The internet has had an immeasurable impact on the music industry, for the same reason it has forever changed many areas of life: It makes the transmission of information so much easier and more efficient. It’s now basically effortless for any type of musician to release their music to the world as soon as they’re finished making it. Platforms like Bandcamp have played a big role in this industry transformation, and now they’ve announced a new way that they will be able to make artists’ lives easier: Beginning later this year, Bandcamp will allow all artists and labels to self-release vinyl records.
Independently having your album pressed to vinyl is a challenge for many reasons: It’s expensive, and because your own money is on the line if sales fall short of expectations, it’s risky. In a blog post making the announcement, Bandcamp explains that by using their vinyl pressing service, artists eliminate any risk that would come with traditional ways of having records pressed:
“With no up-front investment, an artist or label can create a vinyl campaign and start taking orders almost immediately. Once they reach their minimum goal, we press their records and ship them to their fans.
The new service eliminates risk, since fans’ orders finance the pressing, rather than the artist or label. It eliminates hassle, since we press the records, print the packaging, and ship to fans (and fulfill digital too). It offers complete control, with the design and pricing up to the artist, and Bandcamp taking no ownership of the record. And it produces a quality result: our manufacturing partner has over 60 years experience pressing vinyl, so the records look, and sound, great.”
Bandcamp explained the need for a service like this, saying that very few of the albums that are available on their platform are available on vinyl. They believe the reason is because making vinyl records is difficult: “Most new music is not available on vinyl. A mere 9% of the albums with sales on Bandcamp in 2018 offered a vinyl version, and thousands of those are sold out and appear unlikely to be pressed again. The reason for this situation — and the growing pile of untapped artist revenue it represents — is that producing vinyl remains challenging. It’s a costly and risky undertaking, and dealing with fulfillment and returns can be incredibly time consuming. Layer on top of that the mystery and complexity encountered by many trying to press vinyl for the first time, and it’s no wonder so few people do it.”
Learn more about Bandcamp’s vinyl pressing service here.