This felt like the perfect CD manufacturing timeline

I've had some terrible times getting physical albums manufactured: missing deadlines, bumping release date, and disappointing all sides of the equation from artist to distributor to the press. However, I recently had a run of good fortune through every step of the CD manufacturing process.

When I laid out all the dates of when each step happened, I thought, "Is this the perfect run through a CD timeline?" Check it out:

  • 01/02 - Designer receives the design assets from me: templates, art, label copy, logos, photography, & design reference.
  • 01/02 - Designer quotes me a price for the CD design and layout
  • 01/02 - Designer receives design deposit payment from me (50%)
  • 01/12 - Manufacturer receives the quote request form from me via their website, which includes the confirmed artist name & album title
  • 01/15 - Manufacturer quotes me a price for the CD manufacturing, including the packaging and the discs
  • 01/31 - Manufacturer assigns a barcode to the album once I accept the code
  • 02/03 - Designer sends me the packaging and disc label designs, v1
  • 02/04 - designer sends me the packaging and disc label designs, v2 (which ends up being the final version)
  • 02/05 - Manufacturer receives the manufacturing assets from me: DDP master, final designs, confirmed shipping address where I'll take delivery of the CDs, IPR form for the album, & manufacturing deposit payment (a fixed dollar amount around 50%)
  • 02/06 - Manufacturer sends me the pre-proof, also called an art file review
  • 02/06 - Manufacturer makes pre-proof revisions after I respond with the minor things to fix
  • 02/07 - Manufacturer sends me the proof
  • 02/07 - Manufacturer receives proof approval from me
  • 02/14 - Manufacturer completes making the CDs and sends me the final manufacturing invoice for the full balance owing
  • 02/14 - Manufacturer receives the final payment from me, releases the CDs for shipping, and sends shipment tracking information
  • 02/21 - The shipper delivers the CDs to my address

That's only a month for design and 13 business days(!) at the manufacturer from receiving the assets to me taking delivery of the CDs, for a total of about a month-and-a-half.

Another variable that I had this time and that you don't always have: I had the audio mastered and the artwork done long beforehand.

Now, I realize something else that was hidden one layer deeper still: I went through this perfect-seeming timeline without feeling any pressure! I wasn't keeping track of how soon everything happened until I reflected on it later, because I wasn't in a rush. I didn't have a hard deadline from other parties or anything like that. Maybe that's the secret.

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