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  1. #1
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    Post Advice on starting a cd duplication business

    Hi everyone, I have been in the music business for a while now, mainly releasing independant cd's. I am in an area which is highly driven by cd sales. There is quite a demand and I know a lot of artists who routinely send their projects out to other states to be printed due to to the lack of affordable places in New York City for their needs. I plan to firstly have a customer base from these individuals and slowly work up to a high production facility. Currently I am looking into pricing options for duplicators, manual vs. automated, shrink wrappers, jewel cases and more of the requirements for the business.

    Does anyone know anything about this field? Has anyone had any experience in it? I am looking for information concerning the legalities of the duplication business but cannot find anything. I am also trying to set up a checklist on all things I must cover to contact people who own current duplication businesses to speak with them. If anyone knows anything or has anything to say on this subject I'd love to hear. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member RayH's Avatar
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    Do what you need. Thailand will undercut you. I have a friend to has his pressed in Thailand.
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  3. #3
    Ultimate Member ben-the-slacker's Avatar
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    Let's not destroy the morale so quickly now...

  4. #4
    Senior Member nochay's Avatar
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    I don't know much about getting all the equipment, but I can offer a way for you to get free cases. They are dvd cases, but could be a unique way to package them. Bonkbuster (popular movie rental chain, misspelled on purpose) throws out DVD cases by the metric ton. Some are security type cases, (kinda useless) but a good majority are just regular dvd cases. This could be a unique way to package the discs, especially if thick books/etc are included with the music. Just go hitup a bonkbuster, and start collecting. Not all are torn or trashed. I have grabbed several useable cases this way. Maybe you just want to stick to jewel cases, but if a need arises (like maybe you start pressing concert videos) then you can have a great resource. Give them a second chance, and help keep costs down. They even tossed a few cases that can hold 2 dvd's, and even some disney dvd cases (I got some green colored cases, and a few white ones)

    Best of luck! We need more american industry's here!

    Dane
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  5. #5
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    I don't recommend doing what Nochay said, you might get into trouble for reselling another companie's trash. If you do do it, however, make sure that you check with the company and get their permission in writing before you resell.
    Make like Hendrix.

  6. #6
    Ultimate Member RayH's Avatar
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    I'm not try to destroy morale. Just trying to get him to understand some of the realities before making a huge investment. But he may have a niche market in mind. I had a friend who made money in a basement recording studio. He understood his market and rode with it.
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  7. #7
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    I don't worry much about competition out of country since if someone did decide to send their project to Thailand the return shipping costs would be well in excess of a $1,000, on a run of a minimum 2,000 cd's, which is what is normally printed for the group I am associated with. Minimizing their profit margin greatly.
    The blockbuster idea might be interesting, however as George VII stated it would be best to make a deal with the actual company itself as opposed to rummaging through their trash, which is quite unprofessional. I also would be dealing mainly with audio cd's, not dvd material, since there are different copyright lawys protectiong dvds and jewel cases, in amounts of over 2,000, become quite inexpensive.
    My eventual hope it to open a store front in my shopping district. I feel overtime I can build a very good client base and in this independant business word of mouth easily gets around of a good product or service. I would begin at home and once I have a solid, revolving customer base to support a storefront I would then take the next step.
    The machinery for the duplication/replication, shrink wrapping, cd inserts is quite easy to find, what I have been having trouble with are the legalities. The proper forms that customers must sign prior to work start, the proper values for red book audio cd's and so on. I will keep looking and let you know how it goes.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Member RayH's Avatar
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    A couple of things in the custom manufacturing business revolve around "unsatisfactory" merchandise. Sometimes its a customer trying to do you. Sometimes a customer changes their mind.

    You have to have a resolution method for "unsatisfactory" merchandise and what to do with it! Claiming unsatisfactory, you may be stuck with stock that will cost you more to dispose of than it cost to acquire!
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  9. #9
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    Thanks, Rayh, that's a good point. I have come across cd recycling and destroying machines in my equipment searches. A policy would have to be setup in advance for unsatisfied customers, as with most services. Can mass cd's be discarded in normal trash or is there a special way to get rid of them? I am talking about cd's in the thousands.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nochay's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by George VII
    I don't recommend doing what Nochay said, you might get into trouble for reselling another companie's trash. If you do do it, however, make sure that you check with the company and get their permission in writing before you resell.



    selling other peoples trash?

    1. How will they know?

    2. Why would they care?

    It's trash, not a Intellectual Property zone. I don't see why you need to get bonkbusters permission to do what you want with the trash. I am a member of a website that talks about taking stuff from the trash. Companies/People tossed it for a reason people. Sick of it. Need shelf space. More economical to throw it out. Blah blah blah.

    Should I write gateway and ask them for permission to use a Pentium 4, 2.40 GHZ, 512 MB of ram, 40 gig hard disk, computer system they tossed? (Yes, it is a true story, ask for pictures)

    They could care less, hence why they tossed it. If they wanted it, it would not be destined for a landfill.

