Bison Disc Blog

Check out our blog for CD and DVD duplication trends, cool ideas for CD cases and Digipaks, special offers and more.

How to do a Master Tune Up on Audio before Burning to CD

How to do an audio master tune up before your album goes to CD

An audio tune up takes a finished song and masters it for final distribution, perfecting the audio’s quality. If you haven’t worked with a professional recording studio, some audio mastering can clean up and enhance your entire album. By cleaning up dust and scratches or adjusting a mix’s equalization and compression, your audio will sound more clear, full, and professional.

What are some symptoms of poor audio quality, and what can be done to fix them? Check out the symptoms and solutions below:

1. Dull, small, or uneven sound

Solution: Compression 

If your audio sounds small, quiet, or dull, you’ll benefit from compression.

Compression turns down the loudest sounds to blend the sound properly, smoothing audio “peaks” to match the other levels of the song. With compression, you can increase the overall loudness of a song without having any part of the mix stick out.

Using a high ratio of compression within a high threshold will provide a harder punch of sound, while low ratios of compression in low thresholds can “warm” or soften sounds.

If your audio begins to sound squashed, your audio is probably too compressed.

2. One sound is too loud or soft, parts lacks clarity

Solution: Equalization

If parts of your audio are being lost under other layers in your track, frequency equalization (also known as EQ) will help. While compression fixes the overall mix’s unevenness, EQ is great for tuning specific sounds in your audio. Each type of instrument or sound has an EQ band. The interactive map below shows you the different EQ bands and their respective sounds.

50-60 Hz – bass, deeper sounds
100-200 Hz – snare punch. Boosting this band a bit increases richness of sound
500-1000 Hz – boosts many instruments, too much can sound nasal 
2 kHz – improves the clarity of sound, but upping this band too much is painful or harsh 
5-10 kHz – opens up the sound, helps snare have a fuller sound

If your audio sounds muddy, you can cut decibels from bands in the lower ranges. If it sounds harsh, try cutting decibels from bands in the high frequencies (over 2 kHz).

3. Audio isn’t loud or sounds faint

Solution: Loudness matching

One final mastering technique you can use to improve the quality of your sound is loudness matching. Compare your audio to a similar song or one of your favorite songs, and examine the difference in each mix.

Are the wavelengths in the competitor’s song louder overall? Even a .5 dB increase can take your song to pop-level quality, like in the clip above.

Preparing your audio for CD burning

Review your audio
Before you finish your mix, make sure you listen to it on multiple devices and speakers. How does it sound with high-quality headphones, in a car, or in mono? If one device sounds worse, you may not be done with mastering.

Convert your tracks
When you’re ready to have your album burned to a disc, you’ll need to convert your audio to 16 bit/44.1 kHz.

You can do this with resampling or dithering. Audio can be converted easily with iTunes, or you can try professional software like Masterlizer.

Be careful using some programs to convert as many will add codes, leaving files unrecognizable by digital players.

Need help?

Audio Mastering a small but critical step in the production process, and available as an upgrade through Bison Disc starting at $115. It is also fairly simple to do on your own, but our professionals have years of experience doing audio mastering for musicians. Click here to get started.

What is Gracenote and Why Should Musicians Use it?

 Gracenote Music Recognition

Digital File Recognition

Gracenote is the largest on-line database registry for CD-Audio, whether it’s music or spoken word.

Gracenote adds a meta data to songs so that cars, phones, laptops, and other devices can identify music files – so anytime you’re riding in a car or playing music in iTunes, the artist and album information displayed is provided by Gracenote’s database.

Musicians can also register track order information and album art.

Song Discovery

Gracenote does more than embedding meta data into song files – Gracenote adds a unique digital identifier called an audio fingerprint to songs. Gracenote then manages these fingerprints and serves them to music services.

These audio fingerprints make it possible for listeners to identify songs using their phones to sample audio. The database is advanced enough that it can even distinguish between a radio edit or a remix.

The audio fingerprint is also used to help fans discover more music they might like by matching related genres, moods, and sounds. Gracenote is considered the first global platform for music discovery.

Gracenote Rhythm is the secret sauce inside many of the world’s hottest streaming music services. Data intelligence and algorithms from Gracenote Rhythm help music fans build the ultimate radio stations and playlists based on their favorite artists, listening preferences, and musical tastes.”

Copyright monitoring

Gracenote Copyright Song Monitoring

The audio fingerprint does more than help listeners discover new music. Gracenote enables music monitoring so that music industry professionals are able to preserve their intellectual property by tracking a song’s use – identifying copyrighted music for compliance and royalty management.

Twitter verification

Gracenote recently teamed up with Twitter, streamlining the verification process for musicians to get Verified Accounts. This further protects an artist’s brand, message, and intellectual property.

“This agreement with Gracenote will help us expand the number of musicians verified on Twitter, to make it easier than ever to find and follow your favorite artists.”
Omid Ashtari, Twitter’s head of sports and entertainment

Used by millions around the world every day

Millions of listeners around the world

Trusted by the biggest names in the music industry, Gracenote can serve hundreds of millions of users every day.

Gracenote’s music database is built into millions of cars around the world and curated specifically to the region the car will be sold in.

