Step 10 – So now you have an album. What’s next?

Congratulations! The dream has now become a reality. At this point, it is easy for you to focus on all the mistakes and the shoulda-coulda-woulda times. The mix could’ve been better, will they like Track 4 as much as Track 6? I should have written a different lyric, etc.

What’s done is done. Instead of looking back and analyzing everything to death and being regretful about things, look back with gratitude. Yes, gratitude. It has taken you time, money, effort and the wonderful support of people around you, so gratitude is the way to go! Share your music with the world!

The “non-recording” part of album production

Album Cover and contents / CD design and packaging.

Your album’s cover art will be the very first thing people see, even before they listen to your masterpiece. It is that important. This could very well be your “calling card” or advertisement for the people who will want to buy or play your music.

In line with this, you will need to find a graphic artist to get the artwork done for your CD. It would be good to give the graphic artist an overview of what the CD concept is or how you’d want it to look or feel so that a design sample for the CD cover and inlays may be done. Find “pegs” of similar groups to help flesh out design ideas. It may help to send the graphic artist a copy of your album to give him an aural feel of who he is designing for.

You can also provide samples of your own band pictures or other groups that may fit the style you’re looking for. Remember as well that you need to visually match what people hear. If you sound like a balladeer, people will not want to see artwork or pictures with bling, oversized t-shirts, baseball caps and low, baggy jeans.

Do supply the graphic artist as well with the text, lyrics and production credits that you choose to include in the entire design.

The graphic artist will also need deadlines to meet as you go about production. Don’t forget to include this phase within your production calendar.

Other points to consider with regard to your CD album design:

Whether you’re a solo artist or a band, you have a name. If you want people to know you, your name should be visible on the cover. The look of the design should not confuse the artist name with the album title name.

Check your information thoroughly. Is that all the information you want on the CD? Also consider including a website URL or an online address of some sort – anything that will help people get in touch with you or find more information about you, even after purchasing the album.

Throughout production, check the artwork draft submissions and evaluate and revise accordingly.

Decide on a CD manufacturing provider where you will have your CD master packaged and replicated. How would you like your CD packaged? In jewel cases? Or CD sleeves or wallets? You can take a look at what different providers have to offer before you make your choice. You would do well to select one that has experience, good feedback, good turnaround, and one that also gives you great value for your money.

Towards the latter part of production, check the album track list against the CD master to verify the correct song sequence on the design. Song one is one, Song two is two, etc. Song titles and tracks should be in proper order as seen on the CD jacket.

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