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 925 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!
    Adiós ami­gos.

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