Making The Disc-Packaging Decision For Your Album

WWhen releasing your disc, you have a lot of options to choose from, so much so that you may become swamped trying to decide what you should do. Do you get the traditional jewel case, or the thin jewel case? Do you choose a digipak with multiple full-color panels, or do you just chuck it in a paper sleeve and go the simple route?

The first thing to think about when making this decision is what are your goals with CD? Are you self-releasing your very first full-length album? Or is this an EP? Are you thinking about starting your own record label? Distributing your album through a large retailer like Best Buy? Are you looking to get signed? Or is this a free give away to interest new fans or act as a promo disc for college radio?!

Once you decide what you are looking to achieve, it will become a lot clearer what options might suit you. For a free give away, a paper sleeve or simple printed jacket would probably work best, but if it is a promo item, perhaps with an accompanying DVD or multiple discs, you might want some type of digipak or printed wallet. If it is a demo CD that you are shopping to record labels then a tin jewel case would probably work best, you want it to look good and unless you think they’d prefer an album that is a finished product that looks completely sales-ready, you want to make sure it looks like it’s a demo so they don’t get confused and think you don’t need a record deal because you’ve got it all handled yourself. For an album you will have available for sale in stores, at online retailers like or to take on tour with you and sell at shows, however, you can really be creative.

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While the ‘industry standard’ for albums is generally considered to be the Jewel case, the recording industry has completely flipped on its axis in recent years, making it anything but standard meaning that if you want to step outside ‘standard’ there’s never been a better time. Digipaks stand out for this very reason, in that they are a non-standard option that look great and are eco-friendly, and a printed wallet also equally eco-friendly makes a good option for something like an EP, ‘mix-tape’ or single should you decide to release something along those lines.

Cost-wise, the simple paper sleeve is definitely your most inexpensive option, but in a lot of cases where it’s not just a simple giveaway, you will get better results – sales or promo-wise, with spending a few extra cents on an option that is better suited to your needs, and leaves your CD looking great. Mixonic has cost-effective packaging options available for your short run project. Remember, these days when people are shelling out their cash on a physical object as opposed to buying it online, they want to get their money’s worth – so make it eye-catching, make it look as good as possible, as professional as possible, as unique as possible and you will get your CD into more people’s hands.

This is a guest post by Pandie Suicide) of Mixonic, a CD duplication service based in San Francisco.