So you’re a musician but you’re starting to realize you can’t make it without taking care of the business side of things from marketing to budgets and the things you can sell to increase revenue. Talent is cheaper than a grain of salt but if we’re talking about music career, we gotta do the hustle. The number one thing you have to consider today is selling a really badass vinyl record. Why? Because it’s the only thing that’s selling big nowadays.
Popular and seasoned musicians now include vinyl records for their music release. Harry Styles sold 28,000 copies of his Fine Line album for the first week of release, which became Nielsen’s fourth-biggest sales week they have tracked. During Record Store Day Black Friday, Harry Styles’ Fine Line sold 15,000 copies. Both Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish, also sold 10,000 copies for their albums, Folklore and When We All Fall Asleep respectively. But lately, new and up-and-coming musicians also jumped on the bandwagon and why not since anyone can now have short run vinyl pressing in just 100 units! You can sell them for $30 each with a profit of $10-15 dollars each and while that doesn’t seem a lot if you just sell a few units, it’s much safer than pressing a thousand in one go. Besides, there really is no standard price for vinyl records. If you make them Special Editions by making them special vinyl record releases with cute add-ons, you can set the price much higher. The good thing about selling vinyl records today is that there is the internet. The internet does two great things for musicians who want to do the hustle: 1. It allows you to offer pre-orders for anything. Just do a mockup of your vinyl and let your fans order early. This will give you a good number of the vinyl records you should press; 2. You can market your music like crazy if you release a vinyl record. Vinyl is cool and people like sharing things that are cool. It’s good for your marketing and ego.
But…how did this happen? How did vinyl records become fashionable again?
Vinyl records have been back from the ashes since the early 2000s and last year, it surpassed the CD! Let us back that up by some statistics. According to Statista Research Department, vinyl record sales in the US have shown growth from 2006 up to 2019, never showing a decline in the past years. In 2019, there was a 14.5 percent increase in record sales from the 2018 record sales with 18.84 million vinyl albums sold. Now the 2020 record sales in the US, when compared to the 2019 sales, has increased by 46 percent and is more than 30-fold when compared to the 2006 sales when vinyl records started to make noise again.
This increase in sales came from the purchase made by both the vinyl-generation and the newer generations. We mostly listen to music through online streaming platforms when they are outside, but more and more young audiophiles have their own turntables at home where they can play these pretty vinyl records. There is just something about the vinyl experience that makes music more valuable. And especially now that there’s a pandemic, people are becoming more domesticated– tending plants, doing home improvements, and we’re guessing, craving for a richer experience when listening to music just to feel something! Because of the increasing demand for vinyl records and the boom of short run inexpensive vinyl pressing, it would be a waste of opportunity if you’re a musician and you won’t press a few vinyl records.
If you’re now close to calling a vinyl pressing plant, there are just a few things you have to know beforehand as these are factors that affect the price of small run vinyl pressing:
Did you know that vinyl records have different weights? There’s the standard weight and the heavyweight, and it differs depending on the size. A 7 inch vinyl record has a standard weight of 42 grams and a heavyweight of 70 grams. A 10 inch and 12 inch record both have a standard weight of 110 grams and 140 grams respectively, and a heavyweight of 180 grams. What’s with the different weights though? Audiophiles say that heavier records sound better than the ones in standard weight. That’s why record weights were invented. They say that the heavyweight records make the record stay firmly on the turntable and this in turn stops the micro vibrations that can negatively affect the sound produced. Of course, heavyweight vinyl records cost a little more but they could have better quality.
Vinyl records have a limit to the music you can press into them. The different vinyl sizes also have different minute durations, and this is due to the soundwaves being pressed on these records physically. 7 inch records obviously have the shortest while 12 inch has the longest. The rpm also affects the records’ minute durations. The faster the spin the shorter the playback time. For 7 inch records with two speeds, 33 rpm and 45 rpm, it has 7 minutes and 5 minutes per side. It has a total of 14 minutes for a 7 inch 33rpm record and 10 minutes for a 7 inch 45 rpm record. 10 inch records have 30 minutes (15 minutes per side) for 33 rpm, 24 minutes (12 minutes per side) for 45 rpm, and 6 minutes (3 minutes per side) for 78 rpm. Lastly for 12 inch records, they have 33 rpm that has 22 minutes with a total of 44 minutes, 45 rpm that has 15 minutes with a total of 30 minutes, and 78 rpm that has 5 minutes with a total of 10 minutes.
These are just two of the basic things you need to think about but once you’ve figured them out, the next thing you’ll have to do is to find a pressing plant to discuss your project. Now, this doesn’t seem too easy as most plants in the US are always booked and you have to wait for at least 3 months to get your vinyl records pressed. These pressing plants would surely have a quota of orders they’ll take in for this month and more. So before pressuring yourself with the artworks, music mastering and whatnot, the first step is to find a good pressing plant that would be willing to take your small run vinyl pressing order. Then figure out the rest.
If you have over a thousand followers and fans and a solid marketing plan for your album release, there is absolutely no reason not to release a few vinyl records.