Disc Makers Celebrates 70 Years of Pioneering the DIY Music Revolution

The nation’s leading disc manufacturer gears up to commemorate the prestigious milestone with a series of events, freebies, and surprises

Pennsauken, NJ, February 4, 2016 — CD and DVD manufacturing company Disc Makers turns 70 this year. That’s quite a long time for any company, and especially one in the fast-paced music business. Disc Makers dominates the US optical disc market and is widely recognized as the #1 manufacturer for independent artists, filmmakers, and businesses. To celebrate, Disc Makers will be hosting monthly events, giveaways, and offers, starting with the Axe to the Max Sweepstakes, featuring a Gibson Custom Shop Flying V guitar prize package.

Humble beginnings
The company started out in 1946, as a small factory Philadelphia entrepreneur and record label owner Ivin Ballen built to press up 78 rpm shellac records for his small indie label. As formats started to evolve – from 78s to 45s to LPs – Ivin Ballen kept up with the times, added “modern” record pressing equipment, and built his business to start serving other record labels in the Northeastern US. His son Morris joined the business after college, and eventually took over ownership of the plant.

By 1980 the company hit a rough patch: one too many labels hadn’t paid their bills, and the company went into Chapter 11. They were scary times for Morris Ballen, and they got him thinking that there had to be a better way to run a record factory.

During the early 80’s, recording technology started to become more affordable, mixing consoles started getting smaller, and home studios started to spring up across the country. Suddenly, independent artists – from seasoned folk musicians, to post-disco dance music creators and punk rock kids – could afford to record their own music. Ballen recognized that if someone made it easy for these artists to make their own records, they would not be beholden to record labels any longer. Sure enough, by 1982 the company had emerged from bankruptcy.

Ushering in the DIY music revolution
And so the concept of the modern era of Disc Makers – and, perhaps not entirely coincidentally, the DIY music revolution – was born.

The company grew right along with the explosion of new releases spilling onto the market. As new technology arrived, the company evolved with tremendous growth in optical discs. In fact, it was a continuation of the company’s “format neutral” approach, started in the 1960s, which has led the company across seven decades of continuous growth and an array of mediums.

“We’re in the business of helping artists get their content to market, regardless of the product or technology format,” said Tony van Veen, a former musician himself who became CEO of Disc Makers in 2007. “Our flexible business strategy has led us to adapt to the times and still keep an eye on what’s ahead, all the while providing value to our independent artists, filmmakers, and businesses.”

So what happens when that product is no longer physical?

Adapting to a non-physical world
When Napster exploded onto the scene in 1999, it turned the music industry on its head. This ultimately led to Disc Makers’ acquisition of CD Baby, the largest digital music distributor in the country, back in 2008. Interestingly enough, with all the growth in downloads and streaming, Disc Makers continues to release more titles on CD each and every year. “The role of the CD has changed,” says van Veen. “Today, with streaming available on your phone, CDs are mostly used for sales at live concerts. Artists autograph them after their set, and fans love the souvenir.” With that evolution, the average disc order has shrunk (most orders today are for 100 pieces), but those discs, sold at $10 a pop by the artist, still form a significant chunk of any DIY’s income.

Today, Disc Makers’ one-stop shop approach supplies their customers with everything they’ll need throughout their careers, including graphic design and mastering, disc manufacturing and printing, global CD and digital distribution, and a host of promotional services. And it’s all done in-house at the company’s headquarters in Pennsauken, NJ. The company is one of the largest manufacturers in Southern New Jersey (right outside Philadelphia), employing close to 400 professionals who made 40 million CDs and DVDs last year.

What’s next for Disc Makers?
“You can either fight the future, or work towards it,” said Tony van Veen. “Physical sales are still essential to an indie artist’s earned income, but overall success requires a more holistic approach. Our goal has always been to help independent artists take a real shot at making their dreams come true and our comprehensive package includes the resources needed to help them reach audiences around in the world. Whatever it takes for an artist to get their content to market, we’ll be there to make it easy.”

Excitement all year long
When you’ve been a part of the music industry for this long, you make a few friends. And every month this year, Backstage—Disc Makers’ free weekly email—is hosting exclusive giveaways and offers on music gear directly from partnering companies such as Sweetwater, The Music Zoo, and many others.

To keep up with the latest offers, you can get your Backstage pass here.

Follow Disc Makers’ yearlong celebration at http://www.discmakers.com/70-years/.

About Disc Makers

In business since 1946, Disc Makers is the nation’s leading independent CD & DVD manufacturer, offering a wide variety of products and services, including state-of-the-art automated printers and duplication systems as well as complete CD & DVD duplication, CD & DVD replication, custom disc packaging, and vinyl record pressing for independent musicians, filmmakers, and businesses for the last 70 years. Disc Makers also offers a variety of additional services including download cards, posters, custom USB Flash drives, music distribution, in-house audio mastering and post production, DVD and CD-ROM multimedia authoring, award-winning graphic design, and their Blog, which offers free tools and professional advice from industry experts. Disc Makers’ main office and plant is located near Philadelphia in Pennsauken, NJ, and the company has regional offices in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and Nashville.

For more information please contact:
Lucy Briggs, Social Media Manager
(800) 468-9353 x5071