Guitarist hands out the envelope format album of the band with the album art looking all colorful and adds “We also have it on Apple Music and Spotify,” just a moment before the manager tries to say “I don’t have a CD-rom,”.
Manager needs to accept the gift, she puts the music album in her bag. When she goes home, the album will go out of her bag, go into her shelf of CDs. The band just gained a window of alone time with the manager, an extra attention. If she flips the cover to see its back, decides to Spotify the band, score. Because we all trust our music, right? The hard thing is to make right people listen to it in the first place. 

An establishing string quartet finally making their living out of their concerts instead of wedding gigs; they have now their third album available, and now for them giving a concert includes the part after the performance when they sit behind a table to sign the CDs in front of their audience who wants to chip in to the project a bit more and bring a bit of the concert home.

Thousands of fans, inter-continental tours; the super-popular-extremely-famous pop star also still sells his CDs after the gig. Since he is super-popular-extremely-famous, he might not be the one selling them, but the HD sound quality music in the CD is needed by the audience and the profit from the jewel case album with his signature on it is still part of the production budget.

At the age of streaming, musicians still produce physical albums. The reason why might differ but owning an album still is part of the game.
From being a business card to being a collectible item, especially CD format is a shape-shifter on its own when it comes to function. Knowing why you need a physical album can help you shape your budget, your idea and the material you want to use for producing your album in the CD or LP format.

A freshly starting band needs as much merch as possible to become visible, without finishing the money in the band kitty. This kind of merchandise is usually made with two motivations; firstly to hand out to producers, venue owners, potential band members, basically to anyone that could be collaborated with in the future. This type of gestures are a must even in the most established band or musician’s life, so why not start doing it from the beginning?

Reason number two for low budget merch is approaching the supporters of the band. Since even to make a reasonable profit the band doesn’t need to put a big number on the price tag, low budget production of an album makes it possible for fans to buy it without much consideration about their wallets. Allowing a small extra cash flow to the band to compensate the venue rent, ticket percentage, organizer’s cut etc. matters a lot. All start up bands and musicians fall in love with their first 1000 listeners on Spotify, but yup, selling 10 CDs after a concert gives a pretty warm feeling too! (and is more profitable than the streaming when the numbers are not hitting 100.000s)

In the meantime, today’s fashion is changing direction with the awareness of global need for green act, which means one can only produce jewel case music albums if it is done in an entirely environmentally-friendly manner from preferably recycled material for the conscious buyer to purchase. Because of this reason a lot of high end musicians and bands are going for the cardboard look as well. Mainly in the digi-pack format. Which makes the hand-crafted album covers done by a starting band look much more in context than before, so take the hint and get your crafting materials ;)

Here we have organized a small overview of options, ordered from lower to higher budgets. After reading this article you will gain awareness about what packaging would be best for you regarding your plans.

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Plastic Wallet
If budget, time and easiness are your main concerns, then you can consider choosing plastic wallets. Quite often used for demos, singles, or albums of new and independent artists, plastic wallet album covers are possibly the most cost-efficient packaging available. Simply print-out your new album cover, cut the album art from the printed paper, and place it together with a copy of your CD. The plastic wallet is incredibly thin, allowing more space for carrying more copies around. This makes them ideal when travelling for gigs, busking on the street, or sticking into promotion packs for venues and agents.
Downside; envelopes being so thin, they will not be placed anywhere where they will have presentation power. Similarly, the unified look of the plastic envelopes limit the personalization of the album’s look. But do they carry your music and present your image somehow? Yes.

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Card Wallet
Similarly to the plastic wallets, the card wallets are known for being a low-cost solution. This packaging type brings you back to the beginning of the industry of album covers, when vinyl discs were stored in plain paper envelopes. Nowadays, you can find a wide variety of eco-friendly options, including envelopes made from recycled materials and even made of compostable materials. Like the plastic wallets, the card wallets are space-friendly, ideal for musicians who travel often. They do offer a greater unification of the printed material, which will include the art from AlbumCoverZone on one side, and on the other, information such as the track list. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a full front and back design!

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DIY “One Paper Fold”

If you are a DIY type of person, the “One Paper Fold” might be an option for you. This packaging includes nothing more than a single A4 page which you can print at home with your album art and your remaining text content. It is a very cost-efficient package, but you will spend longer time to assemble the full cover, for you do have to measure well the lines for your folding and glueing. If you are good at handcrafts, the DIY One Paper Fold will always make your listeners value your hard work.
Carrying this to the next level; if you use an outside with patterned paper, such as papyrus, and reinforce the inside with another layer of cardboard, your CD album will gain durability and visibility by being thicker.
Based on your “engineering” skills, you can have an envelope or a booklet with your One Page Fold. Our designer team is one e-mail away from helping you out with the layout in various formats.

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Jewel Case
The jewel case is the most-commonly used CD case, and that makes it much cheaper than other available options when talking in bigger numbers. It is sturdier than cardboard or thin plastic wallets, offering a greater protection and storage of your CD. Its inner “teeth” allow the insertion of plenty of printed content, for if you are thinking of adding your cover art to a booklet.

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Digi-pak
Digi-pak packages come in a variety of forms, allowing musicians and bands to shape it to their personal concept. It usually comes with one or two inner acrylic CD holders placed inside a foldable card. Card part can have all sorts of angles and folding styles which allows the musicians to have the song info, band info, etc. in a layout that they want, instead of a uniformed booklet. These models for music albums are often used as a more luxurious alternative to the standard jewel case. Which is why this is more useful for slightly established bands with a higher budget for the merch. Since the production material includes less plastic than the Jewel Case, it will be appreciated more in today’s audience circles.

Enjoy your search for your look, make your research and if you need, our designer team is here to offer their service for the layout options. Having a physical version of your album, with the front and back, is a game changer for your career!