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 Replies

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

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

  • 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.

  • 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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