Nuts, Bolts and Costs of Home CDs on the web, start to finish
Put very simply, you do the following:
(1) prepare your music,
(2) record your music,
(3) obtain any necessary copyright licenses,
(4) create the CDs,
(5) create your compressed music samples,
(6) build your web pages, to include those samples
(7) obtain space and a domain name on the web, and
(8) upload your web site.
Preparing the music.
Here we do not cover preparing the music. There are as
many ways to do that as there are musicians.
Recording the music
Out of necessity, we use multi-channel recording techniques because we
have more musical parts than we have people to play them. In that
event, you need a PC whose CPU speed is at least 450 MHz and around 20
gig of hard drive space, one good microphone and mic amplifier that
feeds into your PC sound card, and some multi-channel audio
recording software, like Cakewalk pro audio 9. For single-pass
recording where everyone plays together, you need enough microphones, a
good quality sound mixer with someone to run it, and a similar PC as
already mentioned, but less hard drive space, say 5 gigabytes.
You don't need the multi-channel recording software. Just
something like Adaptec Easy Creator version 4 Delux with with Spin
Doctor will work fine. Anything that will put onto your hard
drive the WAV files that are CD standard audio.
Most everyone these days has a PC as described above. A fairly
good used microphone will cost around $50. A good used microphone
mixer runs around $100. Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 used runs around
$80, and Easy CD Creator 4 delux runs around $40. But beware:
Easy CD Creator deluxe 4 will not work with most modern CD
burners. You'll need other software for that.
Obtain copyright licenses
Be sure to buy copyright licenses for any coyrighted songs. The
cost for small mechanical licenses is currently around 8.5 cents per
song per CD. Stay legal. Check with www.ascap.com and www.bmi.com
for guidance. Normally there is a 500 CD minimum, so at minimum you pay
$42.50 per song.
Making the CDs
For home-burned and printed CDs, once all your songs are in WAV files
on the hard drive, you burn them onto CD blanks. You will need a
CD burner in your PC. That costs around $40. It may come with
software, but if it does not, you can buy the basic Nero 6 software for
around $10 off the internet. If you use blank CDs that are
printable, then you can use for example an Epson R-200 printer that can
print on white surface CDs. It costs around $100 these
days. Or if you want to print with thermal transfer onto silver
surface CDs you can use a Casio label printer, around $80, but the ink
ribbons are expensive. The blank CDs cost around 35 cents each, and the
cases run around 45 cents each. Bear in mind that these CDs will
not play in everyone's player, and you need to caution them about that
before the sale.
It is possible to put four burners in one PC. If you have a fast
enough PC (say 1.2 gig) with a big enough case, you can buy a PCI card
that adds two extra disk controlers to your PC, for around $20 on
ebay. Then you obtain enough CD burners at anywhere from $15 to
$40 each, install those, and buy Nero 6 Ultra. It will work with
more than two burners at a time. I don't know its upper
limit. I've had good success with four burners, but they must
all share a (slow) burning speed in common, say 4x or 8x, for
this to work. Taking this route allows you to burn many more CDs
with just one PC and in a short time.
If you are very confident that you can sell your CDs in a reasonable
time, you can have them professionally made, including front and back
covers. I have heard prices quoted around $1,700 for 1000
CDs. If I thought I could sell 1000 I would go that route, but
with little money and much doubt I make the burned CDs at
home. And that is a lot of work.
Create Compressed Music Samples
We want people viewing the web site to be able to click a button and
play samples of the music on the CDs. But we don't want to put
huge files on the web, and people tell us not to put entire songs on
the web, otherwise no one will buy the CDs. So, we use sound
blaster's Wave Studio software that comes with their sound cards to
make short WAV files of part of each song. Then we found a
package called AudiostreamPlus., for $80. It will compress
a WAV file down to 1/60 of its original size, and makes little pieces
of HTML code that can put Play and Stop buttons on your web pages for
Make the web pages locally and include
the song samples
We used Netscape Composer 7 to create the web pages at home, and
included the little slices of HTML code produced by audiostreamplus
into these web pages so they show the little Play and Stop buttons for
each song. Fortunately Netscape is free.
Obtain space on a web hosting service
and buy a domain name
We are buying space on a web hosting service, around $14 per month,
including a registered domain name (songspinnerrecords) so that
web crawlers like google will find our web pages. That way, if
someone looks for a song name that we recorded, he might find it on
these web pages.
Upload your web pages
You can use the web hosting service's shell software to upload your web
pages and song samples onto the web, or you can use freeware FTP of
some type, which should be more efficient to do the same
thing. There is no extra cost here, unless you buy a nicer FTP
program like WS FTP Home or WS FTP Professional.
So, for multi-channel recording onto the web, starting from scratch, a
rough estimate of cost would be as follows:
Musical Instruments ???
Mixer used as pre-amp $100
Middle of the road PC $400
Cakewalk pro audio 9 $80
Epson R-200 printer $100
audiostreamplus software $ 80
FIXED COSTS TOTAL $820
Cd blank and
per CD and case
$ 17 per month
MULTIPLE BURNER EXTRAS
Nero 6 /ultra
$15-$40 per burner, optional
SIIG Ultra SCSI 133 card $ 20 on ebay
TOTAL EXTRA FOR 4-BURNERS around $160
Song Spinner Records