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MOD: Manufacture On Demand and 3D Printing

I wanted to break from my usual kind of entry for a moment and cheer on the MOD production process, meaning Manufacture On Demand. Warner Brothers, Shout Factory, MGM, and several others have done this with a lot of titles which have not been available for a while, and it is a great business model for the digital age. You pick one of the titles in their MOD catalog and put in your order, at which point they burn you a copy of the CD or DVD on their industrial grade reproduction gear, print out a label, and send it your way. For the customer, thousands of titles you could not previously get your hands on except possibly in very low quality bootleg format are now accessible. For the manufacturer, titles they own but were not previously making any money on can now turn a small but steady profit for them, without the loss incurred by going to a full press run when the demand for the product is not there. If it turns out the demand is there as evinced by the number of folks putting in orders for an MOD title, they can then release the disk or box set as a full press run (“press” being a leftover term from pressing vynal records, the original media distribution format).

Obviously this process is good for both music CDs and video DVDs, but it doesn’t stop there. With the advent of 3D printing, objects of all kinds can be put through the manufacture on demand process. Even better, they might be designed anywhere in the world, but you could have them printed locally and avoid the shipping costs, downloading the printing template across the web. Did you know this is the same technology Jay Leno uses to produce mil spec perfect replacement parts for his vintage automobile collection? This stuff is available today, and although it can be a bit pricy, there are also open source 3D Printing options worth looking into, such as the ongoing MIT research.

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