Vinyl is hot hot hot right now, with physical sales slowly edging their way back up into the industry for the first time since the ’80s. The last five years have seen an incredible level of growth for the wax, so you’d be a fool not to jump on board.
That said, vinyl can be expensive, it can be hard to flog, and unless you have some sound engineering chops of your own, you’ll need some help getting your tracks mastered. All of this can come down to a few critical factors for your band, but we’re here to help you take the plunge. Because nothing’s sweeter than holding that fat stack of wax for the first time.
Thinking about pressing your music to vinyl for the first time? Before you take the leap, make sure everything is in its right place.
As a performing musician, you should always be tuned into momentum. Are you being talked about in the media? Are you getting your tracks played on radio? Are you selling merch? Basically, is there a buzz? The best time to make any announcement – whether it’s a new single or your first ever vinyl record – is when you’re running hot.
The second factor you’ll have to consider with vinyl pressing is making back the cost (which often only means breaking even). How well you’re selling merch is always a great place to look, if you’ve happily sold 250 shirts, you should hopefully be confident that flogging a similar number of vinyl records is doable.
A tour is also a killer opportunity to get your records out there, so if you’re planning a few shows around a single, EP, or album, you’ll want to take as many records on the road as you can. If you’ve sold merch you probably already know this – people love picking up a memento after a great gig.
If you think it’s time to get pressed, well done, your first step is covered. Now it’s time for the nitty gritty.
To pass you a few numbers, 150 7-inch records through Aussie pressers Zenith Records will set you back $1050 plus GST (you’ll probably also want a test pressing, which comes in at $95). If you reckon you can sell the lot for $15 or as low as $10 each, you’ve made back the dollars, however there’s also a few other costs to consider.
Vinyl needs a completely separate master from the one you’ll use digitally, or for CDs. The best way to grab this is through the same engineer who mastered your release in the first place, but it will usually come at an extra cost.
Postage is another simple thing that people often forget. If you’re selling through Bandcamp you can have buyers cover it, but if you’re selling direct to fans, you’ll either have to add it onto the price or cover it yourself. We’ll leave that up to you.
A final note – be prepared
A general piece of advice that never goes without saying; be prepared. Vinyl pressings can take a few months from start to finish, depending on your presser’s current workload, so if you want to sell wax on an upcoming tour… you gotta think ahead.
Artists sitting on their releases for years at a time is much more common than you think. They’ll only be dropping the first single when everything’s ready – including vinyl. Take a leaf out of the top dogs’ book and do the same yourself.
Find out more about Zenith Records’ vinyl specials here.