When considering producing a CD, it helps to first determine what will be recorded, for what audience the CD will be recorded, what the budget for recording will be, and how the CDs will be distributed. These factors will have an impact on the overall process of CD production, and determining these factors beforehand will save the producer time and money. If a person will be producing a CD for music, the person or band who will be recorded should spend a significant amount of time practicing the songs before going into the recording studio to save time and money.
There are two general routes to producing a CD: doing it at home with a person's own recording equipment, or renting studio time from a professional recording studio. The former is far less expensive in most cases, though the latter is easier, quicker, and often less stressful. Recording at home can be done easily with available technology, though one will need to invest in the proper equipment. This option is best if a person intends to be producing a CD regularly or semi-regularly. Recording at a professional studio will take less time and effort because professionals will do the set-up and ensure that all aspects of the recording process are done correctly.
Decide who the finished product will be marketed toward, and how the CD will be distributed. Producing a CD includes recording it, mixing it, mastering it, labeling it, and distributing it, and all these steps in the process cost money. Be sure to determine a budget beforehand, and consider labeling and packaging services as well as options for doing the packaging and labeling oneself. Many office supply stores sell CD labeling kits, and jewel cases can be purchased for a low cost as well. For a more professional look, consider professional labeling services. These services will provide cleaner, more professional results for a reasonable price.
If possible, print off a limited number of CDs and gauge the sales results. Many people print up a large number of CDs that do not sell or otherwise get distributed, so the overall cost of the project goes up without a significant return on investment. Do a limited run of CDs at first and see how sales go, or how distribution channels work. Once the producer can make an accurate estimation as to how many CD units will move, more CDs can be printed and distributed.