    Dane
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  11. #11
    Senior Member nochay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vp Premier
    The blockbuster idea might be interesting, however as George VII stated it would be best to make a deal with the actual company itself as opposed to rummaging through their trash, which is quite unprofessional.
    A woman drives around town here, with a glaringly obvious sign on her car (I fix furniture) I have caught her behind several furniture stores, taking the furniture they threw out. I tell you, if you saw what some of these damn stores did to perfectly good merchandise, you would never shop at the store again, and swing your car/truck around behind the building instead. Please grab your china hutch next to the dumpster on the way out!!!

    Seriously, she drives around, taking tables,chairs, anything wood, fixes it up, and puts it in her shop. Does she drive around, asking the manager for permission? Nope. they would probably laugh at her alot, throw her out, and smash it to even bigger pieces, or worse, install a compactor.

    I support what she does for the following reasons:

    1. She is helping the enviroment/giving it a second chance.

    2. She is helping put food on her table.

    3. She is beating a evil corporation at it's own wasteful game.

    If I was a mindless yuppie, I would stick my noise in the air, and continue entering through the front of the store, maxing out my visa card, disgusted at the thought of putting my hands into a trash can. (pigs! rednecks! low brow! trash! hobo!)

    If I was mindless, and get into the safety of my lexus, getting grossed out at the thought of parking near a dumpster, I would have not ended up with a Touchscreen monitor that I later found out sells online for $70. I even had a friend offer $70 for it. If we were mindless, and squeamish, My mom and 2 brothers would have not trash picked a perfectly working Pentium 4 system from gateway. Instead, we would be out in front of the store, holding a candlelight vigil and crying that we can't go into a gateway store anymore and rack up debit on a credit card, as someone is grabbing a $1200 system off the top of the can. Only problem? Case is smashed to pieces. Oh, the horror! Have to buy a new case! (They tossed plenty of keyboards/mouses also, so no need for that!)

    If we would rather stay at home and debate pillow covers for the couch (and the credit card to buy them with), we would have not ended up with a $500 table from cost plus. Sure, it needs a little work, and new legs (they smashed them all off) But we have a nice metal inlaid wood table.


    My point is, mindless consumerism goes way too far. Look at the great finds we have. If we sat high on a pedstal, and kept riding a moral high horse, we would have not saved so much money, and gotten such damn good stuff.

    Take a look around you. Before you rush down to Greed*Mart for a vacuum cleaner, stop behind a store, or visit a apartment complex, and you might be pleasantly suprised.

    College students are notoriously wasteful, and toss all sorts of stuff. Rather then rent a uhaul, and truck it back, they chuck it. Computers. 2 year old perfectly good (and working) fridges. Fans. Sweaters. Video game systems. CD's.

    It's up to you. Do you want to be a consumer drone, having a company spoon feed the life you should live, the products you should buy, or do you want to rock the boat? Save money? Throw off greed*mart's monpolistic mind control?

    Can you go to the back of the building, turn the lights off, open the door, and get ready to save?

    It's all up to you.

    And now, back to our regularly scheduled thread.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member nochay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vp Premier
    Thanks, Rayh, that's a good point. I have come across cd recycling and destroying machines in my equipment searches. A policy would have to be setup in advance for unsatisfied customers, as with most services. Can mass cd's be discarded in normal trash or is there a special way to get rid of them? I am talking about cd's in the thousands.
    you might be able to recycle them. find out if your community will recycle cd's. Get some money, and help the earth, instead of just junking them. I know some communitys have put in the means to recycle cd's, (probably due to the aol attack!)

    Dane
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  13. #13
    Ultimate Member RayH's Avatar
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    Somethings probably unique to the industry considerations are:

    1) Make sure the customer, and not you, are responsible for any copyright considerations;

    2) How to dispose of bad stock (bad pressings/unpaid). It is not normally recycleable material because of the metallic film. But is it hazardous waste. You could be in for a big bill trying to dispose of it. But then again, you might be able to sell it back to the CD manufacturers for raw stock. I don't know.

    3) You do not want to sell customer goods for payment even if allowed by contract. The customer may claim that you are actually selling an UNAUTHORIZED ADDITIONAL run and sue you.

    But like a lot of small businesses, if you decide that you must carry some paper, be like a used car lot--get your gross expenses up front; carry the "profits."
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  14. #14
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    Well nochay you present an argument that places it's feet on frugalness and an awareness for nature. I inturn have some questions and points to make.


    1. When exactly does an owning authority release ownership to an item they intend to discard?

    At the point that they make the decision to throw it away?
    When they place it in a proper receptacle for discarding?
    When it's placed in the waste storage area or on the street for pickup?
    When it enters an item of waste removal such as a garbage truck or land fill?

    I am unaware of how long merchandise is still considered owned by a company when they plan to discard it. Not knowing this can lead to claims of stolen property, should you ever be caught.

    2. The area that I am looking at for a storefront is a busy retail district which mainly stores their garbage in the backyard of their lots and not a side alley or an easily accesible one, since few have them. Seldom have actual garbage dumpsters and if they do the only room for it would be in front of the store on the sidewalk. Which means I'd have to search in high traffic areas with a lot of foot traffic, day and night. This would not be good for my business reputation.

