Vinyl duplication vs. CD

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Judas Jetski
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Vinyl duplication vs. CD

Post by Judas Jetski » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:04 pm

Hey!

So we've finally got our first full-length recording together--mastered, artwork, whole nine. We're about to get the thing duped at Diskmakers, to the tune of around $1500. We've kicked around the idea of download-only, but it seems kinda gutless somehow. Like, if we believe in our music enough to produce it in the first place, it ought to have a physical existence. Yes, we and many of our fans are mid-30s or older (but our younger fans seem to appreciate the physical object as well).

We're down to the final gut-check. We're gonna pull the trigger on this thing, like, this week. And what we find ourselves wondering is, is it possible to get a number of LPs duplicated for a similar amount of money? We've been assuming that it'd cost us about $3,000 to get a run of LPs made... and yes, I know, we can search the interwebs. I'm just wondering what you all think about this.

Anybody have any recent experience in duplication? Vinyl? CD?

Any recommendations?

Have any of you folks been able to get decent quality vinyl duped for under $3,000?

Is there an equivalent of Diskmakers, but for records?
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Re: Vinyl duplication vs. CD

Post by joninc » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:49 pm

Judas Jetski wrote:Hey!

So we've finally got our first full-length recording together--mastered, artwork, whole nine. We're about to get the thing duped at Diskmakers, to the tune of around $1500. We've kicked around the idea of download-only, but it seems kinda gutless somehow. Like, if we believe in our music enough to produce it in the first place, it ought to have a physical existence. Yes, we and many of our fans are mid-30s or older (but our younger fans seem to appreciate the physical object as well).

We're down to the final gut-check. We're gonna pull the trigger on this thing, like, this week. And what we find ourselves wondering is, is it possible to get a number of LPs duplicated for a similar amount of money? We've been assuming that it'd cost us about $3,000 to get a run of LPs made... and yes, I know, we can search the interwebs. I'm just wondering what you all think about this.

Anybody have any recent experience in duplication? Vinyl? CD?

Any recommendations?

Have any of you folks been able to get decent quality vinyl duped for under $3,000?

Is there an equivalent of Diskmakers, but for records?
you can probably get it a little cheaper than $3 k but not tons - it's def way more expensive than cds BUT cds are really quickly dying out so if you are gonna press some - i really only recommend doing 100 or 200 max unless you play tons of gigs (like 40+ a year).

i recently pressed 200 colored vinyl for a release (instead of cds - but i am gonna do like 50 cdrs or something for promo) and i actually wish i only did 100. most people opt for dig download and even semi-successful artists and bands seem to do very short runs of 100 vinyl copies.

bandcamp is the future!

http://jonathaninc.bandcamp.com/

if you are in or near bc, canada - i recommend dealing with http://www.vinylrecordguru.com/
David is great to deal with and knows the best places for getting this done.
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Post by kslight » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:10 pm

No exp with vinyl but I have an impending (mass produced) album to be released soon so thought I might chime in. It is my personal belief that getting CDs produced (in great quantities, which I'm assuming you're making around 1000?) is vanity for a small unsigned band (sorry if I am incorrect about this?) that won't get distributed in physical stores and won't be on (national) tour. Im assuming that since you are going to use Diskmakers you are unsigned? I agree that it's cool to have a physical product but I could read off examples of signed acts that have toured internationally and did Warped Tour, have established pro musicians in their band...that in 2010 struggled to sell 1000 CDs. Not trying to poop on your parade at all but that to me is the justification to do download only...maybe download sales with 100 LPs would be a better bet. I want to do a vinyl release as well as it certainly would make a cool product, but $$$ and I don't have a turntable, seems like a way of restricting your audience more than a way to discover one? For example, what do you think the iPod/smart phone to turntable ratio is in your target audience?

Maybe it doesn't matter if you sell all of them or at least recoup your expenses, I just think that making your ultimate decision in perspective will help insure you make a positive experience out of it.

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:19 pm

Hello Mr. Jetski,

I have some observations, so I will proceed.

1.- Do you have a distribution deal?

2.- Do you know of any fans which will in fact purchase Vinyl records?

I await your reply.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:42 pm

the last time i got cds pressed was 2006. we got 1000. i still have at least 800 sitting here.

just sayin'.

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Post by eh91311 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:06 am

I certainly don't want to dash your hopes, but I've played on others' solo CD releases when the minimum order was 1000 CD's (early 1990's) and most of those people still have boxes upon boxes of those CD's in their closets. I agree that a better idea would be to do a digital download release and a small run (~200-300) of CD-R and vinyl LP. If you start selling tons of physical product, then arrange to make more, but in the current musical climate, it would probably be very hard to sell 1000 CD's or LP's. Ridiculously difficult.

