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Archive for the ‘New Technology’ Category

Supporting Musicians: 15th Jan 2020

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

One of the best ways to support UK Musicians is to buy hard copy CD’s.

So little is received from downloads and streaming by the actual artists.

We encourage you to buy a hard copy or do both…keep supporting musicians!

2 cds with white background and images of instruments being played drums,guitar,saxaphone

Supporting our Talented Musicians

 

Check out our instant price calculator and get prices for duplicating CD’s for selling to your fans.

https://www.duplicationcentre.co.uk/prices.html

Support Musicians….. 11th Oct 2019

Friday, October 11th, 2019

In the growing age of Streaming Music & TV services  by companies like Spotify, Amazon, Netflix & YouTube we have seen very little change in the purchase of Hard Copy CD’s ,DVD’s & Blu-Rays here at Duplication Centre.

 

At a concert in London last year we chatted to the members of Accousic Alchemy after their set at Pizza Express Dean Street.

Did you know how little the artists make when you download or listen to them via streaming…its appauling…..next to nothing!!…so we bought one of their cds and they signed it for us …that’s the way to show your appreciation to musicians!!

We encourage you to still do the same….build up your collection in hard copy as well as digital download…..buy a hard copy at a festival or gig or music shop and lets really support musicians!

Man with headphone in music shop looking at cds and dvdsImpulse-based selling: a daily routine for packaged media and a challenge for online retailers?

 

 

 

 

Jargon Buster Part 3 – Audio & Video Files: 12th August 2019

Monday, August 12th, 2019

This is the third and final article by Mark Smith our Director of Technology here at Duplication Centre; helping you to understand some of the terminology and abbreviations used in the industry.

Audio Files:

Unlike the disc image formats above, these are just individual audio files used by computers. They require ‘Authoring’ to a disc. Authoring a CD means taking the audio (in any of the formats) and writing it into a format and structure a simple CD player can understand and play

WAV

These are high quality audio files, very similar to standard CD-Audio. This is a very common format used in recording studios .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WAV

AIFF

AIFF is practically identical to WAV, but this format was developed by Apple in the late 80’s. Another very common format in recording studios.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_Interchange_File_Format

MP3

This is a digital music format created for sending audio over the internet. The great attraction of the MP3 format is its ability to compress files, allowing them to use much less space. Technically lower quality than the above audio formats, but not really in any noticeable way

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MP3

FLAC

The Free Lossless Audio Codec. This is a newer format which is able to compress audio to take up space just like an MP3, but does so in a ‘lossless’ way. This means the audio quality should not be degraded  in any way, but the file size will be noticeably smaller. A useful format that has only seen uptake in technical and audiophile community.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLAC

Video Files:

This section may appear a bit short, but I had to draw the line somewhere.  There are a very large number of video formats that have existed over the years, far too many to discuss here. In practice there are 2 very common ones.

All video formats will require ‘Authoring’ to make a standard DVD-Video disc (OR a Blu-Ray-Video disc) to be player in a standard player.  Simply burning a video file on a disc will not necessarily allow it to play in a standard player.

MP4

A modern high quality video format widely used in consumer and professional markets.

MOV

Another modern high quality video format widely used in consumer and professional markets. Developed by Apple.

 

 

Jargon Buster Part 2 – Artwork Files: 16th July 2019

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

This article is the second in our series to help you understand some of the terminology used in the duplication process

Artwork Files:

Beware, we are now moving into the area of artwork and the word image no linger relates to a disc image! When talking about artwork, and image is simply a picture, a graphic or photograph

 

PDF

PDF stands for “portable document format.” Adobe Systems designed this format, which has become the standard for exchanging electronic documents. Its a very complex and powerful format used extensively in artwork design and printing, perfect for supplying your artwork supporting the other artwork formats below, as well as special print formats, colours and vector graphics.

 

JPEG,  TIFF, and PNG

These image formats are ideal for photos and similar images containing many colours offering good quality and acceptable sizes are possible. The quality / file size of a jpeg can be altered through the use of compression.

The three formats all vary slightly in the way they apply compression to the images, each with its own advantages. For printing its best to keep the compression at a minimum so the files are larger and better quality.

 

PSD

This format is only used by the graphics programs Photoshop. The files are generally large and contain lots of additional information and layers which are not needed for print. The complexity of the files make them perfect for editing and designing, BUT not ideal for printing. You should save your artwork to PDF or JPEG when ready to submit for printing.

To learn more about artwork formats this article is a good place to start, offering beginner guides to the various types: Further information on artwork formats.

 

 

Jargon Buster Part 1 – Master Discs:8th July 2019

Monday, July 8th, 2019

As in most Industries there are many terms and abbreviations which are used in duplication, that have become part of our ordinary language. For the uninitiated these terms can sometimes appear complicated and a bit daunting. This is especially true of file formats as some terms are used to define different entity’s even when working in the same markets!

