Should I Make My Recording Available on Vinyl?
Vinyl is a popular music listening medium. We thought it had died out with the invention of more modern formats like tapes and CDs. But its unique packaging and attractive aesthetic have helped it come back in a major way.
If you are a musician with original music, you may consider releasing it on vinyl. There are many pros and cons to mull over before moving forward. This article will tell you what you need to know.
How Much Will It Cost to Release My Music on Vinyl?
One of the biggest downsides of vinyl is the cost. It can set you back anywhere from $2000 to $4000 to get 100-300 copies of your album. Price will vary depending on your artwork, your jackets, and whether you order colored vinyl.
The fact that vinyl is so expensive will make it difficult for you to make a profit. However, people may be willing to pay more since it’s a novelty item. They will also understand that vinyl is pricy hence the high price tag.
If you are wondering if you will see a return on your vinyl investment, consider creating an online survey. Doing so will give you an idea of how many fans will buy your product. It will also generate excitement around the release.
Should I Get Coloured Vinyl?
One thing you must consider is whether you want to spring for coloured vinyl. Coloured vinyl is more expensive than black vinyl, but it generates more excitement and more demand for your product. It will help you create a stunning album.
How Many Vinyl Records Should I Make?
You may be tempted to order just a few vinyl records to try them out and see how they sell. But don’t forget that the more copies you order, the cheaper it will be per unit.
If you order 100 vinyl records, you will have to charge fans around $25 a piece just to break even. Buy more and you can charge less.
You will generally start seeing price breaks around the 200-300 mark. This should be your sweet spot.
What You Need to Know About Test Pressings
If you decide to move forward with your vinyl order, expect to receive a test pressing of your album about a month after you send in your audio and down payment. The pressing plant will send you 5-10 copies of your albums. They will have a block vinyl and a generic sleeve, and they will not be properly labeled.
The object of the test pressing is not to test it for how it looks or how it’s formatted. You are just going to see if it sounds alright.
If you hear something strange on the test pressing, listen to another copy at the same spot. If both copies have the same issues, contact your sales rep. it’s likely to be a problem that needs to be corrected.
Here are some other things to look out for.
- Make sure it’s your record.
- The songs should be in the right order
- You may hear some cracks and pops, but if anything sounds distorted, you should compare it with another pressing.
- Listen on multiple turntables. If you are listening to your test pressing on an inferior turntable, you may not be hearing it accurately. Make sure you are listening to it on a high-end player.
Don’t be afraid to contact your sales rep with any questions or concerns you may have. You are paying a lot of money for your album. It must be in perfect condition.
How to Improve Your Vinyl Packaging
Your vinyl must stand out. There’s a lot of competition in the industry. A great-looking package will make fans reach for your album before the others.
When you are ordering your vinyl, you will find several features on the website that you can pick and choose from to make your album look great. It can get overwhelming. So, which should you be opting for? Here are a few suggestions.
Get Creative with Your Center Labels: The center labels are the labels in the middle of the album. They are usually circular and around 4-5 inches in circumference. You can have fun with it by choosing a rectangular label or playing around with its size.
Keep in mind that the labels also support the record’s puck so a different shape could cause you to encounter some issues which will add cost. But it might be well worth it.
You can also put all the information on one side of the label (such as the songs, artists, etc.) and put artwork on the other side.
Another idea is to make the center label match the sleeve or jacket of the album. Many artists try to get the album to match the jacket, but that’s almost impossible to do. You will have more luck matching the jacket to the label and going with a completely different color vinyl.
Reverse Board Jackets: Reverse board involves printing the artwork on the material that is typically on the inside of the jacket- but in this case, it will be on the outside. Unlike most albums that have a glossy texture, a reverse board jacket will be softer and more muted. It’s a good choice if the technique matches your brand image.
Marketing Stickers: Marketing stickers can be placed on your jacket. They can include a variety of information. They can feature the artist’s bio, they can talk about the music, or they can feature the album’s artwork.
The stickers can also have a bar code or QR code. They will save you from putting the code directly on the design. The code can enable people to sample the record before listening to it.
Marketing stickers can also display a variety of the features mentioned above.
Include a Small Booklet: Artists may consider making a small booklet to insert in their album that contains album lyrics, information about the artist, artwork, and other materials. They can make the booklet themselves or have it printed by a print place. You can have the pressing plant include them in the package if the album is shrink-wrapped. If it’s not shrink-wrapped, you can insert them yourself.
Utilize Test Pressings: Make the most of your test pressings by using them to build excitement around the release. You can give your test pressings to record stores as promos, you can sell them to fans as advanced releases or can sell them after the album comes out. You can also give them out to people who have helped the band.
What You Need to Know About Your Vinyl Design
An attractive vinyl design can make all the difference in getting your album sold. Here are some important things to consider in the design process.
Go for a Design that Conveys the Meaning of the Music
Your cover art will play a huge role in your album’s appearance. Choose art that conveys the mood and meaning of the album. You may consider hiring an artist to design your cover art. If you go this route, hire someone who ‘gets’ the concept of the band.
You may also use band photography. If you choose this direction, hire a professional photographer that you can count on to take nice-looking photos. Use a picture that is eye-catching and captures what the band is all about.
You may even consider getting artwork on the front of the album and a band photo on the back. Many artists have used this combination in the past.
