Hello. I have a song that's just about mixed and should be professionally mastered shortly thereafter. I want to burn it to CD and send it as a demo single. I already know the labels I'm targeting and their submission policies and everything.

Could you tell me what I need to do this?

1. What kind of CDs should I use?

2. What kind of case should I use?

3. Should I print information onto the CD and, if yes, how exactly? I don't think my Dell XPS does that?

4. What to include in the demo packet besides the CD and a short intro letter?

5. What should the packet be exactly? Should I stick a CD in a jewel case and, in turn, that into a folder of some sort?

6. How do I project the CD?

7. Where do I get all of these materials at?

Thanks in advance!
That's a long and complicated topic....

First you should read on the A&R submission policies for each label, if they accept unsolicited material then it depends on how they accept it.

If they don't - you need to write them and ask for permission to send.

Then depending on how many submissions you have - you can either DYI or find a place that handles small amount of CDs.

I used to buy high end studio CDs off of Guitar Center (BASF if I remember correctly) on which we burned masters and send to mastering plant but nowadays you can do a digital submission to burning plant.

If you decide on DYI, there is glossy color print paper on which you can do the CD jewel case and inserts, and for the CD itself there are print-on CDs that can be directly inserted and printed in a printer. THere is also Lightscribe which is kinda patchy from what I've seen.

I've used these guys before for short runs and gotten good results:

I'd discourage you to DYI as it usually looks tacky and is most likely to end up in teh garbage bin.

Regarding the info to put on the CD itself, since you're pitching I'd say some kind of art would be nice with band name/artist name and website at least clearly readable. Compare to something professional you have in your collection, but think of it as a calling card so add contact info on it just in case someone decides to bite - that'd be the worst, they lose your contact info.

I'd hate to discourage you buy you're pretty much swimming against the current on this. Major label deals are almost non-existent. Getting someone to listen to your demo at a major label is almost impossible to pull off. So, I'd say do the shortest run possible but make it look good. I like the jacket sleeve setup the best, you can put logo on front, song name on back and contact info.

BTW - don't buy into any of these submission schemes as reverbnation.com, taxi.com and the likes, where "you get access to industry people". It's one of the oldest pay-to-play tricks and they're getting really creative making up little festivals and things. I used one of these services and decided to actually track a few of the festivals to the towns that were supposed to have them and in both cases there were small pubs that seemed to do a small local paper advert, which kinda made it look legit and then the fests didn't happen, either were cancelled last minute or just nothing happened. In other words, we've been scammed so we pass that knowledge to you, no charge
That company was sonicbids.com - I called them on all these scams and got refunded and my membership extended. Had to threated them with lawsuit in order to pull of my music and still when you search on there my band has a dummy site setup.
Last edited by diabolical at Apr 22, 2015,
Diabolical is right in both his advice about the submissions and especially the pay-to-play organizations. It's a total scam. I'd also advise you put your name and phone number on everything you send. CD's can become separated from their cases and vice versa. I also saw someone mention that a regular CD case with a full spine card with your name and address on it is a good idea. The thought is as these submissions are sorted and stacked (good ones from bad ones) it might help to have your name visible on the spine of the case when your CD ends up in (hopefully) the good stack. Also stay away from weird hard to read fonts. It's good to be creative but if the reviewer has the least little trouble reading your text it's likely to just end up in that circular file next to the desk. Think like a professional and realize you may only get one chance so don't rush it and don't cut corners.

This advice is based on my own failed attempts and the feedback I received or learned from professional record people.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Apr 22, 2015,
I already know that it's hard to get people at labels to listen to your music.

I also know that Taxi and the related services are schemes.

This is a solicited submission.

There is no info on how to do it. I just want to submit a CD?

Are you saying a "burning plant" is the best way to go? I could burn a CD w/ my computer obviously, but I don't see how I could print onto it.
Quote by selftaught1000
I could burn a CD w/ my computer obviously, but I don't see how I could print onto it.

Here are the two formats for home printing, besides labels:


Your mastering engineer should know how to create Redbook CD, so you could make copies for a few submissions. The CD makers small run is not an etch as big runs, but duplication job as you would copy at home, you'd want to use them for the printing options as they make professional package that you'd be unable to do at home.
Okay, from what I've read, it sounds like you're saying I should have Guitar Center or a related service do it. I can get a mastered CD or electronic file and send it to them and they print the CD and the case insert, if I want one. Do you know of any others besides Guitar Center or should I just stick w/ them? $80 for 50 basic CDs in a clear jewel case doesn't sound half bad, though I wish I could print fewer. Maybe 10-20 to start out.

I agree that doing it myself may not be the best way to go. There is an investment for the technology and I question whether the results would be as good.
Any CD duplication outfit can arrange label and packaging for you if you wish. Mine will do a dozen up to 100 million and each at a different price point/volume. Often though, a simple soundcloud link is faster and more effective.

As others have said, never, ever send your music to a label or promoter unsolicited. If they specifically ask for your music, send one right away. If they don't ask but you send anyways, your music will be target practice at their next range day. No mercy.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Apr 23, 2015,
If it is a solicited demo, then your best bet, no matter what we say, is to ask the person who asked for your demo what they want.

Aside from that, I'd say that you want to put your best foot forward. When you are selling your house, you purge all the useless stuff, repaint, make sure everything is spotless. Some people even go so far as to have their homes "staged" - that is brining in furniture and decor from outside for the sole purpose of making the house look like it was from a catalogue.

You are selling your band, or yourself as a writer. You have an opportunity. Play it right and don't blow it.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.