With over 20 million songs in their platform, Gracenote is used by iTunes, Amazon Music, DirecTV, Sony, LG, and other top media companies in 85 countries.

Getting Started with Gracenote

Interested in using Gracenote to ensure that your album information is visible, identifiable, and copyright protected? Bison Disc offers Gracenote database registration as an upgrade on all of our discs. We believe in Gracenote as one of the best tools for musicians as it:

  • helps millions of fans identify songs
  • helps listeners discover new artists
  • shares information about a musician’s album to iTunes, WinAmp and Finder – making sure meta data displays properly on any device
  • provides monitoring for copyright and royalties
  • expedites Twitter Verification process for musicians
  • is affordable – just a $18 upgrade at checkout

We also offer a special combo of CD text and Gracenote registration for $40.00. CD text embeds information so that a song’s name, track and artist will appear when played in non-MP3 environments, like a CD player.

Ready to get started? Start your order today.

Top 5 Deals on Services and Resources For Creating Band Merchandise

Affordable custom printed products for musicians

One of the best ways musicians today can increase their revenue is by making a high-profit margin when they sell their band merchandise. Band merchandise has a greater impact on audiences aside from increased profits, though.

Pop Journalist Hugh McIntyre explained to Forbes that “merchandise has gone from a small revenue stream to one of the most important ways a superstar or even the upstart band around the corner interacts with their fans, raises awareness for their brand and helps carry a theme started with an album or a single through an entire era of a career.” It helps the artist share their vision more comprehensively and helps listeners better experience the music, atmosphere, and creativity of the band.

Even popular artists like Bon Iver sell patches, pins, posters, and albums on their website. Some bands have started selling more unusual items like skull gummies and pajama sets. Regardless of what you decide to sell, you don’t have to set up a complicated online store or be rich and famous to share your band’s brand with your listeners.

We’ve compiled a list of the most affordable printing services for musicians to produce their merchandise – from bags and shirts to discs and packaging – along with tutorials for intrepid artists to DIY.

Affordable Custom Printing Companies

5. Promotional Items – bags, keychains, and headphones

Best Deals on Custom Printed Headphones for Musicians

4imprint is one of the most versatile and affordable custom printers for promotional products, selling a wide range of items including:

  • bags
  • water bottles
  • apparel
  • stationery
  • headphones
  • headphone cases

Their best products for musicians are their headphones and ear buds, which start as low as $4.95 and $1.39 each.

4. Pins, jewelry, and patches:

Pinmakers offers custom printed bulk pins at low prices. You can even order in small-batch quantities down to 25 pieces.

Summit Printing Pro is another online print shop offering a variety of printable goods including embroidered patches, buttons, dog tags, and heat transfers.

3. Band shirts:

Best Deals on Custom Printed Band Shirts

Custom Ink and Rush Order Tees both boast some of the lowest prices for custom printed band shirts.

Custom Ink offers the benefit of smaller bulk orders, and Rush Order Tees can provide embroidery on shirts.

2. Posters

Custom printed posters for musicians

  • Bison Disc – get your posters printed with Bison Disc so that they can match your CDs and packaging. Our large 11×17″ posters start at just $49.
  • Red Bird Printing is an affordable full-service printing company offering Graphic Design, Printing, Packaging and Mailing Services. With Red Bird you can get your posters and business cards printed all at the same place.

 

1. CDs and Packaging

Custom printed CDs for musicians

Bison Disc is a family-owned company that has been printing discs for over 20 years. We work with small and large clients on custom orders, graphic designs, and perfect discs and packaging options. We offer a 100% product guarantee and competitive rates.

How to Design Art for your Promotional Products

How to design your own band art

Free or Affordable Graphic Design Software

If you aren’t working with a designer, you can still adapt your band’s current art or create new art for your promotional products using the following free or low-cost resources:

  • Pixlr is a free, web-based art software that you can use in your own browser. There are loads of free resources and tutorials available for Pixlr and it’s easy to learn.
  • Gimp is free and offers loads of features. It is comparable to Photoshop, and the user base provides plenty of tutorials.
  • Adobe Photoshop CC offers a free trial for a limited time. If you only need to design art once, you can hermit at home for a week or two and get it all done on your free trial. After your limited free trial, Photoshop CC is only $9.99/month.
  • An amazing yet highly underrated design program, Affinity Designer boasts a low price of just $49.99 one time. It’s lightning-fast to use and boasts similar tools as Photoshop.

 

Free Icon Websites

Free icons for musician art

 

Free stock image sites

Free stock images for musicians

  • Textures: There are loads of free textures courtesy of Flickr artists to layer on your art – just be sure to follow their rules or requests for usage.
  • Free StockPexels is one of the best curated galleries of free or (free with attribution) stock images.
  • Affordable Stock: If you need a specific image and are willing to pay a little more for it, one of the most affordable sites to buy stock images from is Shutterstock. You can usually get a set deal of 5 images for $50 or 2 images for $30.

 

Need help with your design?

You can work directly with Bison Disc’s graphic designers for help on any discs, packaging, and posters.

Contact us for a free quote. We also offer free digital proofs for perfect previewing.

I’m ready to market my products, but how?

