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releasing vinyl vs compact disc

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by catcauphonic, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I'm not 100% positive that this is the correct forum for this question, or that it hasn't been asked before. I did a TB search for 'vinyl vs CD release' and only specific releases came up.

    Our band (originals) is getting to the point where we want to start thinking about recording 4 or 5 of our strongest tracks on an EP to have available to coincide with the debut of our first few gigs. If things continue along the trajectory that they've been ... we're probably looking at April for playing out as an opening band or equivalent.

    This is my first band, although a few other members do have some recording experience. We're pretty sure we ideally want to release it as a 4 song vinyl 7", with some kind of download code included so it could be more portable for people. As opposed to a 5 song CDep ... which I dislike the idea of.

    One member suggested that a vinyl only release might limit the number of potential sales due to not as many people own a turntable anymore as compared to a CD player. Fair enough, but I think the inclusion of the material being downloadable will offset that. There was also talk of us burning our own CD copies and stuffing them in with the 7" to have all the bases covered. This band is NOT based on money. We're all older and have dayjobs ... we just want to gig a few times a month around town and hopefully have a few releases and photos to remember it by.

    Personally, I don't much care for the compact disc, and I see it as only a temporary format that is going to be extinct when the next big thing comes around - ie: digital downloads (they're already here!). I know vinyl is never going to make a full on comeback either, but there is no doubt a niche market for it that has endured throughout the years. I myself own over 1,200 LPs and am always scouring the thrift stores and Goodwills for used stuff ... often with great success! (Sidenote: All the Thrifts have more donated CD players than any other piece of electronic equipment in the past few years.)

    We're also lucky to live in a city as cool as Seattle :cool: where the turntable to CD player ratio is closer than in many parts of the country (Try finding a decent working TT at the Thrifts here ... they're snapped up in minutes!)

    In an effort to create more space in our 550sq' apartment (with 1,200+LPs, 300+CDs, and 1,000books lining the shelves), my Wife recently put all of our CDs alphabetically in those zipper cases, and tossed out all of the CD hardcases with the back cover artwork in them. Gone! I would hate for something like that to happen to our release.

    This is not meant to be a debate about the merits of the compact disc versus vinyl as a format. I just wanted to get others feedback around the globe (and especially local peeps) regarding what you are more likely to purchase given the above options ... or maybe you have a better one?

    I realize that genre has a lot to do with who is going to buy what format as well. Punk rockers never really stopped putting out vinyl etc, and there's collectors who will buy the same record twice just because the vinyl came out on two different colors. Fans of Celine Dion, the Beebs, or anything really mainstream are not buying records. We are not that, nor are we a punk band ... just another post-punk/indie rock band who plays for fun more than anything.

    For me, if the project fizzles, I would be much prouder ten years down the road to have an EP or an LP to hold and cherish, rather than potentially end up with a product on a dead format (like VHS) or possibly even ending up zippered up with 99 other CDs minus our back of the album artwork :rollno:

    What say you collective TB wisdom?
    Staccato likes this.
  2. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Press a hundred vinyl EPs and see what happens.

    You can always do another run.

    And, take PRE-orders!
  3. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    Is that Lux Interior of the Cramps in your masthead?
    Loved that guy. Maniacally great performer.

    My 2 cents: sending out vinyl for review is terribly expensive. With a mailer, postage and the record itself, you are looking at tossing out $5-$7 per every 7" you mail out.

    CD can be done for $2-3, so you will get a lot more bang for the same amount of promo dollars.

    I made vinyl because like you I thought it to have greater "artifact value." Which it arguably does… except that no one values artifacts much in music any more, as you observed.

    How about making CDs in paper gatefold sleeves so they have an "album" look? Good compromise in my opinion...
  4. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Yessir ... the Cramps are one of my favorite bands (RIP Lux)

    I can't see us doing much 'sending out' other than to maybe KEXP 90.3 (locally based TRUE independent station.) Do venue owners even have record players? I thought in this day and age you just send them a link.