The band Grandfather (www.grandfathermusic.com) in NYC has done very well with their business model: free 320kb download, $5 CD, $12 limited release (300) vinyl LP. It would be wise to browse over to their webpage and review their blogs, press and articles. They're having noted success doing it their way.

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Post by JGriffin » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:30 am

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:the last time i got cds pressed was 2006. we got 1000. i still have at least 800 sitting here.

just sayin'.
Ditto. Well, 2005 and 800.
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Post by dgrieser » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:53 am

I'm wildly successful then. :wink:

I've gone through 200 CDs (many sent out as promos/gifts) and just received another 100 from CD Poster Shop for my project released in Feb of this year (no touring).

I've sold way more CDs than downloads through bandcamp but that's probably the demographic that likes mandolin music.

There's also the phenomenon of ordering 1000 CDs and the band promptly breaks up, or is that just me? So I've got boxes of CDs sitting around too. I'd never order 1000 CDs again.

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Vinyl vs. CD

Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:04 am

Hey Jetski,

The real questions are-- What is the big idea? What do you want to accomplish with your release? What plan(s) do you have in-place to achieve those goals (whatever they are)?

If your band is putting out a "vanity press" (no slight here, it's just a term that has been in use for many years), meaning, you're doing it "just to do it," you don't care if you recoup your investment or not, and you'd like to get them out to as many folks as possible, but really don't care one way or the other, then digital-download only is the way to go (no major up-front investment; easy access and familiarity for the younger set,
and "everything is a single").

If you're going to try and really capture some market share of whatever niche your music is in, you've got to look at other factors. How will you promote the record? Live gigs (local)? Live gigs (touring)? Traditional radio? TV? Internet radio? Blogs, print media? Do you want physical product for stores? Online, brick-and-mortar, or some combination? How old is your target demographic? What will not only be a hip and easy to promote format, but will actually get listened to?

I still think that right now, CD's are the best way to go, even though people are doing more vinyl, and now I hear about this craziness with cassettes... But it depends on a lot of factors, and you have to have your marketing plans in place before you order (so you not only order the format that is best for you, but the quantity).

My last release (a few years back) still hasn't sold in huge numbers, but we did have a bona fide "worldwide radio hit" and some decent press from the critics, largely due to the fact that we sent out a mess of CD's through a radio promoter, and CD's are still the expected/accepted format in the genre that my band is in. Older folks still like physical product, but you've got to make sure that the product is supported in the fan community that you are trying to reach.

For the record, it _is_ hard to move 1,000 CD's. It's also very hard to move 1,000 downloads (and a lot less lucrative). It's dad-gum impossible to move 1,000 vinyl LP's. Same goes for drop-cards, but it is a lot easier to give 1,000 of them away, I suppose. You should plan on giving a _lot_ of "free goods" away in the process of promoting your music.

But it all depends on your marketing and promotion plan, and the budget that you have to go along with that. If you don't have one, or that seems silly to you, then definitely don't spend a lot of money on outside mastering, or 1,000 copies of _anything_, because you will be sitting on a lot of _whichever_ format that you choose for a very long time.
And posting files on the internet/www/"interwebs" or whatever the crazy kids are calling it these days, is meaningless if you don't have a plan to get people to the sites where your music is posted, and then get them to commit to downloading it.

GJ

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Post by Matt C. » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:29 pm

regarding selling vinyl LPs - i agree that it would probably be wise to press maybe 200-300 copies at most. i'm not sure what kind of music your band plays, but i can say that in the world of DIY punk and hardcore, where vinyl is still by far the most common format and there are plenty of people who will buy a release just because it is a punk record, selling 1000 copies of an LP can still be difficult even for established bands. so if you're dealing with a type of music in which vinyl is NOT the standard, i can only assume it will be that much harder.

my two cents. good luck with the release!

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Post by Teacher's Pet » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:54 pm

Most pressing plants will do small runs (300 or so) -- Printing jackets is another matter (higher minimums), so you might have have to get creative with the packaging.

Buy blank jackets from Dorado or someplace and sticker them or something.

$3000 is plenty!

check out: www.eksmfg.com .

Long live vinyl!

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:26 pm

dgrieser wrote:There's also the phenomenon of ordering 1000 CDs and the band promptly breaks up, or is that just me?
that's what happened to my band in 2006. we got back together this year. if we can manage to write a new record, it'll probably just go up on bandcamp and i'll just make cds here as we need them for press/shows and whatever.