Marketing band merchandise online

1. Add an expiration date to your merchandise

80% of merchandise sales happen at concerts. Fans feel that items sold online will always be available to purchase but they will impulse buy items at a show, thinking it may be their only chance to buy. You can replicate that same feeling by offering limited time designs or products on your store. Let fans know about current sales and low stock so they have the opportunity to make a purchase.

2. Sponsor your merchandise on Facebook to current fans

Facebook’s algorithms restrict a page’s organic reach even to fans who follow and like your page. You can get around this by spending a small amount sponsoring posts about your sale items. Asking viewers to engage with the post by liking or sharing will further increase organic reach to more users – so although these users are already fans of your page, it pays to promote to them.

In Facebook’s Ad Campaign Manager, select “people who like my page” in the targeting section. That will make sure you’re boosting the post to those who follow your band. Start with a small budget and tweak your audience until you have higher conversions. Stating that your products are only available for a limited time will also encourage buyers to make a decision.

3. Sponsor products on Facebook to potential fans

The band Fueled By Ramen wanted to reach more listeners in their ideal demographic. They ran video ads to users age 18-34 who enjoyed similar artists. They even followed up with new videos to those who had seen their previous ads. In three months, they ended up doubling their music sales.

CDs vs. Spotify for Musicians & How You Can Use Both to Improve Sales

How do CDs compare with streaming services like Spotify? Here we break down their differences and share ways for you to sell even more CDs while still using streaming services.

CDs vs. Streaming: Total Revenue for Musicians

Revenue Comparison CDs vs Streaming

To this day, CD sales still surpass streaming services for musicians, coming in at around $7 billion in 2015, while streaming hovers just around $3 billion.

Musicians also profit the most from CD sales:

CDs Spotify Streaming
Artist Earns: $7.50 per disc Artist Earns: $0.0011 per play

With these numbers, in order for a musician to make $11, they would need over 10,000 plays on Spotify.

CDs vs. Streaming: Sound quality 

CD vs Streaming Sound Quality Comparsion

Listeners faithful to high-quality audio will be easily swayed by the unparalleled sound heard on a CD: Sound quality is nearly 5x better on a CD than streamed on Spotify Premium at 320 kbps. Free streaming options such as Spotify and Pandora cut quality even further:

CDs Spotify Pandora Spotify Premium
1,411 kbps 160 kbps 160 kbps 320 kbps

The difference in sound quality matters. According to the LA Times, “Neuroscientists are beginning to look at how the brain responds to compressed mp3s… results suggest that with high resolution, the brain’s emotional activity is the same as with live music” and that less dopamine is released with compressed, low-quality audio files.

CDs vs. Streaming: Lifespan

CD vs. Streaming Lifespan

CDs have a long lifespan – at least 30 years. We have no idea the lifespan of a web-based streaming service – or whether their services will change in the future. What if their cost structure changes or they add in ads even for premium members? Even one of Hulu’s premium streaming options, which costs $7.99/month, has ads, and according to USA Today, the “limited” ads are not so limited after all:

“$44 annually, and put up with a few commercials. How bad could it be? Really, really bad. As I noted, worse than watching network TV.” In just one streamed episode, there were 6 commercial breaks with a total of 15 ads.

Using both to maximize revenue

Most Listeners Prefer Having a Physical Copy of your Media

In a survey done by AudienceNet for Music body BPI and the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), two-thirds of people polled said that they considered themselves “multi-channel listeners,” enjoying both physical media and streamed media. 89% of people said the quality of the sound was a key reason for them purchasing CDs. Many others wanted to own something tangible.

Why buy CDs

“This research suggests music fans are a great deal more nuanced in their approach to new forms of technology than they are sometimes given credit for,” said Kim Bayley, Chief Executive of the ERA.

Other music industry professionals agree that CDs are going nowhere, and tangible media can coexist with streaming. “I don’t see why one has to eradicate the other,” says Sulinna Ong, VP of Artist Marketing at Deezer. A tangible product, like a CD or vinyl, is “a reminder of something that you’ve experienced, that lives on.”

Fans appreciate streaming for discovery and immediate listening, but they still want to own and collect music. By allowing people to discover your band through streaming, you’re engaging more listeners to try your music in a way that is already comfortable with them. You’re also ensuring that your music is available to fans even if they’re away from their CD collection. Streaming can still benefit you overall and can be considered part of your connection to fans.

Give Listeners More Reasons to Buy Your CDs

Maybe some listeners are less concerned with quality, or they don’t want to carry CDs with them. You can still convert these listeners to buy CDs. You just have to offer solutions to their concerns:

1. Concern: “I don’t want to carry a CD – what if I break it?”
Solution: offer warranties on your albums

If a CD gets broken, then the listener no longer has the media that they paid for. It’s an understandable concern and one you can easily fix: offer a replacement option for those who break their disc.

If you want to save on costs, add limits to the warranty or send the replacement disc in cheaper packaging. You could also offer the warranty with other exclusive products as part of an upgraded package.

2. Concern: “I’d rather have something else than just a CD.”
Solution: offer more products in a package with your CDs

Share band swag with your CDs to increase sales

For listeners who are on the fence about buying a CD, you can sway them by providing exclusive perks that are unavailable online:

  • Include exclusive songs on your CD that you don’t share on Spotify
  • Offer a DVD to include more media such as high-quality music videos, interviews with the artists, or behind the scenes footage
  • Offer limited edition posters, shirts, buttons, jewelry, art, or branded products like headphones to encourage album sales. Current fans will love to have band swag, and new listeners will appreciate having new art or discounted headphones.

