Vinylised: Bringing wax back to drum & bass with people power…
Forget the whole hype of vinyl sales outselling downloads last year, that was just your old man re-purchasing his Bruce Springsteen and Queen albums in Lidl. Here’s a genuinely interesting vinyl story that could change the game for independent labels…
Vinylised: a new crowdfunded service that allows fans to club together for wax versions of otherwise solely digital releases. For fans, it’s an opportunity to own an exclusive, limited 12” that they’ve helped bring to life.
For labels it’s pretty revolutionary… Vinylised not only provide the crowdfunding platform, they liaise with the manufacturer and organise test presses, they print the sleeves and deal with postage and packaging, negating the challenges of distribution entirely.
As with all crowdfunded projects, if the money isn’t raised, the record doesn’t get cut and no one loses. However, unlike many other crowdfunded projects, the deadline is flexible, there’s clear comms between the label and the fans and there’s an option for labels to upload their entire back catalogue to Vinylised – meaning tracks fans have loved for years and have criminally never so much as sniffed the lacquer can finally see the light of day.
The company, founded by Craig Haynes and James Gadsby Peet, has been several years in the making and it launched officially this month with two key bass labels: A.M.C’s Titan and Plastician’s Terrorhythm.
Titan’s release is perfect for the project launch. The first in a series of releases that taps into the longevity and natural momentum of dubplate culture, Southpaw VIP and Stick Or Twist have been on dub among a select few DJs since last summer. They’re out now digitally but are crying out for the 12” treatment Vinylised are making happen.
With rumours that more drum & bass labels were in talks with the company for future crowdfunded projects, we found out more from A.M.C and Vinylised themselves…
How much of a risk is a standard vinyl pressing option for independent labels?
A.M.C: For an independent label it’s a huge risk! Put it this way, it will cost you a lot of money to put a vinyl run together. The lacquers, the test presses, the manufacturing, the labels, the sleeves, it all adds up. Fronting the money for that is the gamble or risk you used to have to take and if you don’t sell the entirety of that run (based on smaller runs) you’ll be down a substantial amount that could have a detrimental effect on forthcoming releases. We could easily produce and sell vinyl for the releases on Titan again but as much as the label is a labour of love for the music and helping/advancing peoples careers it’s also a business and pressing vinyl is a financial risk. Vinylised removes that risk.
Labels take great care in their vinyl mastering and cutting process – how much control of the process have you had on this?
A.M.C: I was getting dubplates cut for years when I first started DJing and the process and materials used are essentially the same for when a lacquer is cut for manufacturing. We pressed vinyl for the majority of the first releases on Titan. On some we made a lot and on others we lost a lot and then our vinyl distributor went under in the resection so we had to get involved more and in short it became a nightmare. When Vinylised came along it simplified the process for us. It was a no brainer.
Vinylised: It comes down to careful collaboration with the label. We go through all the options, pretty much calibrating a model so that they can get the product they want with costs, quantity and retail price that are feasible. This is also why we insisted on a manufacturer that can provide test presses so the artists and labels know exactly how their records are going to sound before going to press.
A.M.C: On that note I’d also like to add that for the mastering and lacquer process we always use Beau Thomas at Ten Eight Seven. The work they do is just amazing and to think about how long he’s been doing it for and for how many major D&B labels, you might not realise it but without Beau D&B wouldn’t be what it is today.
What happens when 90% of the amount of pledged by the end date? Not full but pretty close…
Vinylised: We put end dates on the campaign to help the artists and labels keep up the momentum over a realistic time period. But each campaign is a fully transparent and flexible collaboration with the label so if it was that close and they wanted to extend the deadline with a final push we could do that. Everyone involved, from the label to us to the customers wants to see the release hit the target and get some records out there so we will always support that!
Are there any other drum & bass labels coming up on Vinylised?
Vinylised: We’ve just started working with Inperspective and have had interest from several other great drum & bass labels, too. It’s not just drum & bass: we’re totally open to all styles! Our focus right now is on bass music as it’s what we know. But the service could be useful to independent labels in any genre. We’ll add some filters to the site if we launch a metal section though, I promise!