 

Our Director of Technology Mark Smith has written a series for articles that we will publish over the next 3 weeks explaining  some of the most used terms,in relation the the optical media (CD, DVD and Blu-Ray) market. With links for more detailed explanations:

 

Physical Masters:

This simply means a hard copy CD or DVD which we can use to duplicate from.

 

Disc Image Formats:

The type of images here are not photographic images. The term relates to a ‘snapshot’ of the contents of a disc, the format and the exact layout.

The most important thing when working with disc images is you are sure you have formatted them correctly. Failing to do this will result in any discs made from them to be faulty. If there is any doubt, or you are new to this area, ask for help and advice. We have a team here who are always available for email, phone or online chat and will be very happy to help and advise you.

 

ISOnrg

An .iso image is a computer file that is an exact copy of an existing file system. ISO files are typically created through a software application that will extract the contents of a CD or DVD, and then write then as an exact electronic copy of the original disc to a file (a .iso file). This allows us to burn to burn an exact copy of the original onto CD or DVD.

Iso files are perfectly acceptable for CD-Rom and DVD-Video, but should not be used for CD-Audio due to technical restrictions

 

IMG

This format is very similar to a .ISO image with a few subtle changes and features which are beyond the scope of this article. For our purpose they can be used the same as an ISO, but more in depth information can be found in this article should you wish to learn more.

Like ISO files, .img should not be used for CD-Audio discs.

 

NRG

These files are a relatively new proprietary optical disc image file format. NRG files are used in the same way as other image formats, but are a more advanced and very versatile.

NRG files can be used for any type and format of disc, CD-ROM, CD-Audio, DVD-Video, Blu-Ray, etc.

NRG files on Wikipedia

 

DDP

This stands for Disc Description Protocol and is commonly used for delivery of disc pre-masters for commercial Glass Master Replication. The DDP format is compatible with all CD and DVD discs and is the industry professional format used in mass manufacture of discs. Although becoming more common, its a relatively unknown format used mainly within the optical media industry for transporting discs electronically between production facility’s and mastering houses.

DDP files can be accepted the same as all other listed image formats for duplication, but are not a specific requirement in any way. Further more detailed information on this format is available here.

 

Bin/Cue

This is a versatile image file format particularly useful for CD-Audio. The consist of two files,

  1. a binary data file (.bin file), This is the raw data of a disc, a solid block of information with no organisation.
  2. a Cue sheet (.cue file). This is a descriptive file, used to give structure and organisation to the raw binary (.bin) file.

Each of the Bin & Cue files are meaningless on their own, and must be provided together with their specific and matching partner, never mixed or edited. Further information of this file type can be found here.

 

 

Making Money From Music – Get The Mix Right! 9th May 2019

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

The sharpest customers we deal with no longer rely on any one way to make money from their music.

Remember that the fresh way to approach making money is to have a mix of content available for your fans:

  • Via Your Website
  • Via Social Media
  •  After Gigs

These will include digital downloads, merchandising and of course the opportunity to buy CD’s and DVD’s in hard copy….and if you’re doing this you have all bases covered.

singer clapping on stage , audience clapping happy muic gig

Another tip is to make yourself available after gigs to sign your CD’s…providing  a memory that people love to keep!

Check out our instant price calculator to get a quote for your CD’s/DVD’s & BluRay’s to sell at your gigs.

https://www.duplicationcentre.co.uk/prices.html

Barcoding your CD’s & DVD’s & BluRay’s: 1st May 2019

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

It’s easy to buy a Barcode from us, just email una@duplicationcentre.co.uk requesting a Barcode and she will send you a PayPal payment link for £25 plus vat.

You can then add the Barcode to the artwork you prepare for us when we run your CD, DVD or Blu Ray job for you.

If you are selling in shops and online you will need a barcode. Remember too that if you sell via Amazon you also will need to have us Cellowrap your job, as it’s an Amazon requirement.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/

The Barcode is the unique number that when scanned will identify your product. You need a barcode for each of the individual products you have. Remember that the pricing information related to the barcode is set by each individual retailer. The Barcode simply identifies the product itself.

BARCODE

*Unique 12/13-digit code assigned to your product – guaranteed if you buy from us.

*Scanned in shop or online checkout by your retailer for stock management and sales data information.

*World Wide use

Barcodes are easy to insert into your artwork, (we provide them to you in a variety of different formats) and come with a certificate of authentication.

Alternatively, we can easily add the Barcode you have purchased from us to your artwork for you, just let us know when you order.

Don’t be fooled and get a Free Barcode…there are lots of fake ones out there!

 

 

Will my song titles show when I play my CD in a computer?

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Computers use an online database to display CD information, the most common one is known as Gracenote, a more detailed article on Gracenote can be found here Gracenote CD Database and CD-TEXT.

Tunes and Windows Media Player DO NOT read and CD-Text embedded on the actual CD, at all! This is common for all computer CD player software.

When the CD information is displayed on a computer, the info is coming from an online database. The database is usually Gracenote (the more common) or AllMusic.

The Gracenote database serves CD information to: iTunes, WinAmp, Quintessential Media Player, and Finder (Mac OS). The AllMusic database serves CD information to: Windows Media Player, Rhapsody, and Real Music Player.