 

3. Concern: “I just don’t have that much money”
Solution: offer a low-cost CD

If you can include a low-cost tier of products to increase your sales without breaking the bank, you’ll be providing an option for uncommitted listeners to purchase your most popular songs at a lower rate. Find the most affordable option for CDs and packaging, or include only a few songs on the disc.

 

In the end, you can use both CDs and streaming services to your advantage. Streaming is a great way for listeners to discover your music and easily share it on the go with others. However, you can easily convert all types of listeners to purchase CDs by providing options to suit their needs.

Most listeners do want a tangible product, and a CD is a perfect way for listeners to support an artist, have the best quality sound, and have a copy of your music for decades.

By maximizing the potential of both channels, you’ll be able to engage all of your listeners. They’ll be better able to support you if they have more options and opportunities to spend.

10 Simple but Effective Methods to Increase Concert Profits

Sell more merchandise and increase your band’s ticket sales with these creative incentives, discounts, merchandise, and marketing ideas:

1. Offer Early Bird Incentives

Early Bird incentives

Mail a free poster to fans who buy early bird tickets to your concert. This is a great option to increase ticket sales as it feels like a genuine gift to those who purchased early. Small giveaways like this will improve your relationship with fans while also encouraging those who are undecided to commit for the free item.

2. Sell a Package Deal

Offer a discounted package of items during advance ticket sales to increase revenue before your event:

Package Option 1 Package Option 2
Discounted Band Shirt Discounted Copy of your CD
Discounted Ticket Discounted Ticket

Many concert goers will appreciate the opportunity to buy a copy of the CD before the event, as they’ll already be spending money on parking, gas, and drinks that evening.

3. Giveaway Items Each Week Before the Event

Giveaways before your event

Another incentive you can offer fans is a rotating prize each week to those who register early. This also allows you to measure what products your audience is most interested in: if more people sign up for the concert during the week you offer jewelry than any other week, you can invest more money into that product type.

4. Offer a Lower Cost Ticket

Offer a low price ticket for anyone to watch a digital stream of the event. This will expand your reach to those who can’t make it out of the house but are still want to enjoy the performance.

5. Host a Contest

You can use free tools like gleam.io to run contests and share prizes. Entries include submitting an email and sharing the event on social media, increasing your audience reach.

Products you can give away or sell:

digipak

  • Shirts - Save some money by buying band shirts in bulk. BlueCotton discounts as low as $5 per shirt when ordering in quantities of 100.
  • CDs – Bison Disc offers discounts for bulk orders and can also take small orders starting at 25 CDs. We can also add barcodes, CD text for digital displays, song licensing, and improve audio quality.
  • Digipaks - Digipaks are one of the most popular options for musicians. They’re printed in full color throughout with a clear plastic tray for your disc.
  • Posters - We can also help design your posters, ensuring your band’s image carries over all products.

 

6. Use Influencer Marketing

Use Influencer Marketing

Reach out to those in the music industry including other bands, venues, and popular fans about advertising your event. They can post on social media with their own discount code for tickets so that you can track who brought in the most signups.

You can use Eventbrite to keep track of promotions, manage influencer codes, and accept early ticket registration.

7. Brainstorm with the Venue

Brainstorm with your venue

Connect with the venue of your concert before the event to see if there are any cross marketing opportunities. For example, they could offer a drink special for your concert, or you could work together to put on a costume contest for fans.

8. Add a Cause

Give back to the communities you’ll be performing for by sharing some proceeds of your concert with a cause. In return, the charity can promote your event and band. You’re also providing an incentive for a new audience to join in on the event when they might not have attended in the first place.

9. Network after the Show

After show networking

Let the audience know you’ll be at your merchandise booth after your performance and make connections with your fans. Offer to sign products or take photographs together. Usually, those photos end up on Instagram and Facebook; this increases your reach beyond current fans to their friends who may not have heard of you. Plus, it will make your fans feel welcome and appreciated.

10. Pay for Online Advertising

Use Facebook advertising to reach users in the cities you’ll be performing in:

  1. When selecting your target audience, choose those living in or traveling in the cities you’ll perform in.
  2. Then, select users who are interested in similar bands or genres of music.
  3. Use a brief video clip containing a part of your song as the post that you boost. That way, you are sharing a sample of the music so that new listeners know what to expect at the concert. You can also introduce your band in the video – just be sure to include captions to entice viewers who wait to turn on the sound.
  4. Use a custom URL (try the URL Builder from Google) or Facebook pixel to track conversions.
  5. Even a budget of $5 each day can make a difference. Test different posts and audience to find the best solution for your ads.

 

With all these strategies in mind, the best thing you can do is start marketing months before your events so you aren’t scrambling to work with venues or fretting over sales.

To get started ordering CDs, custom packaging, and posters, request a free quote here. We’ll work with you through the entire process – from concept to print.

How to Safely Compress Files to Make the Most of your Disc Storage

Whether making backups of your data or putting content on discs for your clients, you can get a little more out of your storage with a small amount of file compression. File compression involves reducing the size of files, making them faster to transfer.

