One of the most common questions we are asked before schools book a recording with us is:
How long will it take for the CDs to be delivered once we have done the recording?
To answer this question properly we need to consider the various aspects of production which follow your recording session and the time involved with each.
Historically one of the biggest delays in getting the CDs to the schools after the recording was due to getting the artwork agreed and signed off so the discs could go into production. The issue was two fold. Until the middle of last year we always asked schools to provide us with the hard copies of the pupil designs for the front cover along with any other text / logos etc required for the artwork. We almost always got the pupil designs but then the text or logos were flagged up to be emailed to us. This is fine but it meant we couldn’t make a start on the artwork until 1. We had got back to the studio and scanned in the artwork and 2. The remaining information was sent to us.
Add to this the fact that we are often out on location for several days at a time, sometimes it was taking a few days just to get the artwork put together. At this point we then had to send it back to the schools for everything to be checked and signed off, or any errors or omissions corrected. If anything was changed the sign-off needs to be done again.
We are only too aware that teachers are busy people and so do not have time to check their emails throughout the day so often time was being lost just waiting for the to-ing and fro-ing.
So, to speed up this process and also make everything more efficient we have now started getting the artwork done on location. All we need is for the artwork to be scanned in and emailed to us either in advance or on the day of your recording. Then during break and / or lunch we can get the artwork done and show it to you there and then. If there are any changes they can be quickly done. The idea is that before we leave site we email the proofs to you. In a lot of cases teachers are able to give us the go ahead on the artwork by return email before we have even got back to the studio.
Turning the audio from the data recorded on site into the final polished production which will go onto your CD or digital album is not something which can be rushed. However, we have been doing this for in excess of 15 years now so have a clear plan when it comes to perfecting the audio. However, no matter what we still have to listen to the album from beginning to end once it is mastered to make sure all the levels are correct and the tracks work as expected. Once we have finished creating the CD master (which nowadays is a digital file) we are ready to begin production.
The only aspect of the process which we do not do in house is the manufacture and production of the CDs. There is good reason for this. We are a recording company and printed production and CD duplication is an entirely different business. We have worked with the same supplier for over ten years now and it is far more economical to do this that try and set up a production house ourselves.
Once we send the artwork files and digital master to our production house the average turn around time is 3-4 working days. At the point of despatch we will notify you and provide details of the courier along with an estimated window of delivery where possible.
Ultimately there is not much more we can do to speed up the Mastering and Production process. But we feel that our streamlining of the artwork and the concept of getting much of the artwork done and signed off whilst on location with schools has dramatically shortened the turnaround times. In addition it also gets the job done whilst people are still thinking about it and saves many emails going back and forward in the days after the recording session.