I dont know if you can help or advise us where to go,
And before I start I want to say that this is relating to my nonprofit theatre group The South Devon Players in Brixham, (http://southdevonplayers.weebly.com) producing audio CDs of content of which we own ALL the copyrights; because I posted this a bit before Christmas online on some forums and recieved nothing but hate mail accusing me of looking to pirate CDs .This absolutely NOT the case.
We would like to produce a couple of audio CDs, one of some seashanties about our local town which we wrote, and one as a dramatised audio play of our next show, as its recieving huge amounts of interest. Now we (even if we put our personal money in as well as totally wiping out the group bank account) do not literally own enough money to approach a recording studio or have a print-run of several thousand CDs run off at any one time, we are looking at more like 50 at a go. We are able to record good audio ourselves, but need to produce the CDs.
Naturally we thought about simply recording discs at home and printing labels, but two of us, doing a test of the shanties we already have recorded, have found that while our CDs produced on home PCs work fine on some machines, they dont work, for example, in three poeples car stereos, or on the theatre company CD player - all of which only play "bought" CDs.
While this doesnt stop us having MP3s for sale online, we have several events from March onwards where we have been specifically asked to sell CD recordings of the play and the songs; mainly for older people who dont use computers much - several have asked and when I offered an MP3, didnt understand what an MP3 was even!
What is the difference (coding or playability wise) of "bought" CDs as opposed to home-produced ones, and is there a program or kind of CD which we would be able to get, to record CDs which work universally? The last thing we want to do is sell CDs which only work in some places. Or is there a low-cost production place in the UK where we can get them made in short / cheap runs?
Please note all facilities need to be UK-relevant since obviously thats where we are.
If you want universal playability then you *must* go for the more expensive replication service (not 'duplicated' which is the same as home-producing them).
If this is out of reach then I suggest you be honest with your customers and explain on the packaging that the CD's are home-produced, and have the price also reflect this.