The downside to compression is that it can also reduce the quality of the files. There are some cases where you may want your file to have its original quality at the cost of a larger file size, and either use more CDs (700MB capacity) or move up to DVDs (4.7GB) or Blu-Rays (25-50GB) for the extra storage.

Here, we will go over the different file types and compression options, and which may be best for you.

File Types and Compression

The file type you may be compressing can affect resolution and preservation of data. 

Here is an explanation of the different types of files, how they change under compression, and whether you would benefit from compression:

Graphics

photos

Not all graphics should be compressed, but you can get away with some gentle compressing at times. 

How Do I Compress Graphics?

Here are a few ways to safely compress image files while maintaining quality:

  • Resample: Bicubic Sharper - resampling adds back image data after downsampling
  • Export resolution of images at ~60-70% using an image editor such as Lightroom or Photoshop
  • Add a mild blur to parts of the image
  • Reduce the max size of the image itself by around 10%

JPEG – Sometimes safe to compress
JPEG is a lossy compression format, meaning some of the original data is lost during compression.

Having a reduced size and resolution is necessary often, though, especially when sharing media online – which is why JPEG is a common choice for use on the web when emailing and exchanging files.

However, if you are a photographer, your client will want the highest quality photos from your shoot with them. You should avoid excessive compression, and instead maintain as much image resolution as possible. In this case, you would likely benefit more from using DVDs or even Blu-Ray discs, than trying to squeeze your images onto a CD that has less storage space.

PNG - Safe to Compress
PNG is a lossless compression format, meaning the original data is preserved and not lost, unlike JPEG format.

PNGs are useful for text, icons, and other graphics that need to be fully preserved, although they will have a larger file size.

GIF - Safe to Compress
GIFs are animated images and also lossless compression files. This format supports animations, but has limitations with its color palette, making it less suitable for photographs.

Audio Files

Compressing Audio Files

Audio files can actually benefit in quality from compression if it is done correctly. You can use free tools like Audacity to perform compression.

How Do I Compress Audio Files?

Here are a few ways to compress audio files safely while maintaining quality:

  • iTunes - in iTunes, go to Preferences > Import Settings > There should be a drop-down menu that says ‘Import Using’. You can set the format to MP3, or you can go for lower quality on Settings > Custom.
  • Audacity – Mainly used for recording and editing audio, but Audacity also has a compression feature. Go to Edit and Open and choose your file. Then, click Project Rate, you can use this to lower the audio’s sampling rate, and also it’s file size. If you don’t care about the audio file being in stereo, select Split Stereo Track, then select Mono. This will reduce the file size by playing the audio on one track instead of two.
  • If you don’t want to download a program, you can use a Web Compressor. You can upload an audio file or choose one from Google Drive or DropBox. From there, choose the format you would like to convert to and the quality. Then just click convert and you’ll have your modified audio file.

MP3 - Safe to Compress
MPEG Layer III Audio, the most common sound file format, is popular because it can be used to effectively compress sound files with little loss in quality. MP3 is one of the earlier compression methods for audio, and although there are other methods that can compress audio files smaller or without losing data, this type is the most widely used and is supported by many programs.

MP3 is one of the earlier compression methods for audio, and although there are other methods that can compress audio files smaller or without losing data, this type is the most widely used and is supported by many programs.

MP4 - Safe to Mildly Compress
MP4 files are more flexible than MP3s. They can contain video, audio, image and text data. This file type works differently than an MP3 though, as it relies on codecs to handle the code in the file.

FLAC – Safe to zip, but avoid converting and compressing
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. As the name implies, it uses a lossless compression, unlike MP3, meaning none of the data is lost and the quality of the audio remains the same. This results in a bigger file size.

People use FLAC format for top quality audio, if you want to preserve the quality of your audio file, do not convert from FLAC to another format such as MP3. You can zip up a FLAC file and the audio quality should not be affected.

More Methods of Compression

Compressing Audio Files

Compressing Files into a ZIP

You can further compress your files by zipping them. Zipping a file is a pretty quick process: simply right-click on your file and there should be a compress/zip option. Zipping a file does not compress it as much as the original file compression, so there is no need to worry about file resolution loss.

When zipping up JPEGs you won’t see much saved space as they’re already so compressed, but it is still a good idea to zip up JPGs in the circumstance that you need to upload several files at once.

Password Protection

If you need to protect your client or patient’s personal information, you can first password protect their files and then order CDs or DVDs with password protection.

Why not just leave everything on my PC?

Compression types for cds and dvds

Is it a good idea to store everything on your PC? While digital storage can be convenient, cloud storage can be unreliable or costly and hard drives fail within 6-10 years. In contrast, optical media such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays last for over 30 years.

Let Us Compress Your Files

Save yourself the time and energy, let Bison handle the compression for you. Through compression, we can even give more or less fullness to an album or the sound of specific frequencies to improve sound quality. Click here to learn more.

Uploading your Files or Mailing a Master Copy to Bison

You can upload media easily on our website. If you have a lot of files, you can zip them so they can all be added at once. Once you have added the required files, just click the upload button and you’re done.

