While physical music sales are unquestionably plummeting, astoundingly vinyl is enjoying a resurgence. Older music fans as well as the younger generation are turning to vinyl as their physical preference, some for the sound quality and some for collector purposes. Record labels and large scale bands are taking advantage of the phase, but as DIY independent musicians we must also research the practicality of vinyl.
There are three types of records generally available;
7″ Vinyl – 5mins per side (at 33RPM)
10″ Vinyl – 12mins per side (at 33RPM)
12″ Vinyl – 18mins per side (at 33RPM)
This is dependent on the speed it is pressed – 45 or 33 RPM. The less time on the vinyl the better quality it can be.
There are three ways of ordering that is generally available. As with CDs, the more copies you order, the cheaper it becomes per unit.
Standard bigger orders – Limited to orders of 100 or more (sometimes minimum 200). If you order 200 copies or more of a 12″ it works out around $10AU per unit and for 7″ about $6. Oh, and that’s the disc only, if you want custom artwork sleeve jackets expect to pay another few bucks per unit
Small Run – Orders above 10 but less than around 50. For 12″ expect $30-$40 per unit, or for a 7″ it can come down close to $10 at the very cheapest. Remember, this doesnt include artwork sleeves or any added extras.
One off – For less than 10 copies, you’ll be paying a lot. $50 or more for one copy.
Turnaround time – Allow anywhere between 3 weeks and 2 months, depending on the complexity of your order.
If you’re album is longer than 40 minutes, you will either need a double vinyl, or cut out some of the songs
If you want a custom jacket with art, it costs more and you will need artwork specific for the vinyl
Songs need to be split over SIDE A and SIDE B, this will affect tracklisting and artwork
Disk type – Black, coloured, clear or picture disc
You probably can’t afford a pullout booklet.
A recent quote that I have gone ahead with, is 10 x 7″ with 1 song on each side, with custom sleeve jacket, and postage for $250AU. That’s $25 per disc, plus $25 for a test copy to make sure it plays properly, plus redoing the artwork, and getting 2 songs remastered for vinyl
Format – For the best results submit 48k, 24bit wav files, but generally you can alos use mp3’s, mp4’s, and other resolutions of wav files.
Mastering – Normal CD or Digital masters will often not sound right on vinyl. Make sure you get a vinyl master to ensure audio sounds best in this format.
Test – The vinyl company’s will often send you a test cut first to make sure the audio sounds correct on vinyl
Submit – Provide via Dropbox, post master CD in mail, or drop into store if local
Let’s say you already have CD artwork for your upcoming album. How does it transfer to vinyl?
New template required with art in different size
Consider if you will have a 4 panel jacket or just a pull out slip with no spine
Round centre inlays for SIDE A and SIDE B
Back artwork with tracklisting for SIDE A and SIDE B
Get PDF templates from your Pressing company with specifications they require. Give these to your artist who can make sure it’s all to spec.
Upload to dropbox, or submit on a CD or USB
Decide how many copies you want, and research websites of both local stores and online providers.
Get quotes. Some will have prices/quotes on their websites, others you will need to email/phone.
Read reviews & ask other bands about their experience.
Choose a company that are helpful, quick to communicate, good info on their website and good price.
Include downloads or discount codes with your vinyl sales
Hand-numbered and limited edition
Single releases as a teaser of the album
Promote the better sound quality of your release
Crowdfund your vinyl as a special project, so you only proceed if enough people pledge their interest and get the money up front.
Templates, examples and guides are available in the BandTools database, to access visit our Patreon page to subscribe!