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Vinyl Crunch Worsens For Indie Labels: Time For A Record Press Kickstarter?

Spinning-dennis-brekke-flickrJack White's #1 album debut with vinyl accounting for 30% sales, as well as his creative approach, feels like another breakthrough in the land of vinyl. But, according to one Pitchfork writer, the vinyl scene is showing signs of stress as limited production facilities devote more time to higher profile projects. The bottom line is that somebody's got to build some new presses.

Joel Oliphint takes a look at the current state of vinyl (@wesdavenport) and limits on production that are only going to get worse. I think a press-building project would make a great crowdfunding campaign and/or a great sponsorship opportunity.

Until that day those who want to press vinyl are facing short supplies of vinyl pressing equipment and an annual crunch brought on by Record Store Day.

More Vinyl Sales, More Problems

As Oliphant reports, more money for vinyl means more problems for indie labels. One unidentified indie employee stated:

“Every time I see a headline about Jack White’s latest gimmick, it’s kind of maddening...While he’s making records ‘in one day,’ normal customers can go weeks not knowing the status of their orders.”

The crunch is continuing to worsen as Asthmatic Kitty's John Beeler notes:

“You used to be able to turn over a record in four weeks...But I’m now telling my artists that we need at least three months from the time they turn it in to the time we get it back.”

Nick Blandford, managing director of the Secretly Label Group says:

“They’ve been longer this year than they were even nine months ago...We crossed our fingers and hoped that turn times would improve after Record Store Day in April, but they’re still about the same. We’ve just accepted this as the reality.”

The problem with accepting this stage as reality, though certainly a logical adjustment if you're dealing with it directly, is that this is likely just the beginning of vinyl's comeback.

I saw a comment or quote by a high school teacher who says he's seeing lots of freshmen getting into vinyl and asking about where to get good turntables. Though anecdotal his tale suggests that this vinyl thing could be in the beginning stages with the peak nowhere near in sight except for the limits on production facilities.

Built It and They Will Come

So if you know people with the skills to build a press and want to be cited in music blogs for the rest of your life (or until cassettes take point) then go get that crowdfunding campaign going. It's time.

[Thumbnail image courtesy Dennis Brekke.]


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) also blogs at DanceLand. Send news about music tech startups and services, DIY music biz and music marketing to: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.