There was a day when you knew what Side B meant.
Side B doesn’t exist any more as cassette tapes are long gone. But then, for the most part, so are CDs and DVDs.
However, you must publish your content on CDs or DVDs all the same. And also include tagged files. All for good reason.
So let’s examine the reasons.
Why have CDs and DVDs still have their place
It’s obvious that for the most part CDs and DVDs are quickly losing their place, if they’ve not already lost their place completely. So why still use CDs or DVDs when delivering content? It’s called perceived value. If you’re selling something that costs a few hundred or few thousand dollars, you want to get something tangible. The feeling of just downloading a whole bunch of files may appeal to your sense of instant gratification, but you still want to get something in the mail; some parcel you can rip up. And that parcel may mostly contain the notes, and yes the CDs and DVDs. For the short term at least, having a physical parcel creates tangible sense of value. And just downloads won’t do.
Downloads are the add on bit
The chances are that most folks might use your CDs or DVDs when in their car—while we still have CD and DVD players in our cars. But mp3 players will take over—and for the most part have invaded our offices, our homes and have shown up on phones and personal audio players such as the iPod. Which is why the mp3 files need packaging of their own.
So what packaging do you need on downloads/mp3 files?
- Cover Design
- ID3 Information Embedded in the MP3 File
Most of your customers will open up their mp3 files in a player such as a phone, or iPod, or even mobile devices such as iPads. And as you open the file, you’ll instantly see a cover design. This cover design isn’t automatic. A cover has to be placed on every file (though you can put a cover on twenty or twenty thousand files at one go, if you want). This cover needs to be professionally designed. This means you should learn more about what NOT to do in design. I’d recommend you read “The Non-Designers Design Book” by Robin Williams. While it won’t teach you cover design, it will at least ensure you don’t do “grotty” design (Note: You’ll find all Psychotactics workshops/courses/podcasts have all of the above).
Of course let’s not forget ID3 Information
ID3 is the information embedded in every mp3 or AAC file. Now this may sound pretty complex—all these terms. They’re not. You can simply right click on any song in iTunes (yes, you’ll need the free iTunes) and you will find there’s information to be filled in. Again you can fill in twenty or twenty thousand mp3 files all at once. That means you can assign an author to a whole bunch of files. Or album name. Or genre. What you’ll have to go in and do for every file is name the file individually. That’s the only job that requires individual attention. The rest of the information can easily be done in a single batch and at one go. I used to tag all my files in iTunes on the PC. Ironically I found it didn’t seem to work quite as well for me on the Mac. So I paid my $15 for ID3 Editor and it does a splendid job.
These mp3s can then be uploaded onto a secure server, or if you’re shipping out the information to clients, you may want to have one CD with all these mp3s in a single folder. That way when they get your package they can simply copy the mp3s to their player.
There are still folks who want CDs for their players.
Till recently my car (which I since sold and haven’t replaced) had a tape player. These are relics of the dinosaur age. Yes you will still need to send CDs and DVDs. But be sure to make sure your digital files are well packaged too. And that’s when you’ll really have your audio ready for distribution.