Thread: the Vinyl Revolution

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  1. #1
    President of local Trekkie club. Ambidextrous Onanist
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    Default the Vinyl Revolution

    I know a lot of you have been a part of the business of making and distributing music for a great many years, so I'm curious as to what you think about this uptick in pressing records. Does it even matter? Is it just a hipster thing? Does it even play a role in the business currently?


    Trends are hard to predict, but for those who like to hold something in their hand, something that represents their purchase, I can see the record being that thing for the foreseeable future.
    In terms of sales, it's a fraction of the pie, but what are your thoughts on the stability of that piece of pie?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    What's curious is that it seems most of these are being sold as souvenirs to people who don't have phonographs.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    Yes, the model I seem to see. You're buying a limited edition vinyl, usually done on some cool looking color. It's not built to be the most quality listening media, it's aimed at being something you show your friends. It's kind of like paying $45 for a t-shirt at the concert, rather than buying one at Spencer's in the mall.

    In some cases, there are also hi-fi records being pressed and released after the original release. Those I assume are being played...

    Couple that with the smatterings of things being pushed out on sites like Kickstarter, where people are trying to build record players or accessories for record players, and I'll make a wild guess. If records represent around 3% of music sales, some 1.5% of those records are actually being listened to.

    Comparing the two different motives for buying. The fad of buying vinyl for the sake of having a trinket could certainly fade. But does that % of records being listened to maintain itself? Does it grow a little? Do people actually like playing a record?
    And what if it the fad side of it didn't fade out. Could the record represent something a band and it's label can capitalize on and sell. As in it could it start to become the new concert t-shirt??

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    I'd say the future for vinyl is brighter than the future for CDs.
  5. #5
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    The packaging was a big part of the appeal of albums. CD packaging demonstrated the utter incompetence of industry "leaders" who were completely out of touch with the people who actually bought recordings.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    LPs are frequently sold with digital downloads.

    United offered 320 kbps last time I checked but they aren't accepting orders from new customers. Last I heard, they were pedaling as fast as they can and overwhelmed with demand.

    Disc Makers bought a couple of vinyl presses and they're accepting orders but don't offer a download with LP option so far. Up until very recently they had been a CD replication firm and the increase in vinyl demand may have been their salvation.

    Reno, your estimate is probably not far off. A lot of buyers are hanging them on their walls or perhaps looking at the album cover while listening to a digital file. But turntable sales are up also.

    Sales of turntables are up by a staggering 240 per cent at John Lewis in the first few months of this year compared to same period in 2014.

    It was widely believed that digital music, the iPod and the internet had killed vinyl, the record player and record shop, however the sales figures paint a very different picture.



    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#ixzz3pK9YbQsH
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    I'd substitute 'somewhat different' for 'very different'.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    The packaging was a big part of the appeal of albums. CD packaging demonstrated the utter incompetence of industry "leaders" who were completely out of touch with the people who actually bought recordings.
    Yes, but… the CD was a pretty successful format in spite of that.
  8. #8
    Highway to Hell is for Children Allen Bean to the Moon
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    I see quite a few vinyl collectors these days.
    But as far as I can see on my level, vinyl releases are best hoped to get even and recoup just the pressing.
    When in doubt, mumble!

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    My thinly veiled motive for asking ... I've recently been floated the idea of pressing vinyl with someone who is established in the discipline. It wasn't something I was looking for, but a bit of research seems to suggest it's a viable thing *at the moment*.

    It's a fair bit of upfront cost and it's not an easy task. Like I'd actually have to work hard...
    So I'm not looking for someone to talk me out of it. I'm doing fine with that myself.
    But difficulty aside, I'm getting the impression that there is demand. The wait time on getting an album pressed is 6 to 12 months, depending on whether or not you're one of the bigger labels who already has deals with a plant. If you're a smaller label trying to do smaller runs, it seems like your chances are 50/50 of even getting someone to take your business.

    I'd really like to talk to some of the folks at these labels who are having trouble getting their foot in the door or are being pushed to the back of the line. It would be interesting to see what their needs are and what opportunities there were for partnerships.

    It's tough to tell if I've got my head in the clouds, or if it's a real possibility. I don't know right now, but it's got me thinking.

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  10. #10
    Frustrated Chick Rock singer...now doing jazz standards poorly! Never made a record...music forum mod!
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    A couple of aspects to the situation as far as I can see - a lot of the kids I deal with talk about a vinyl release, but it never happens because of the cost. There are not a lot of places pressing vinyl (there's one here in Columbus that was doing well when I spoke to the management a few years ago - and that was before it became a thing), so it may well be a viable business. However, the work itself looks like serious drudgery.
  11. #11
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    Touring DIY bands have never really stopped doing vinyl from what I've seen in the last 15-20 years. If you could figure out how to do short runs for cheap you would fill a huge niche. Most bands I know tend to do 300 or 1000 pressings at a time, but I know plenty more that would try it out if the initial investment wasn't so high. 6-12 months seems like a pretty long wait time though, I've never heard of a year wait to get a record back, but I don't exactly keep up with that stuff either. If you can make it work, it seems like a cool thing to get involved with, but I do think there are enough options out there already that it won't be as simple as just "build it and they will come".
  12. #12
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    Touring DIY bands have never really stopped doing vinyl from what I've seen in the last 15-20 years. If you could figure out how to do short runs for cheap you would fill a huge niche.
    There's the rub. You can bet the best and brightest have been working on cutting the setup time, so far to no avail.

