Performing artists have been able to produce CDs independently since around the 1990’s with equipment that’s affordable and understandable by many people.  A professional level of training, equipment, and funding has not been necessary for decades to get your music, stories, lectures, or other kind of audio recording into a CD format and distributed to the people who share your interests.  The journey, however, is still a long and arduous one for any artist questing for that golden ring of the CD. Time equals money, so an artist can try to make up for lack of one by investing with the other, but both are required.  There are numerous recipes for success, and an artist will have to make many choices along the way taking into account their own priorities, resources, and goals.

In Atlantia, numerous bards have produced their own CDs, shared beautiful music and stories with us, and contributed to the ability of our populace to memorize lyrics to our favorite tunes. They and other musicians throughout the SCA have also produced CDs that help expand our understanding and enjoyment of SCA period music, music inspired by period themes, use of period dance music, and encouraged performers of all kinds to participate in the SCA performing arts community.

So, where do you start if you want to produce a CD?  If you’re a SCAdian who’s been bitten by the CD bug, where do you even begin?  As of this writing, the Complete Anachronist has not yet published an issue on “How to Publish A CD for SCAdians”, and there is no single authoritative web page on the best way to do it.  We are, however, blessed with a strong community of bards and other performers who thrive on supporting each other.  Many of these folks have produced CDs and are willing to tell their stories.

This blog post is the first in a series of blog posts written by SCAdians who have produced their own CDs. Reading their stories will be a key piece of the education necessary for any SCAdian who wishes to begin their own journey to producing their own CD.  What used to be a quest to meet as many CD-producing bards at Pennsic or Gulf Wars or Lillies or wherever you could find them and pick their brains about how they did what they did will hopefully be transformed into this series of blog posts.  I still encourage any questing would-be-CD-producers to find folks who have already produced a CD before to hear their stories, but maybe your time can be better spent in creative Q&A after reading their story here first.

We’re going to touch on a very wide range of topics in this series: recording equipment, logistics, printing and reproduction, finances, solo and group work, online publishing, copyright, merchanting in the SCA, the creative process, inspiration and muse, original work vs. not, documentable-to-SCA-period work vs. not, production value of CDs, audiences, SCA vs. outside-SCA, purpose & drive, and more I’m sure I can’t predict. We will touch on these topics, and there is no way we will completely cover them since CD production is a huge, neverending world. Please enjoy these articles as a place to start and nurture your CD journey.   If you have questions you’d like answered about the quest to produce a CD, please add a comment to this or the following blog posts. I’ll do my best to get your questions answered and include your suggestions.

Thank you for participating in the Performing Arts Community!

Lady Sophia the Orange

Kingdom of Atlantia’s Deputy Minister of Arts and Sciences for Performing Arts

Filed under: CD Production

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