Make Sure the Design Looks Good Before Submitting It
Most pressing plants will have an online tool you can use to upload your artwork to provide a prototype of how you want the album cover to look. They can be challenging to use. Many come with a video tutorial that offers guidelines on the process.
Once your artwork is successfully uploaded, double-check to make sure everything appears as you want it to. Pay attention to details like lines and font sizes and colors. See to it that the proportions and file types are correct.
If there are errors, the pressing plant may catch them, but fixing them will delay the pressing process. It’s best to ensure there are no mistakes before you click submit.
What Information Should Be Included on the Album Cover?
The album cover should feature certain information. Not including it could negatively affect the album’s selling potential. And if you leave out vital information such as who played on the album, wrote the songs, produced the music, and created the artwork, you could be in big trouble.
The front of the album typically includes the names of the artist and the album. Some people skip putting this information on the album spine, but it’s a nice added touch.
The back cover should include the album’s track list and play times. It should also feature licensing and legal information. Catalog numbers are optional.
You may have artwork on the back of the album. Plan your layout to ensure the text and art flow smoothly.
The center label of your album is used to remove moisture during the pressing process. It is then pressed into the record at the same time the grooves are stamped.
The label can include information such as the album and artist name. It can feature artwork, or it can be left blank. What you include on the label is up to you. Just make sure the right side of the label appears on the corresponding album side.
What Paper Options are Best for My Album?
There are a variety of paper options you can choose from for your album cover. These include:
- Brown Paper: Brown paper provides an attractive retro look. It’s ideal for a single-color screen print. It’s low-cost and affordable making it perfect for applications that require tear resistance.
- UV Glossy: A glossy cover will give your artwork a rich, dramatic look. It will make the artwork more eye-catching.
- Semi-Gloss: Semi-gloss offers the perfect compromise of glare, color range, and durability. It offers an eye-catching look of color with reduced glare. It is a more expensive option.
- Matte Paper: Matte paper allows your artwork to shine. It won’t pick up unwanted fingerprints or produce glare.
- Reverse Paper: Reverse paper is similar to canvas. It is a recommended option due to its versatility and durability. It works well with drawn pictures and paintings.
How Do You Ship Vinyl?
Vinyl is not only expensive to buy, but also to ship. It is extremely fragile so you will need to purchase materials to keep it safe while in transport. You must also consider the cost of shipping itself.
Here are the steps you should be following when you’re getting ready to ship vinyl:
- Order Cardboard Shipping Boxes: Cardboard shipping boxes come in a flat pack and can hold up to 3 records a box. They will help keep your vinyl safe.
- Get a Shipping Quote: Get quotes to find out how much it will cost to ship your vinyl to different parts of the country and the world. Doing so will help you determine how much you should charge your fans.
- Throw in Some Freebies: Adding freebies like stickers, flyers, candy, a note, or pins will promote brand loyalty.
How Long Will It Take to Get My Vinyl Records?
Vinyl plants are few and far between. The ones that exist are often backed up for months. Find out how long it will take for you to get your vinyl. That way you can be prepared if you need it for a tour, record release, submission, etc.
Most pressing plants will give you a delivery date of 2-3 months out. This timeframe includes the time it takes for them to make your test pressing and have you approve it. Consider that any delays in giving your approval after receiving the test pressing can hold things up even more.
Should You Press Vinyl?
Vinyl is becoming a more popular medium for music lovers. But is it right for you? There are several factors to consider when deciding to move forward.
- What is Your Fan Base Most people say they like vinyl. But do you think your fan base will truly invest in it? Or are they more likely to invest in a cheaper, more accessible medium like digital?
- How Much Money Does Your Fan Base Have: Vinyl is expensive to make so you must price it accordingly. If your fans have a lot of money, they may pay the price. If they don’t, they may just forgo the vinyl and listen to your music on other mediums.
- Do You Have a Medium for Selling Your Vinyl: The goal of getting vinyl is to sell it. You must determine that you have the means to do so. Sure, you can put vinyl on your website, but this is a passive strategy that won’t generate much income. You are more likely to sell vinyl if you are touring or playing local shows. You can also see if the record stores in your area will sell it.
What Other Mediums Can I Put My Music Out On?
There are several mediums other than vinyl that you can put your music on. Here are some suggestions.
Digital: Several digital platforms will carry your music. Platforms like TuneCore offer digital distribution. They will distribute your music to different platforms like Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, etc., for a reasonable fee. You will earn money every time someone listens to your tunes.
Streaming platforms are a wise choice because they are very accessible. They will get your music out to various people. However, they also tend not to pay artists very much per play.
CDs: CDS is a common format most bands use. They are relatively cheap to order so you are likely to make a profit. They are also easy to ship or take with you on tour.
Cassette: Cassettes are also seeing a revival. Like CDs, they are easily portable. Like vinyl, they have a fun, vintage appeal.
The amount you pay to get your music on cassette will vary depending on the artwork you order, how many copies you get, and other factors. On average, you’ll spend around $1.25 each. This price point gives you enough of a margin to make some money.
However, there is one major problem with both cassettes and CDs. Many people no longer have the equipment needed to listen to these mediums.
Putting your album out on vinyl is an expensive proposition. But if the demand is there, it could be a great way to market your material. Now that you know all you need to about releasing your music on vinyl, will you be taking this important step forward?