    And, Reno, what Steve said.

    Figure 20th century factory work; the relentless smell of vinyl, the heat, the constant high whine of the hydraulic pumps. The tedious repitition. Be careful where you put your fingers if you want to still have them at the end of the day.

    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    And, Reno, what Steve said.

    Figure 20th century factory work; the relentless smell of vinyl, the heat, the constant high whine of the hydraulic pumps. The tedious repitition. Be careful where you put your fingers if you want to still have them at the end of the day.

    Yep... there's not much sex appeal.
    On the other hand, there seems to be income potential. I've put the on the stove to simmer. I'm trying to identify labels and bands who like to do vinyls...seeing if they really are having a hard time with delays and stuff like that. If I can build enough interest in it, I'll probably be forced to start seriously look at funding it. ha.
    I can't identify it, but I have this weird feeling of divine intervention going on. There are a lot of reasons to say no, but I can't seem to set it down. I don't know.
    Give me a couple years and maybe I'll do a pro bono pressing for the next set of CAPE songs.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    Unitymusic identified the challenge: being able to do short runs inexpensively, like under 300 units, and still make enough of a porofit for it to be worthwhile.
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
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    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    I'm not sure if that's "the challenge". There seem to be enough business in larger scale out there to do runs that make financial sense to do. You wouldn't need to depend on getting those smaller orders to survive.(says someone scratching the surface here)
    I think getting the capitol in place to get your doors open and survive your first year is the challenge. At least me...as someone who doesn't have a cool mill in the bank, or a family member who does.
    To press a million records in a year, you're looking at 3 presses minimum. The three presses(new) are $500,000. Then you have the supporting machinery which is maybe $200,000. That's nearly three-quarter of a million in hardware alone. Now you need space, materials and staff. It's an expensive start up cost, there's just no getting around that.

    As I look at the business, it's the start up cost that seem to be the real challenge for someone getting into the business. Of course getting business isn't a guarantee, but it seems like getting business might be easier to get than the capitol needed to start pressing.


    Now I do think the small batch market a great market to tap, if you could figure out how to do it. And there's something there that seems rewarding to me. Giving those bands/labels an opportunity they might not have otherwise had. I'm very much into that idea.

    ...and if I were smart enough to somehow come up with that ability, then I'd certainly have something to offer labels in the way of a partnership. Potentially sharing start up cost with them for guaranteed pressing rights. But given the shoestring budgets of everyone these days, it would probably take 500,000 partnerships to come up with $1,000,000 in start up.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    Indeed the problem with vinyl is the 6 month wait. There isn't enough overall volume to justify the expense of new presses to a bank or investors yet there is enough to keep the few remaining plants backed up. Another part of the problem is that EPA regulations no longer allow installing new open top immersive plating tanks and the legal sealed type are both colossally expensive and slow to operate.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    Damn you Al Gore!!!

    Yes, this is exactly what I'm running into. There is demand/opportunity for work, but the start up cost to get in the door are impractical. I guess this is a good example of the saying, "if it were easy, everyone would be doing it".

    If nothing else, it's been an interesting dive in to something I wasn't at all familiar with.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    Knowledge is power. And, remember: if voting made a difference it would be illegal.
  19. #19
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    The 6 month backlog may be temporary. United annouced a year and a half ago that the company had purchased a building and 16 presses to add to the existing 22. I don't think those presses are on line yet; if they aren't, it could be bad news for competitors when they go on line. DiscMakers has bought presses and is pivoting from CDs to vinyl. They currently offer a 4 month lead time for 150g vinyl.

    Someone started a small plant in Canada this year. Where there's demand supply will follow. The wild card is how far, and which way, will this trend continue? Nobody predicted the current vinyl renaissance, such as it is, 3 years ago.
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: the Vinyl Revolution

    There's a new plant in NJ:

    Independent Record Pressing is an attempt to solve one of the riddles of todayís music industry: how to capitalize on the popularity of vinyl records when the machines that make them are decades old, and often require delicate and expensive maintenance. The six presses at this new 20,000-square-foot plant, for example, date to the 1970s.

    Vinyl, which faded with the arrival of compact discs in the 1980s, is having an unexpected renaissance. Last year more than 13 million LPs were sold in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, the highest count in 25 years, making it one of the record businessís few growth areas.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/bu...life.html?_r=0
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

    IMTBO = In My Thoroughly Biased Opinion
    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle

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