Its no secret that at this point vinyl production is an obscenely expensive and slow process. Yet, in spite of all the production/cost flaws vinyl also remains one of most attractive options when it comes to physical mediums.
So how do smaller labels manage to produce vinyl in face of all the obstacles? We asked that exact question to our readers in early April and now we invite you to join the thread/share your thoughts:
I’m curious – how do small labels put out vinyl these days?
— IHeartNoise (@Iheartnoise) April 9, 2019
If no distribution it’s going to be tricky. Every gofundme I’ve ever seen to raise money BEFORE the release has always flopped. For my label I used to do word of mouth but that only worked if the artist had a decent following; I’d have a bandcamp page as well but had to promote.
For each release I put out I approached it knowing full well I was going to lose at least $500. – Nick Minieri
I have paid out of pocket for everything @VersesRecords has done so far excluding @TristanxWelch (who wanted to pay for the pressing cost) and half of the Gel-Sol release (same situation). I work my ass off to make this happen doing any job I can get.
I should add we also carry a few CDs by artists that were pressings paid for by them, although for those we take no cut so it’s a bit of a different scenario.
We take no publishing, and any cut we take is 50% of profit only on physical. – Dubpixel
Small runs for sure. Fishing out which plants are running deals.
Finding ways to keep costs down like doing screened jackets/inserts vs having them printed at the plant. I’ve done this a bunch & love the vibe, not to mention a nice kickdown to visual artist friends. – WarHen RecordsAnother thing to consider is that I haven’t made my money back on the record I have put out – but I do play out quite a bit and my other merch actually sells better than the record. My next one will be funded off T Shirt sales more than the music.. – Tristan WelchAt present, part cash, part credit card. – Coraspect RecordsSerious budgeting, long pre-order periods to help fund the majority of the expenses involved. – Jon SolomonWe started with Kickstarter. – Burning Witches Records
the only record I’ve released thus far was with the kind cooperation & assistance from a supportive friend as a co-release between both our labels.
It turned out great but there were obstacles at every turn to make it happen & a whole lot of waiting for turnaround after all that.
in the long run it was totally worth it & still my most proud accomplishment, but that was 6 years ago & I’m sure the process has seen changes, good & bad, since then. – Casual HexWe used to put all our extra money into releases. But then one of us got married and had a kid, the other had/has a lot of medical bills. Pre orders and small runs are the best way to go imo. Make your own mailers out of extra cardboard. – Ronald Pagan
Sometime after the thread was created a couple of significant vinyl-related developments emerged
- Bandcamp announced that they’re going to start offering in-house vinyl pressing/shipping
Mother Tongue, a new pressing plant/distributor, opened in Italy
- Little Guide to Physical Formats for Independent Labels/Artists
- Blog Summary – April 2019: Pt. 3
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