Mailing Your Media To Bison

stamps-1712530_640

In case you cannot upload your media, mail it to our office in Winter Park, Florida. Once we receive it, we can perform compression, duplication and/or replication.

Master discs should be either CD-R/ROM, DVD-R/ROM, DVD+R, DVD+DL or DLT Tape.

Ready to get started? 

Get your quote today!

 

How to: Printing, Packaging, Fulfillment, and Mailing with Bison

Bison Disc offers complete fulfillment of products from start to finish – from printing and packaging to warehouse and mailing.

Here’s how to get started with our fulfillment, including tips on sharing products with new and existing customers.

Ordering the Right Discs for your Media

CD, DVD, Blu-Ray Mail Fulfillment

Your media will determine the disc type you need. If you’re a videographer hoping to share samples of work with nearby businesses, you should order DVD-Rs (4.7GB capacity) or Blu-Rays (25GB and 50GB) for your video files.

CDs have only 700 MB of storage space but are an affordable option for sharing images, song files, and PDFs – perfect for musicians, real estate agents, accountants, and lawyers.

CD Stereo TextIf you are sharing audio files, we offer CD Text implementation (pictured right) so that car stereos display your band or company’s name. We can also provide tuning if you have not recorded your audio in a professional studio.

If you want to protect your intellectual property, you may want to consider ordering DVD replication – no one can copy a DVD that is replicated and encrypted. Our encryption services for replicated DVDs protect your content from being copied disc to disc or disc to computer.

Fulfillment and Mailing options with Bison 

We provide fulfillment and mailing for all our printed products, including jewel cases,  DVD cases, digipaks, custom packaging, posters, book sets, and more. We can assemble, manufacture, warehouse, and ship all products to your customers or stores.

Our fulfillment options: 

  • Worldwide shipping and mailing via UPS, FedEx, and USPS
  • Mail list processing
  • Printing direct to mailer or labeling
  • Individual on-demand fulfillment
  • Drop-Shipping to multiple specified locations
  • Kitting & Assembly
  • Package Labeling & Form Preparation
  • Quality Control & Product Inspection
  • Product Barcoding for stores doing inventory
  • Product Shrinkwrapping

 

Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns 

Mailer Options Bison Disc

Save money in your direct mail campaign with our mailers – they are the right shape for USPS automated processing, reducing your postage costs. We offer a wide variety of mailer options, including 4 and 6 panel mailers, mailers with a custom pop up, zip strip mailers, 6×9 mailers, and more. These are printed full color throughout on sturdy paperboard with a secure slot for your discs.

Why do direct mail campaigns?

While the internet has created endless options for marketing, it has also emboldened advertising venues of the past like snail mail.

Email Vs Direct Mail Campaign

Customers are now saturated by the excessive online communication from social media, email, and texts. The average American receives a staggering 88 emails each day, and only opens 30% of them.

Even worse, click through rates on emails are low – an average of 3.2%. In comparison, 98% of people check their mailboxes daily and 77% sort through their physical mail as soon as they receive it.

Sending products through direct mail is refreshing and offers customers a tangible gift, which increases customer loyalty and improves brand awareness. In fact, 65% of customers who received marketing materials via direct mail then made purchases and engaged with the businesses that sent them.

Using CDs & DVDs in Direct Mail increases open rates and engagement even more.  When mailing CDs and DVDs, 91% of customers who received the mailer opened it. 89% of respondents said they would spend more time or the same amount of time with a direct mail piece if it included a DVD/CD, and 73% played the discs in their computers or televisions.

Direct Mail marketing

Ready to get started? 

At Bison, we set you up so you can work with the same account manager from quote to shipment, and provide a 100% product guarantee. You can upload your master disc and artwork easily on our website.

We’ll help you get the perfect mailer started for your buiness.

Get your quote today!

 

Why Companies are using Custom Printed DVDs to Share their Videos

How should you be sharing videos with your customers?

CCU learned that the best way to share their hours of educational video was with DVDs. Learn how CCU worked with Bison Disc to redesign their printed materials and DVDs for improved curriculum completion rates and customer loyalty:

Owning a DVD vs. Streaming Video Online

CCU sells educational DVD with courses on safe self-defense. With hours of video to study, it can take months for customers to complete the courses.

Knowing that they needed to provide an easy way for their customers to watch the videos, CCU tried both uploading the videos to the internet as well as distributing DVD sets.

Physical Products & Customer Loyalty

CCU Packaging

CCU found that, after receiving DVDs, more customers completed their programs than those who accessed the content online. In addition to increased course completion, customer retention increased.

“We immediately saw that customer loyalty was increasing when we started giving customers a tangible product to hold on to,” Operations Manager Caleb Skaggs explains. “Having custom, professional packaging added to our product’s value.”

Internet Streaming vs. DVDs

While there are still some customers who will appreciate having online streaming as an option, longer videos are better suited for ease of viewing.

Aside from comfort, using a computer brings forth its own pop-ups, distractions, and bad habits; online viewership is notoriously fickle. According to studies, for a 4-5 minute video, fewer than 60% of viewers will still be watching by the end.

