From 2004 onwards, vinyl records have been making a bit of a return, and the market continues to grow.
Does this mean that every musician should have their music on vinyl, independent or otherwise? Would it be a good idea to start putting money towards the development of records instead of CDs?
If you’re thinking about releasing your music on vinyl, here are some important factors to consider.
Do You Have a Large, Loyal Following?
When we say “large”, we don’t necessarily mean tens of thousands of people. But do you have at least 1,000 to 2,000 fans regularly connecting with you, and are they willing to buy anything you put out? If not, then this might not be the right time to release your music on vinyl.
Why? Because your record will not sell if you don’t put in the time and effort required to promote it. This goes for any release you put out, in any format, but vinyl isn’t going to make things any easier. As an independent artist, very few people know about you, and unless you have a fan base to build off of, you have nothing.
You need to understand that:
- Only a percentage of your fans listen to music on vinyl and will buy your music in that format. And only some will be persuaded to convert.
- If you pay to have too many records manufactured, you will lose money on your excess inventory.
Do You Have Great Music that People Love?
Your first vinyl release should be limited to the very best you have to offer. Keeping in mind that 18 to 22 minutes of music per side is ideal (the sound quality will begin to degrade after that point), you don’t necessarily need a ton of music to fill an LP.
But you do have to pay careful attention to track sequencing and flow. It doesn’t make sense to release your music on wax if you can’t create a cohesive album experience.
So compile your “greatest hits”, and if you need to cut anything out, cut it. If you need a piece of music to fill that spare two minutes and 10 seconds, write it.
Do You Have a Budget?
Getting your music pressed on wax can be costly, and manufacturing times can also be lengthy. If you’re expecting to release your music on all formats on the same day, you’re probably going to have to delay the release date, potentially by several months. You’ll have your CDs and/or your digital files ready well in advance of the records.
Also keep in mind that you may want to get a separate mastering job done on your record version, and this could run you several hundred dollars, if not $1,000 or more. Listening to music on a turntable and a proper speaker system is considerably different than listening to music with your earbuds in, and you want to make sure your release sounds right for both mediums.
Above all else, you need to be able to move units. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with boxes full of vinyl in your garage or basement, and that’s a sorry state of affairs.