Vinyl sales have surged in recent years, but cost of pressing remains high. Could Bandcamp’s new service be the solution DIY artists need?
Bandcamp has announced a new service that allows artists to launch crowdfunding campaigns for vinyl releases. Once a campaign reaches its minimum goal, Bandcamp will press and ship the vinyl record directly to fans, which saves artists time and lowers the risk involved in vinyl production. Artists will maintain full control of the record’s design as well as its price, though the cost will depend on the design, number of discs required, quality of sound, and other factors. The service—which aims to streamline the “financing, production, and fulfillment of vinyl records”—is set to launch for all artists and labels later this year.
The ‘Kickstarter for vinyl’ service was revealed by Bandcamp earlier this week. In the post, Bandcamp stated that sales of vinyl records on the service have grown 600% in the last five years, and every month another 3,500 unique vinyl albums are added to the site. While that figure is impressive, the announcement also says that only 9% of the albums with sales on Bandcamp in 2018 offered a vinyl version. The company hopes their new service will encourage more artists to explore vinyl pressing, as well as offer fans a chance to fund new pressings of records that may otherwise never be pressed again.
The reasons more DIY and independent artists don’t press vinyl are numerous, but cost is the biggest factor. A run of 500 records can easily costs thousands to press, and that isn’t accounting for postage to ship the albums to fans or the cost of packaging for those shipments. That price is too high for many artists, especially when it means taking a change that fans will actually buy the album once it is complete. Bandcamp’s service not only streamlines production and distribution, but it eliminates the risk factor entirely by funding production through fans. The worst that can happen is that a campaign does not raise the funds required for production, in which case an artist will have to rely on other means of getting physical media to fans.
To showcase their new service, Bandcamp has announced its first four vinyl campaigns: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s Ancestral Recall, Jim Guthrie’s Below (Original Soundtrack), Juliette Jade’s Constellation, and Mesarthim’s Ghost Condensate. You can view the campaigns by clicking the links in this story, and you can view the proposed products by visiting Bandcamp’s official blog.
Bandcamp launched its first brick and mortar store earlier this year. Whether or not releases funded through its new service will appear in the shop remains to be seen.