Audio CDs – Information for Bands

Looking to manufacture your Audio CD project? Audio CD copying for bands is a large part of the work we do. Discus Group has been copying audio CDs for around 20 years. Some of the artists we have produced audio CDs for include Ed Sheeran, Sea Sick Steve, Shakespears Sister, Gemma Ray, Nina Nesbit and Lucy Diamond .

For small orders or quick delivery we recommend you go for duplicated audio CDs. For larger orders we would recommend replicated audio CDs. People often ask if there is a difference between duplicated and replicated audio CDs, there is no difference in the quality of the audio between the 2 production processes.

It’s important that you know the difference between audio CDs and digital audio files. A CD containing MP3 files isn’t an audio CD but a data CD containing digital audio files. Only a ‘Red Book’ Audio CD is and actual audio CD which will play in all CD players.

What is a Red Book Audio CD? Red Book is the CD specification outlined by Philips for Audio CDs. CD players are designed to play audio CDs created to the Red Book standard. If an audio CD isn’t produced to this standard then it may not play on a CD player.

If you have an audio CD project which you want copying speak to one of our project managers by calling 0330 333 1090, emailing

Planning an audio CD project? Here are some things to consider.

CD Text

CD text can be added to you audio CD so compatible CD players can display information like the track title, artist and Album name.

If you need help adding CD text then we can assist with this. Call 0330 333 1090 or email to talk to one of our project managers.

Be aware that most computer programs do not read CD text from the audio CD. Instead they check an online database to get the information. You need to register your disc with these databases in order for programs such as Windows Media Player and ITunes to display track information.

Gracenotes is the largest online database and is used by Itunes –


International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC codes) are embedded into audio CDs. ISRC codes are normally embedded by the recording studio when the master CD is produced.

The codes assist the PPL in collection of royalty payments on your behalf, this is particularly important if your CD is likely to get air play.

If you need help embedding ISRC codes to your audio CD text then we can assist with this, you will need to apply for the ISRC codes yourself though. Speak to one of our project managers by calling 0330 333 1090, emailing

To apply for ISRC codes visit the PPL UK web site.


Not all projects will require a barcode, it will depend on where you are planning on selling your CDs. Some retailers insist a barcode is present. If you are selling the discs yourself then you do not need one.

EAN13 barcodes are the standard used in the UK, these have 13 digits. UPC barcodes have 12 digits and are a US standard. Some outlets will allow UPC barcodes in the UK but to be sure your barcode can be used by all retailers its best to use an EAN13 barcode.  Be careful what you buy on the internet or contact us and we can support you.

If you do need a barcode we can supply one and add it to your artwork for you. Call 0330 333 1090 or email to talk to one of our project managers

MCPS Licence

If you are covering or using someone else’s material then you will need an MCPS license. The MCPS license covers royalty payments to the copyright owners.

If you are looking to produce a limited number of copies then the easiest license to obtain is the Limited Manufacture Licence (LM). The Limited Manufacture Licence is quick, affordable and grants you ‘blanket’ permission to legally use any music in your own DVDs, CDs or videos (and other formats) – that’s any music, from any genre, by any artist including the big names.

See the PRS for Music website for details

Supplying your Masters

You can supply us your Audio CD master in 2 ways, as a physical audio CD or electronically as a DDP. If you supply digital audio files (eg WAV or MP3) then we first have to make a physical master to copy from and send you a proof for approval.

Tips for burning your audio CD master:

  • Burn at slow speed.
  • Always Verify.
  • Always use a good quality disc such as Falcon Media, Imation, Verbatim or Taiyo Yuden.
  • Always check the disc in an audio CD player (not just a computer).
  • Make sure there are no scratches on the data surface.

Popular packaging options

Jewel Cases

Standard Jewel (with black tray) -9mm spine. CD album case

Slim Jewel cases / Maxi Single Cases

Slim Jewel case 5.2mm spine

Card Wallets / PVC Wallets

CD Card WalletPoly Wallet with Flap

Looking for something different?
Try Lancing Packs / Digipaks

CD 4pp Digipak. Custom printed card CD cases. CD Lancing pack. Card Wallet with flap. ROM Wallet

Visit our packaging page for more ideas or take a look at the artwork template page to download artwork templates.