Many Americans Still Lack Rapid, Reliable Internet

Many Americans still lack fast speed internet for video streaming

Internet speed is also a factor when wanting to stream video. Even cutting-edge urban centers like Miami, Florida and Los Angeles, California struggle with an internet speed of around 12 mbps. For streaming, a speed of around 20 Mbps or above reduces lag and drastically improves quality. Some areas of America lack unlimited data plans for their home internet as well, making video streaming an exorbitant cost – a single streamed movie can rack up about $100.

Don’t rely on your customer to have specific technology for your products. Rather than compromising the quality of your video with online streaming, it’s better to provide a perfect, reliable viewing experience for your customers with DVDs. For some customers, offline media is the only affordable option.

Finding the Right Distribution Partner

concealed-carry-university-bison-disc

CCU started distributing their instructional guides on discs to better serve their audience, but they needed to find a sustainable company to print and distribute with. At the time, they weren’t sure what type of packaging they wanted for their curriculum, or how it should be designed.

“We needed one complete fulfillment center and a professional’s help with the best way to present our media,” Skaggs explained. Bison Disc manufactures and fulfills orders daily for customers. Skaggs felt Bison was “more approachable, efficient, and helpful than other printers and distributors.”

Graphic Design Services to Complete the Packaging Designs

CCU’s entire curriculum line provides years of education and resources. They knew they needed their discs and packaging to appear like an encyclopedia in both credibility and physical appearance, but they weren’t sure what types of packaging would suit them best.

With the advisement of Bison Disc’s graphic designers, the DVD sets of curriculum look like a textbook that customers could add to their shelves along with other reference books.

“As the Director of Operations I have to manage all the moving pieces of the business, and it’s hard to do everything,” Skaggs stated. “Bison is always willing to help us with our products and experiment.  They want to work with your vision.”

“When it comes to unconventional solutions, I rely on Bison Disc’s experience and broad understanding of the market,” he continued. “They helped us every step of the way to make this a perfect piece for any bookshelf.”

Looking for better ways to share your media? We can help.

What is the Difference between Direct Disc Printing and CD Labels?

Direct Disc Printing vs. CD Labels

Pictured above, a DVD with Edgeless Direct Disc Printing (Not CD Labels)

What is the Difference between Direct Disc Printing and CD Labels?

Not sure if you want to order printed discs or just do-it-yourself with CD labels? Here we explain the difference between the Direct Disc Printing we do at Bison Disc compared to CD Labels you can stick on at home.

Print Quality & Lifespan

Difference-Between-Direct-Disc-Printing-and-CD-Labels-BisonDisc-10

CD Label

At Bison Disc, we print full-color artwork directly onto your CDs or DVDs – there is no label used and no paper or adhesive involved in the process.

CDs & DVDs last 30-70 years – compared to a hard drive’s lifespan of 4-8 years. If you take care of your disc’s data, you might as well ensure the art on your disc is also future-proof. A label will fade over time and is damaged by scratches and water, while direct disc printing is scratch resistant, waterproof, and made to last.

Difference-Between-Direct-Disc-Printing-and-CD-Labels-BisonDisc

Specifications:

Criteria Direct Disc Printing CD Labels
Fades over time in sun no yes
Need your own printer and ink? no yes
Can Jam in Your CD players no yes
Damaged by water no yes
Damaged by scratches no yes
Requires your labor no yes
General Cost per Disc 0.88 each for 100 1.20 each for 100
Rapid Duplication yes no/manual
Uses messy adhesives no yes

Edge-to-edge printing at Bison Disc

Edgeless printing

We also print edge-to-edge all the way to the center (pictured above), while labels leave a large area of space in the center completely bare. Plus, unlike your at-home printer, we never run out of ink.

Application

Application of CD labels is tricky

Applying a CD label to a disc is pretty tricky and often requires the additional cost of a label press if you want to do it right. If you’re not careful, you can waste an entire disc as well as the printed label.

With Direct Disc Printing, we print directly on the disc first using a white flood of ink for the base. The ink is UV-cured for durability and finally printed with artwork. The result is a full-color, future-proof design that runs edge-to-edge.

Cost

If you’re content doing labels at home on your own and you’re only planning on making a handful of CDs, you may be fine with labels. However, it will soon cost you more to do it yourself as it would if you ordered discs. Here’s a price breakdown:

  • 100 Custom Printed Discs from Bison, each with data duplication
    = .88 cents each
  • 100 DIY CDs with Labels and Duplication 
    $30 for the labels
    ~10 hours of labor applying labels and burning data at $8/hour /  = $104 for 100 discs 
    = $1.20 each

Your labor increases through quantity, so after 100 discs it’s no longer cost-effective to do this at home.

Creative Graphic Designers

You can send us your own artwork, but we also have expert designers to help you create your custom design for all your printed materials. Our 3d mockups are free.

Edge-to-edge printing at Bison Disc

Difference-Between-Direct-Disc-Printing-and-CD-Labels-BisonDisc-10

Since we work with many types of businesses we understand the need to work within a tight budget, but we still want to meet the highest quality possible. We do our best to do both, and our testimonials reflect that:

As an independent Artist and always on a shoe string budget. Bison was Point on and very Patient and Easy to work with. I Highly recommend Bison Disc! I will be using them again and again. ” - Currie (via Bison Discs’s Facebook)

Data duplication options

We also offer data duplication and replication.

