Posted: Jun 28, 2021
**Guest post by Michael L. Moore, a vinyl record enthusiast with a passion for R&B and soul music. He is the owner and editor of Devoted to Vinyl and recently wrote about his newfound appreciation for synthwave music on vinyl.
"The year 2020 was tough on everyone around the globe. Not only were we stuck inside our homes and unable to spend one-on-one time with friends (and even some family members), but the pandemic severely impacted people’s ability to generate income, as well.
Every industry was deeply affected by this crisis, and independent artists were no exception. Unable to sell tickets, go on tour, and earn revenue through merchandise sales, 2020 turned every creative into a “struggling artist.”
But 2021 is a new year, and as things slowly open back up, there remains a fairly untapped revenue stream that indie artists should strongly consider jumping into: the world of vinyl records.
At first, it may seem counterintuitive to consider getting your music pressed on vinyl.
Isn’t that 20th Century technology? Didn’t vinyl die out when CD’s, Napster, iTunes downloads and Spotify became popular?
In fact, according to the RIAA, vinyl record sales jumped almost 30% in 2020.
During a global pandemic.
And right now, you might be thinking, “Sure, vinyl is selling well. But it’s probably just a bunch of old men buying albums from the 1960s.”
So now that you’re aware that vinyl is something to consider adding to your merch page, the next question is how you can go about getting your music pressed onto vinyl.
Despite the popularity of vinyl records, there are only so many pressing plants in the world. And while you can always directly contact specific plants to get vinyl pressing quotes, that may not always be the best choice for every independent artist.
While vinyl may be financially beneficial once sales start coming in, it may not be the easiest (or cheapest) way to get started at the outset. On top of potentially not having the liquid capital to begin an order, you may also be confused by all the different options you need to consider.
For example—should you go with a regular album jacket or a gatefold?
What kind of inner sleeves would you like?
Do you want traditional black vinyl, or would you like your music pressed onto colored vinyl? And if you want color, do you want one basic color or do you prefer color swirls or splatter effects?
Or, are you leaning more towards picture disc vinyl records?
Luckily, the website Bandcamp aims to simplify this entire process for independent artists. A few months ago, Bandcamp announced that they were expanding their vinyl pressing service to accommodate an additional 10,000 indie artists.
In short—instead of independent artists having to pony up the cost to have large quantities of their music pressed onto vinyl, Bandcamp’s program calls for fans’ direct purchases of the music to fund the vinyl production cost.
And just in case you’re still a bit skeptical, know that Bandcamp sold 2 million vinyl records in 2020. That’s despite only 12% of releases on their website even providing a vinyl option to consumers.
The marriage between independent artists and the medium of vinyl has yet to approach its peak. And now, through Bandcamp, the barrier for entry has been shattered.
You would never expect it on the surface, but vinyl is thriving in a digital world. While vinyl took a backseat when new technology like CD’s and iTunes came onto the scene, it has roared back with a vengeance.
In a growing digital world that requires us to interact with tiny, glowing screens and maintain long distance virtual relationships, vinyl drags us back to the real world. Back to the analog world.
It slows us down, and requires our focus and attention.
And when independent artistic expression and the business of entertainment merge, the need for consumers’ focus and attention is of the utmost importance.
So do yourself a favor and get your music pressed on vinyl. Your fans with thank you."
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