As an unsigned independent artist, you’ll be thinking about the best ways for you to get your music out there in front of new audiences and hopefully make a living from it too! It’s a scary and exciting process, trying to ‘make it’, but it’s amazing to make a go of doing something you love and expressing yourself creatively.
In terms of paying the bills, a lot of your revenue will come from merchandise, selling T-shirts and CDs to your fanbase. And, as you may already be aware, the vinyl revival means that selling your music to your fanbase on vinyl is also a rather good idea, and could be the perfect format to boost your sales.
With that in mind, we thought we’d put together a bit of a quick guide to pressing your first vinyl if you’re an unsigned band or artist.
Why choose vinyl?
Vinyl records are flying off the shelves these days, and sales are doing extremely well. The format that most people thought was to become obsolete and forgotten once the CD came on the scene is loved once again, and it isn’t just those who are feeling a little nostalgic for their youth who are buying records.
The Official Chart’s list of the best selling vinyl records of 2018 show’s that people are buying new releases and nostalgic throwbacks alike, from a variety of genres and artists.
People not only love vinyl for the quality of sound it offers, but because it is a tactile way of owning the music that you love which an mp3 just can’t quite compete with, and because for collectors of music, records actually retain their value pretty well.
The sleeves of records make them perfect for putting on display in the home, with some album covers being something of a work of art worthy of being kept somewhere that allows them to be appreciated.
Plan the process
First things first, it’s important to plan and make sure you understand the medium itself. Learn as much as you can about vinyl as a format, as you’ll have a few decisions to make such as whether you want to release a 12” standard weight pressing, a 180-gram record (heavier and preferred by some people who believe it produces higher fidelity audio) or just a 7” release.
A 12” record holds around 22 minutes of audio on each side, while a 7” holds around 4 and a half minutes, which is why it is usually used to release singles, so knowing this can help you plan which tracks you release and how. You’ll also want to think about a design for the sleeve!
Find a pressing plant
Once you’ve got these details nailed down, you’ll want to find a company to press your records for you. Here in the UK we have VDC Group, who are an official UK partner of Sony DADC and offer a pressing service that they can tailor to meet your specific requirements.
They offer a variety of colours for your record to make it look more interesting, and you can even have different combinations, or have your record shaped to make it even more unique. Their turnaround time is 12 weeks, which is great for peace of mind as lead times can fluctuate greatly in this industry.
The next thing to do once you’ve found a company you’re happy with is to get in touch and speak to them about how you can get the ball rolling!