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Post by Judas Jetski » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:03 pm

We are planning on getting 1,000 CDs produced. We'd be happier getting more like 300 (we've moved that many units of an earlier EP)--but here's the thing: we're only spending $190 more to get 1,000. We've got plenty of closet space. We are planning on giving most of them away as promo (to radio stations, venues, etc.), and at $10 a pop if we can manage to sell 100 of them we're pretty close to our break-even point for duplication.

It seems to me that our biggest problem is that not enough people have heard us. Our music is very accessible, but it doesn't easily fit established formats. (We call it punk, but it's got just as much in common with folk, country and rock 'n' roll.) One thing I've consistently noticed is the kind of people who like it, once they hear it--pretty much everyone. (If you're into slow-jam R&B or hip-hop maybe not so much, but even there we've got converts.) I really believe in our music as a kind of unheard voice (or whatever) for a whole lot of people. And every time I've tried to modulate my expectations down to match someone else's 'words of wisdom,' I've wound up wishing I'd pushed harder. So what I think we want to do is make whatever it is that's going to reach the most people. In whatever way.

There's no denying the low investment associated with downloads. But the thing about downloads is they're gutless. Practical, maybe. But gutless also. I'm sure iPod people don't really care where the music they listen to came from, since in popular perception digital = digital = digital (koff koff). But at the same time, there's a certain inescapable logic to the idea that an artist who is not willing to commit resources to a physical object is an artist who isn't completely behind his/her/their own work. Photographers sell physical prints, not just downloadable images. I'm pretty sure this kind of thinking is one of the forces that's driving the vinyl resurgence.

So the way we see things, there's no way around it: what we're looking for is a physical product. (This, of course, is one of the points where we'd love to hear others' opinions.)

Vinyl seems like the best physical expression of this thought process, because people who think like this probably make up the core of the vinyl market. And we absolutely are looking for the people who will buy a punk record just because it's there. Because we know from experience that odds are they'll love it. But as soon as we imagine setting up to sell 12" LP records, the first thing any of us imagine is our fans saying, "yeah, but I don't have a turntable. Do you have a CD?" If our answer is no, we've just lost a sale. Worse still, we may have alienated one of the very people we're trying to reach out to, by making ourselves look elitist.

At the moment, CD seems to us to be the best common ground between the download people and the people who listen to whatever format their car stereo had when they bought it. And like I said, it's less than $200 difference between 300 and 1,000 (not including shipping, where the difference would be like $80). But in so many ways it seems like CD is a dying format. I worry that booking people or radio people won't want to be bothered with the physical presence of a CD. (I can't imagine a download being *easier* to manage than a free CD, but we are planning on getting a bunch of download cards too. Ideally, we'd be selling these with our vinyl, but we've got a second record's worth of material waiting in the wings and we don't want to blow all our hard-earned cash on one release.)

So that's our train of thought. I know it's totally against the grain, but it makes perfect sense to the three of us. So... are we crazy? Or are we really 'on to something?'
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

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Post by Judas Jetski » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:04 pm

And then there's bandcamp. Arrrrrgh. This is all so hard for me to sort out.
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

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Post by jgimbel » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:42 pm

Judas, your post perfect describes my situation as well. My biggest issue is exposure. When people have heard my album, they've tend to really like it, and usually help spread it. But as you're saying, that's great for those who hear it, but going past that is the tough part. If you've got the closet space in case you need it, then CDs, vinyl, and downloads does indeed reach the most amount of people even strictly from the point of view of how people can listen to it. This past album is the first one I decided to release exclusively digitally. For smaller productions, I don't consider it completely gutless, though I did get 100 CDs made, and I gave them to folks - friends, family, promotion, various people I've talked with who have been interested. I released my album/got my CDs made in July, and I just gave away my last CD 2 days ago. The plan now? I'm going to get more CDs made, and make them available for purchase on bandcamp. So free downloads, paid CDs, and if I had them, I'd sell LPs too, like a small run of 50 if I could find that for a decent price. That probably won't happen for this album, maybe the next one, but it doesn't seem at this point in time that you gain any credibility by releasing EXCLUSIVELY in vinyl over CDs, so there's no reason I've found why having as many mediums as possible/appropriate isn't the best way to go. The only difference between my project and yours from what I'm reading, other than musical style (I'm in the indie rock/folk rock kind of thing, something like that) but I've been doing my album completely free. But with this next run of CDs, I'll be doing them paid, so I'll be in your same ballpark. By all means, push it. I HATE doing the self promotion thing, I feel like I'm selling my soul and being a huge douche when I do that, but you know what? Every single time I post a link to my album on Facebook (despite that there is a link up there all the time) I get more downloads of not individual songs, but the album. So push it, and don't let those sales slip by like you mention (oh you don't have a CD? hmm). You've got it down as good as anyone can right now.

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