The service works by taking pre-orders on a vinyl campaign, which is then fulfilled if the target sales are met. Bandcamp then handles the pressing of the records, printing of packaging and shipping to fans, meaning no up-front investment is required.
The minimum run for a campaign is 250 records, with volume discounts applied at 500 and 1000 units. Four test pressings will also be supplied.
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Full creative control, such as the record’s design, colour and package style, is decided by the artist, and the option to bring existing digital-only releases to vinyl or re-press sold out records is available in the service that is fully integrated into Bandcamp.
High quality has also been promised, with Bandcamp saying: “Our manufacturing partners have extensive experience producing vinyl, ensuring your record will sound, and look, its very best.”
Vinyl mastering services are not included, so audio mastered for vinyl must be provided to complete a successful pressing campaign.
The estimated timeframe for a campaign launch to vinyl being delivered is three to four months.
Bandcamp is working with the climate protection initiative Atmosfair to offset the emissions generated by manufacturing vinyl and develop and finance renewable energy projects.
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Writing more about why it’s decided to launch the service, Bandcamp said: "Vinyl sales on Bandcamp are booming: last year, fans bought 2 million LPs through the site, double the year prior. And for the artists and labels who sell vinyl, it now makes up 50% of their overall revenue. Yet only 12% of the albums with sales on Bandcamp in 2020 offered a vinyl version, leaving a large source of potential artist revenue on the table.
“The primary reasons for this are that producing vinyl is expensive, and therefore risky, and dealing with fulfillment and returns can be incredibly time consuming. So a few years ago, we started work on a service to make it easy for a whole lot more people to start pressing records.
“The service eliminates risk, since your fans’ orders—not you—finance the pressing. It eliminates hassle, since we coordinate production, ship the records to fans, fulfill digital, and handle customer support. It offers complete control, with the design and pricing up to you, and Bandcamp taking no ownership of the record. It maximizes your odds of success since we automatically notify your followers when you launch a campaign and they can easily use their saved credit card and shipping info. And most importantly, it works: Over the course of 50 successful pilot projects, we fine-tuned both the product and our production and fulfillment operations, and shipped 13,000 records to happy fans in 65 countries.”
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Artists to successfully use the service so far include Yazz Ahmed, Amon Tobin and Cavalier Saavy.
“I am really glad that I approached this with Bandcamp — it validated the decision I made to do this independently and not get involved in situations I was not comfortable with,” said Cavalier Saavy.
Other options for artists and labels wanting to get into pressing vinyl include a press & distribution (P&D) deal.
Find out more about Bandcamp’s Vinyl Pressing Service here.
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter
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