We would like CDs by Christmas – When do we need to record?

cd delivery

One of the most common questions we are asked at this time of year relates to Christmas recordings.  Specifically, schools requiring their CDs before the end of term or for a Christmas Fair, want to know when they should record.  Generally speaking, everyone wants to book the recording date as late as possible in the term in order to have as much time to practice but also ensure they get the CDs in good time to sell to parents.

Consequently, as a direct result of this, our busiest month for recording School Christmas CDs is November.  Broadly speaking, although dates will vary from place to place, this year it appears that most schools are planning to break up on Friday 20 December.  Some private schools may be a little earlier than this.  Nevertheless this gives us some indication of the ‘ultimate deadline’ for the majority of Primary Schools we will be recording in over the next few months.

The best way to determine a recording date is usually to work backwards from the point you want your CDs at school available for sale.   For most schools this will usually be a Christmas fair or perhaps an event around half term.   Some schools just want the CDs ready by the end of term, although we would always recommend not leaving it too late.  Perhaps the easiest way to work out the delivery date is to put together a schedule to show what needs to happen.

How long does it take?

A summary of the recording process, using some arbitrary dates could be as follows.

Based on the 2019 calendar and working backwards from the point of delivery:

  • Monday 2 December – CDs required at school.
  • Friday 29 November – Latest date CDs need to be despatched from our warehouse using a next day courier.
  • Wednesday 27 November – Preferred date for despatch on courier.
  • Friday 22 November – Artwork and Audio needs to be submitted for CD production to start.
  • Thursday 21 November – Sign off from school needed on CD Artwork.
  • Wednesday 20 November – CD Audio processed and ready for production.
  • Tuesday 19 November – CD Artwork files supplied to school for approval.
  • Monday 18 November – Recording Day.

Whilst the above is somewhat approximate in terms of dates, this schedule, or something similar is why we generally quote ‘approximately 2 weeks’ from recording day to CD delivery.

Quicker Turnaround

In certain situations it might be possible to have CDs delivered in just 1 week from the recording date. In order to facilitate this we would be relying on the following:

CD Artwork either done in advance of the recording session or done by us during the lunch break on your recording day.  The artwork would then need to be signed off by email that same day.  We would then need to have studio time available to process the audio either on the evening or your recording or first thing the following day in order to get everything into production within 24 hours of your recording session.   Finally we would be reliant upon a courier carrying out next day delivery – generally this isn’t an issue but we always advise customers that we do not control the final part of the process and just occasionally 3 party couriers might cause a delay.

In this instance it could be possible to operate the following schedule:

  • Monday 2 December – CDs required at school.
  • Friday 29 November – CDs despatched by next day courier.
  • Tuesday 26 November 4pm – CD Production started.
  • Tuesday 26 November 9am – Audio production and mastering in our studios.
  • Monday 25 November – Recording Day.  Artwork created and signed off either in advance or during the course of the recording day.

Whilst the above is possible and we have turned recordings around in just 1 week before now, in fact even sooner in one or two exceptional cases, this is not something we can always guarantee, particularly at busy times such as in the run up to Christmas.

A compromise and realistic option

A two week turnaround is always our default position when someone asks how long it takes to get the CDs.  In order to stick to this we increasingly try to ensure that we have done the artwork on the day of the recording and that you sign it off.  In many ways, this is a lot easier for everyone because it means we have authority to proceed and you don’t have to keep receiving emails from us asking about artwork.

However, Christmas is our busiest time, and of course everyone’s end of term is broadly at the same point in December, as indeed are a lot of Christmas fairs.  Therefore the earlier you are able to record the more chance you will have of receiving the CDs within the 2 week window.  Our busiest time of year for school recording is always from the October Half term onwards. From then we are pretty much out recording every day.  This doesn’t stop us getting the audio production done and doesn’t affect production times.  But nevertheless in busy periods it might just take a little longer.

In summary therefore if you are looking to record a Christmas CD at your school this year, we would recommend trying to find a date either during October or earlier in November.  This will guarantee you delivery in plenty of time to maximise selling opportunities at school.   You can check our availability on the calendar which features on every page of our website. When you are ready to book your recording session with us, just get in touch.

Get in touch with Recordings 4 Schools

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