  1. Duplication – a recordable disc is burned with your content or movie onto high grade Philips media. Disc duplication is best for small orders (less than 1,000 discs).
  2. Replication – if you have a larger order, you may want to instead order disc replication. Replication starts with a glass master made from your original master. Your content is then embedded in the disc, creating an exact replica of the glass master.

In 20, years Bison has never had a reported issue with a duplicated disc’s playability or quality.

If you’re printing discs for a movie and you want to ensure that it is recorded on every disc flawlessly, let us help. Our burners can handle dozens of discs at once, while most homes have only one or two disc burners, making DIY CD labeling even more time-consuming.

As an indie filmmaker, Bison is the only duplicator I will ever use.” – Jeffrey (via Bison Discs’s Facebook)

Short on time? We’re fast. We can suit your emergency needs with our 24-hour ship products.

Packaging

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 2.37.33 PM

If you print through us we can help you craft unique packaging for your discs.

We’re one of the only stores that offer printing for Digipaks, folders with CD mounts, wallets, and multi-disc sets. All packaged discs from Bison Disc can arrive at your door shrink-wrapped, serialized, and ready for sale.

If you already know you want to use optical media for your backup solutions, save yourself the time and frustration of doing it yourself and let us print for you.

At Bison Disc, we’ve been printing CDs and DVDs for 20 years. We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and ability to work on any project with any customer. We’re happy to be the suppliers for musicians, authors, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies.

Get started with your order here

Use CD Mailers to Drive Conversions Through Direct Mail

cd-mailers

Reaching out to your potential customer base through direct mail is a tried and true way to market. This method can be effective, if leveraged properly. You want your piece of direct mail to portray a clear message while also standing out from other pieces of mail. Bison Disc helps you achieve your direct mail goals by offering design and printing services for CD and DVD mailers. Our team of professionals helps you achieve higher conversion rates.

Start with visual appeal to help your brand stand out. When your customers reach into their mailboxes and pull out their letters, a Bison Disc CD mailer is sure to stand out. If you have a new idea or you saw something cool in your own mailbox, turn to our design team for assistance achieving the look you want.

 Direct Mail Campaigns Achieve Results

Generally, direct mail response rates tend to outperform a number of digital methods. According to the 2015 Direct Marketing Association Response Rate Report, direct mail with a list of customers actually achieves a 3.7% response rate. A list of prospects often achieves a 1% response rate. In comparison, the DMA reports a .1% response rate to social media.  So, what can we learn from these statistics? Simply put, direct mail gets results. A CD mailer boosts your return on investment.

Materials considered by the DMA to be ‘dimensional’ like a CD mailer achieve a 4% response rate. A visually intriguing and exciting messages drives customers to make a purchasing decision immediately. Including a DVD or CD in a direct mail campaign may be the right decision for your company. If you are considering this form of promotion, reach out to an account manager at Bison Disc to get more information about what we can do for your business.

  • 91% of all respondents who received a DVD/CD in the mail opened the mailer.
  • 89% of respondents said they would spend more time or the same amount of time with a direct mail piece if it included a DVD/CD.
  • 73% played the discs in their computers or televisions.

Full Color CD Mailers for Direct Mail Campaigns

There is nothing like an informative piece of marketing material to convey your brand message. For many, a CD mailer helps you stand out while providing additional information to people that make use of the CD or DVD. Bison Disc specializes in full color DVD mailers that are visually interesting. Our mailers all come in full color throughout and on sturdy paperboard. The slot in the mailer for the disc keeps it secure in the mail. Popular CD mailer options include:

 

4-Panel Self Mailers

4-Panel Horizontal Mailers

Custom Pop-Up Mailers

6-Panel Mailers

Zip Strip Mailers

6×9 Mailer

Auto Letter Rate Mailer (ALRM) with Reply Card Pocket

 

An account manager from Bison Disc works with you to design the look you want. We offer various formats including horizontal and vertical printing, 4 or 6 panel options, and the inclusion of your own artwork. From the first step of the process until the final CD mailer is sent, Bison Disc has the same account manager work with you on the project.

 

Save On Postage With Our USPS Approved Mailers

An advantage of coming to Bison Disc for CD mailers is our expertise. We produce disc mailers that are the right shape for USPS automated processing. This actually saves you a considerable amount of money in shipping. DVD and CD mailers matched to the letter size specifications set forth by the USPS cost less to ship. Our mailers are approved for automatic letter rates. If you want us to take care of mailing on your behalf, Bison Disc will do so for you.

 

For direct mail campaigns our team:

 

                              Processes Your Mailing Listing For Accuracy through the National System

                              Removes All Duplicates From Your Address List

                              Addresses All of Your Mailers

                              Adds Bar Codes to the Mailers to Qualify for Presorted Automation

                              Delivers The Mailers to the Post Office

 

About Bison Disc

Bison Disc is pleased to offer a complete range of CD and DVD printing and packaging options. Our company works with customers on projects including custom packaging, jewel cases, and digipaks. Bison Disc has offers a range of products including CD and DVD mailers for companies looking for direct mail conversions. Make your piece of mail stand out from all of the plain envelopes sent by most companies. Additional features as well as rush services are available from our company. You can upgrade your order to a 24-hour turnaround if necessary.