Registration on these databases must be completed by you, the client, rather than us as no extra information is added to the CD for them to work.

You can find further information on how to submit your CD on the below links.

Gracenote Database

AllMusic Database

 

 

 

 

 

Recycling /Upcycling,

Monday, June 4th, 2018

If you care about ecology and the careful and efficient use of our worlds resources you will be interested in reading read this article.

We have always viewed our general efficiency, in all aspects of our work as part of being an eco-friendly and responsible British Company. This includes the responsible choice and use of our own suppliers and supplies, careful budgeting and careful use of power (mainly electricity) and associated machinery. In addition to this we have internal policy regarding the recycling of any waste material.

This article is an informal piece about our most recent thoughts and practices.

From the start we use high quality casing for our Cds,Dvds and Blu-rays with the philosophy that in the long term these will provide the best protection for your discs and although some are plastic, will last a life-time so do not need to be replaced. This is slightly counter culture in what has become a throw away society in many walks of life, but there is common sense in choosing quality which will last; and despite this we still remain one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest for all of our products. There is a great deal of inferior quality, cheap packaging out there that is never use for any of our customers.

Over the 12 years that we have been in the duplication business we have noticed a large shift in the casing that our customers choose for their orders. From the days where nearly all CD’s were packed in a plastic standard jewel case and all DVDs packed in a Amaray plastic DVD cases, we now find that a much larger percentage of customers choose the more eco-friendly options of card wallets/digi-paks.

The card/paper we stock for all our printed parts is FSC Certified and sustainable. We feel this is a better option than recycled paper as research shows that due to the high volumes of bleach used to whiten the paper this is not as environmentally friendly…..which is not good. Responsible sourced and properly managed paper is a green industry, encouraging the growth of trees in the worlds forests. www.fsc-uk.org

In addition our, experience and the feedback our customers give us tells us that paper based products are less susceptible to damage in transit and less costly to courier, deliver and store compared to plastic cases.

Customer choice is highly important to us however and whilst there is a demand for the plastic standard jewell and standard DVD case and we continue to provide these on our web-site.

A large part of our recycling programme is to reuse all the incoming boxes and packaging to supply our out-going parcels.

Protecting orders is our top priority so this comes first however where possible we re-cycle all cardboard, jiffy/mailite bags and packaging, always removing any personal information on them first.

Good House-keeping in the production room means less waste, however on every order we do produce 1 or 2 over-runs of discs. This enables us to keep a control copy here of every order. We have researched widely the re-cycling of CD’s, DVD’s and Blu-Rays and have yet to find a highly sustainable channel for these.

We do however supply unburned discs to artists and students of design free of charge for sculpture or artistc projects.

There are also an increasing number of designers who use discs as the raw materials for projects like garden mosaics, lamps, dishes, picture frames, flower pots, mirrors, coasters and even a disco ball!! See www.zerowasteweek.co.uk for DIY ideas on how to recycle discs.

Another great use for discs is as bird scarers on allotments, they catch the sun if hung and will deter without harming birds who would eat delicate crops.

We minimise the use of paper by having an efficient invoice emailing and chasing system; although we will always send hard copy invoices if requested. We shred all paper that we can and this is re-used for animal bedding and then composted.

In short we view ourselves as a very eco-friendly company and we constantly update and re-visit our processes to see where we can improve and evolve in a productive and conscientious way.

Gained knowledge and know-how is the key here to keeping an efficient and eco-friendly approach in balance for our industry.
 

CD-TEXT and the Gracenote Database

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Gracenote CD Database and CD-TEXT

We live in an age where all things exist on the cloud, but this is only partly true for the text information’s we see when playing CD-Audio disc.

There are in fact two ways to add track text info to a disc:

In the beginning, not long after CDs were released in the 80s, an update was made so small amounts of text could be added to a CD. This text lives in sub channels of the disc so it won’t effect playback, but a CD-TEXT enabled player can read and display the information. Nowadays these players are less common, but still used in most car stereos unless you’re driving one of a few higher end vehicles.

A common assumption is that most computers read CD text, however this is not the case; iTunes, Windows Media Player etc. do not use CD-Text at all. They use a more modern system, the GraceNote – Compact Disc Data Base (CDDB). With this system none of the text used is actually stored on the disc, but all saved on the internet.

When you insert a CD and view through iTunes for example, the computer identifies the disc and then looks it up on the web. If it cannot find a match it will not display the text information, or may display a close match (from another artist!). So even if you have a CD which has CD text, but is not registered with the CDDB, its unlikely the text will show up on a computer at all.

We have customers who have experienced this problem and fortunately its very easy to correct.

We recommend using iTunes as it’s one of the easiest ways to upload your CD information.

The below link will show you how to do this in just a few minutes:

http://support.gracenote.com/support/pkb_Home?l=en_US&c=Public%3AArtists_Labels_Publishers

Once submitted it can take a couple of days to update but that’s all you need to do.

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