    3. The specific goods you mentioned previously are dvd cases, which I would not be using, since I would need cd sized cases. Also, since we are on the topic of recycling, after finding a stores that dealt with cd's/jewel cases, you'd have to negotiate whether they have already setup a method of recycling cd's/jewel cases.

    4. Since I would be reselling the jewel cases or blank cd's that I find they'd have to be in retail ready condition, and given that they are in the dumpsters it's safe to say that they've already had some rough handling, further degrading the quality of the item.

    In the end for all the time and effort only a small portion of the items found would be usable. As you said
    Code:
     it needs a little work, and new legs
    The items you found had damage to them and even a single obvious scratch on a jewel case would render it unusable for retail purposes.

    5. I would obviously purchase the media and their associated packaging in bulk, which drastically reduces it's price and makes it's less than .25 cents in some cases. In orders of around 5,000 jewel cases, which is adequate for around 2 normal sized runs, the jewel cases would cost around .19 cents each. This makes your idea impractical since if I found 20 pristine cases I can use in a week I'd be saving $3.80, which is then even less when you factor the cost of my time and the price of gas it took to get around to search. With the cost of gas these days I would end up with less than half of that $3.80.

    You bring up a good way to keep costs down, however for my individual instance it's full value would not be seen. I agree with you when you state
    Code:
    mindless consumerism goes way too far
    Thanks for the suggestions however, and please keep them coming!

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    Code:
    1) Make sure the customer, and not you, are responsible for any copyright considerations
    I would have to say that this is my main concern and focus on finding out the legalities for. In this business there are Ipr forms, intellectual property rights, that the customer signs, it claims that all the work present on the cd is that artists original work and any needed copyrights have been obtained and included with the form.

    The problem is that this does not absolve the printing company from responsibility or legal trouble, or at least that I am aware of. This is one area I need to know the actual legal methods for. I was originally thinking of having some type of waiver or form that the customers must sign that excludes my company for legal liability should they use illegal samples in their work, but I do not know if a simple form would suffice or hold up in court, especially with the riaa on the move these days. I am still looking for the final word on this topic. Of course I would not duplicate 5,000 cd's of a major artist to an obvious bootlegger, but if some uses an 8 second sample 3 minutes into track 8 on their cd, how am I supposed to catch this and protect myself from any copyright or legal worries.

    Also their is the topic of "for promotional use only" items. As I have seen this is a method that one can use to promote their group/band/dj service without having to obtain copyright. A customer can place this tag on their cd as long as the music is mixed and recorded live and as long as they list every song and sample of the cd tray card. The actual legal documentation is very hard to acquire for these issues and if anyone knows a source or someone who owns a cd plant that I could speak with please let me know. This would be the first issue that I'd have to work my way through if I intend to be successful.

    Code:
    You could be in for a big bill trying to dispose of it. But then again, you might be able to sell it back to the CD manufacturers for raw stock. I don't know.
    It is a possiblity, I will have to contact my suppliers for proper methods of dispsoal, since I cannot just put 1200 cd's in a normal trash bag. They may take unused stock as well, something I'd have to work out with them.

    Code:
    3) You do not want to sell customer goods for payment even if allowed by contract. The customer may claim that you are actually selling an UNAUTHORIZED ADDITIONAL run and sue you.
    RayH this is somewhat confusing to me. Can you expand further on this topic so I can properly understand what you are trying to say? Are you talking about selling customer goods to parties other than the actual customer?

  16. #16
    Senior Member nochay's Avatar
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    Talking

    I suggested getting the cases and things more as a jump start for your business. I know you wouldn't do it forever. If you can get them at massive discount prices, then go for it (gives a tax write off also as a expense)

    Code:
    4. Since I would be reselling the jewel cases or blank cd's that I find they'd have to be in retail ready condition, and given that they are in the dumpsters it's safe to say that they've already had some rough handling, further degrading the quality of the item.
    As for you talking about the cases having a scratch/damage for example, For every 1 dvd case I found that was damaged, 5, even 10 were in great shape. Depends on the store. bonkbuster tossed the caes the dvd's came in for security cases so people didn't walk off with the dvd's.

    Best of luck with your new business! We need more industry's here in america, and giving small time artists a chance is cool also!

    Dane
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  17. #17
    Ultimate Member RayH's Avatar
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    Vp Premier Yeah, I was referring to selling customer goods elsewhere to recoup non payments. Some manufacturing enterprises can sell off the goods and make back their money (or reduce the loss).

    Example: You have some dead early Britney Spears that is unpaid stock. You decide to sell the items now. You are legally entitled to do so. But you get sued because it is claimed you are not selling the original unpaid stock, but another additional pressing. Just destroy unpaid merchandise.

    Actually, more than one outfits makes "extras."

    ========================

    The best advice is to seek out an attorney knowledgeable in this type of law. I know that you would structure it so that you don't own the merchandise. You are only a contractor.

    NOLO Online would be a good place to start. Look up their business law.

    Actually, maybe also try going by a FRANCHISED printshop. Ask them how they deal with copyright. I can't image that you should be responsible to know what is and is not copyrighted. "Happy Birthday" is copyrighted. But those who contract the pressing have to know.
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