How to Make A Compilation CD

Making a Compilation CD [c-CD] is quite an affair. The process is described in detail in several places, some shallower than others.

I never make c-CDs for myself. The discs I burn that are composites of artists, aren’t compilations. I just put them on a CD so I can listen to them elsewhere. A c-CD must be made for someone else, and with specific intent. That is the overriding rule. Here are some others.

a] Each song on the c-CD must have bearing on the person it is being given to. If this bearing is projected through your own doors of perception, thats just dandy.

b] Each song must have bearing on how you see yourself or want to see yourself in relation to the person the c-CD is being given to. If this person is a love interest, limit the sap songs to one or none.

c] You may not have multiple songs by the same artist, even if the artist is a member of another band.

d] You may not put a song on the c-CD that refers to the person you are giving the CD to.

e] Do not, under any circumstances, put on a song that you think is funny.

f] Do not, put on too many songs that sound the same. Variety is necessary.

g] Break these rules at your own peril.

That is what I try to go by. I might add some once I think of them.

h] Each song on the CD must relate to each other song on the CD. This relationship cannot be taken to a higher order such as, ‘all the songs relate to me or the person I am giving the c-CD to.’ see a] or b] above. This way, if the c-CD washes up on shore of a desert island and someone with a functioning CD player finds it on the beach, upon listening to the disc they will sense the theme of the CD, even if they are familiar with none of the songs. This is also provided that the disc itself is not too sand-etched to be read by a CD player.

12 thoughts on “How to Make A Compilation CD

  1. i enjoy the art of the compilation cd. i cant say i always follow all of the rules all the time, but for the most part…pretty good rules. i havent made anyone a good compilation for awhile. maybe i should get on that.

  2. Good christ, then apparently I am one HELLUVA miserable failure at cd mixes. *Sniffle* And I always thought mine were pretty decent. What did I know?

  3. Ah, but then you need to make a c-CD that you can get it on with a lady. A whole new set of rules for that one.

  4. Yes it is a compilation CD if you are making it for yourself… you are compiling songs together on a CD, therefore you are making a compilation. I often make themed compilations for my car like rock, 80s or 90s, and I take care in the tracklisting, therefore it’s a compilation CD.

  5. Agreeing with Dana here. I always thought of a compilation CD as a CD that has…well, a compilation of songs on it. In my opinion, the only CD that is NOT a compilation CD is the one that is untouched and exactly as it was released by the record company. If you have mixed any other material in there at all, it seems to me that it would become a compilation CD. The information I was kind of hoping to find here was more like “You shouldn’t put more than 2 slow songs in a row” or “The first 3 songs should be up-beat” etc. While I disagree with almost every rule you put here, I would have to say that I disagree with rule [c]. No “best of” compilations of a single band?

  6. Hmmm – this is NOT a ‘How to Make a Compilation CD’ rather than a (subjective) what not to do when making a Compilation CD.

  7. I disagree with rule c. I once had an artist on a compilation multiple times because the songs were more like segues or without lyrics which helped transition to the next song or mood. I do believe that having the same artist more than three times can be excessive. Just be aware of your intentions for using an artist more than once or it will seem as if you ran out of ideas.

  8. I like the idea of giving someone a compilation cd, I don’t think you should live by set rules, it’s how you feel and the cd should go with this. I once recieved a cd where 9/25 of the songs were by the same artist. This was good as the artist was new to me and has started a new interest. I also was given a cd with unearthly sounds of despair and torture backed by double beat drums, this too has opened my eyes and ears to new ‘music’, I was even provided with a chill out trance style cd that progressed into a more rock sounding statement. I have enjoyed all these compilation cd’s and there were all from people who applied they’re own rules. It’s your cd, at by your own rules!
    Adios amigos.

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