Small Batch Vinyl Pressing
Although vinyl represents only about 2% of total U.S. album sales, the growth in vinyl over the last few years has been dramatic. According to Nielsen SoundScan reports, vinyl LP sales rose 17.7% in 2012 compared to 2011, representing a continuing upward trend in the sales of vinyl albums since 2007. The most popular vinyl LPs are split between newer acts and classic albums, like the Beatles’ “Abbey Road.” Some of the vinyl chart toppers in 2012 came from acts including Jack White, Black Keys, Adele, Mumford & Sons, the Shins, Beach House, Alabama Shakes, and Bon Iver.
People buy vinyl for a number of reasons. Listening to albums on record has become more popular as a throwback trend (listen up, indie bands!). Turntables and vinyl are re-appearing in more and more homes and apartments in the U.S., and indie music lovers, as well as music collectors, artists, and audiophiles, are showing a renewed dedication to vinyl. Why? Because records have a rare quality in terms of sound, artistic value, and all around vibe that most hardcore fans love.
It’s interesting to note that most vinyl sales come through independent record stores. So if you’re an indie band and we’ve convinced you that you have a market for vinyl LPs, we want to help point you in the right direction for small batch vinyl pressing to help you get started and get your albums in local music stores, or at least for sale on your own website and at your shows.
There are a few companies you can easily find online who advertise custom and small batch vinyl record printing. Most will require a run of 500 or more, although you can also find packages for runs of 200 and up. Furnace Record Pressing and Pirates Press are two companies you can visit online and contact to learn more. IndieOnTheMove.com is not affiliated with either of these companies, nor do we specifically endorse them, but they do provide custom vinyl pressing, so they could be a good place to start your research.
According to Furnace Record Pressing, who publishes pricing on their website, costs for a 12” Vinyl Econo Sleeve Package, which includes vinyl, dust sleeve, labels, mastering, test pressings, and proofing with optional upgrades available, are as follows: (Prices are subject to change. Please visit Furnace Mag – 12” Vinyl Econo Package for complete details.)
• 300 units for $5.23 each, a total of $1,570
• 400 units for $4.60 each, a total of $1,840
• 500 units for $3.92 each, a total of $1,960
• 750 units for $3.45 each, a total of $2,590
• 1,000 units for $2.94 each, a total of $2,940
If these costs, or pricing that you obtain from other vinyl pressing companies are out of your budget, but you’re still interested in pursuing vinyl, going to a crowdfunding model might be a good option. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, IgnitionDeck, or PledgeMusic could be good places to start. Crowdfunding could work well for this project, especially if you have a dedicated fanbase who would love to see your latest, or maybe your most “classic,” album on vinyl.
During your research for small batch vinyl pressing, call around to local record stores to inquire whether they would be interested in purchasing your LPs, and how their purchasing program works. It’s likely that they will sell on consignment. And who knows, they may be able to recommend a local shop for small batch vinyl pressing that you've never heard of before. You can also ask them about opportunities to promote your album sales in their store – with posters, signage, bin cards, in-store performances or record signings. There are lots of creative ways you can help cross-promote with the record store. If that doesn’t work out, you can sell your records on your own website and at live shows (which you should be doing anyway). And as with all things, always use your social media profiles, email newsletter, and fanbase to help spread the word.
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