money for when you're producing and selling a full album...