Sales of vinyl records on Bandcamp have grown 600% in the last five years, and every month another 3,500 unique vinyl albums are added to the site. The format’s resurgence—once dismissed as a niche byproduct of hipster affectation—is now firmly established, and seen for what it truly represents: a mainstream desire to connect more deeply with music, free from digital distractions; an important expression of fandom that was mostly lost in the transition from physical media ownership to unlimited music rental; and a growing appreciation for what is often amazing, collectible art.
And yet most new music is not available on vinyl. A mere 9% of the albums with sales on Bandcamp in 2018 offered a vinyl version, and thousands of those are sold out and appear unlikely to be pressed again. The reason for this situation—and the growing pile of untapped artist revenue it represents—is that producing vinyl remains challenging. It’s a costly and risky undertaking, and dealing with fulfillment and returns can be incredibly time consuming. Layer on top of that the mystery and complexity encountered by many trying to press vinyl for the first time, and it’s no wonder so few people do it.
Today, we’re offering a first glimpse of an initiative from Bandcamp that aims to address these challenges. Our new vinyl pressing service streamlines the financing, production, and fulfillment of vinyl records. With no up-front investment, an artist or label can create a vinyl campaign and start taking orders almost immediately. Once they reach their minimum goal, we press their records and ship them to their fans.
The new service eliminates risk, since fans’ orders finance the pressing, rather than the artist or label. It eliminates hassle, since we press the records, print the packaging, and ship to fans (and fulfill digital too). It offers complete control, with the design and pricing up to the artist, and Bandcamp taking no ownership of the record. And it produces a quality result: our manufacturing partner has over 60 years experience pressing vinyl, so the records look, and sound, great.
The Bandcamp vinyl service will open to all artists and labels later this year, but today we’re launching four pilot campaigns that provide an idea of what’s possible:
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, the Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter and composer, is offering a vinyl edition of his most recent album, Ancestral Recall, on a double LP in a gatefold jacket. 10 signed test pressings are also available.
Jim Guthrie is well known to Bandcamp audiences for his acclaimed game soundtracks for Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery and Indie Game: The Movie. In late 2018, Guthrie released the soundtrack for Below, an epic and moody masterpiece. For the first time, fans will be able get Below on vinyl, in a beautiful triple-gatefold, color double LP with die-cut foil-stamped inner sleeves. An hour of bonus material from the soundtrack is also offered, as well as a limited-edition 11″ x 17″ velvet poster.
Shredders worldwide know French guitarist Juliette Jade, who has built a cult following for her cover videos on YouTube and original albums on Bandcamp. Juliette’s music has never been available on vinyl before, but her new campaign for Constellation will remedy that, complete with signed copies, and hand-numbered, limited-edition custom guitar picks.
The mysterious Australian black metal artist Mesarthim has just released a new album, Ghost Condensate, as a color vinyl gatefold LP. A limited edition fold out poster and 10 test pressings are also available.