    And yes, I was thinking about starting out with 100 hand numbered. The gatefold paper CD package is a good idea too, if we're forced to go that route. Keep the suggestions coming!
  5. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010


    No affiliation with the manufacturer - but dig these premium, gatefold CD packages. Very artful.

    And ask yourself: how many of your friends still have turntables? Publishing on vinyl is a cool gesture, but a fanciful one.

    Also, I don't see CD becoming defunct like VHS. Its rule has passed, yes; but it is still the cheapest physical delivery format for music, and hundreds of millions of them still sell each year.
  6. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    I wasn't referring to sending CDs out for booking, but rather for magazine review, and to college radio. I will typically send out 200-300 albums for self-promotion.
  7. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Hmmm. points well taken. I'd say maybe close to half of my friends have access to a record player in their living space. And probably all of them have the capability to use the digital download coup that we would like to include. Most of our friends would probably buy the vinyl or CD just as a show of support whether they can use it often or not. I'm bookmarking those links ... appreciated :cool:
  8. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    We put our LP out on colored vinyl and included a CD in the album jacket. We put it on Bandcamp for sale and download.
    It worked for us. Click my sig to see it.
  9. philvanv

    philvanv Gerbil Turds, Kitsap County Turd Core

    Jul 2, 2012
    and at the bottom it says thank you, and now you can shag off
    We've done split 7" with bigger well known acts and its a great deal. I think the type of mysic makes a difference with split 7"'s. I think adding a code for free downliad is a great idea...
  10. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I do Love me some coloured vinyl, too!

    I think we're going to go the BC route as well. So you got both CDs and an LP pressed? People can listen for free online or purchase the physical copy, and you're moving enough units to consider it a success?? :cool: Very cool :cool:
  11. Personally, I love vinyl - but more people have MP3 and CD players than turntables these days, and CDs are easier to take to gigs and whatnot to sell.
  12. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Why go through the added expense of pressing vinyl when you can just go digital?
  13. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    Worth underscoring that the OP is in Seattle, and that a good half of his friends have turntables. So there is a obviously a thriving vinyl subculture there. In the right context, a cool vinyl artifact can help bring a band to the attention of the right kind of taste makers.

    My vinyl pressings, although very expensive, found their way into the hands of the late and legendary BBC disc jokey John Peel (thanks to my promo mailing). Peel spun the record on BBC 1, which validated the band and got us a blurb in Rolling Stone. John Peel probably would not have looked twice had I sent him a cd-r. So vinyl is a gambit that can pay off...

    Here is LA, I'd say perhaps five percent of my friends maintain record players. Most, were I to hand them vinyl, would be completely dumbfounded as to what to do with it.
  14. Marton


    Sep 20, 2005
    I know more people that buy vinyls that people that buy CDs. Vinyls and MP3s seems the way to go right now.
  15. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    It's hard enought to sell your music as it is, why do you want to make it harder? Frankly I don't know anyone except a few musicians who have a turntable set up and running.

    I can tell you that more people will NOT buy your release because it is not on CD than WILL buy it because it is on vinyl. If you don't care about sales, then it doesn't matter.
  16. First things first, figure out what it's gonna cost. I remember my band deciding not to press 100 vinyl copies after we realized that to break even we'd have to set the price so high that our fans would be selling their kidneys to get an EP. I don't want our fans to have to sell their kidneys.

    CDs were much more viable for us. If you can move larger quantities vinyl is more realistic.
  17. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Again, I think genre has a lot to do with who's buying what format. And no, I'm nowhere near the worlds greatest businessman. I guess it's more important to me to have a package that I would like to have and to display proudly above all the current trends in marketing. And you don't think that the inclusion of a digital download (and possibly even a disc inside) would bump those numbers up? I know we're talking about a higher cost for that option, but this band is not an income in any way shape or form. I would like not TO LOSE too much scratch, though.
  18. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Undoubtedly correct
  19. JakobT


    Jan 9, 2014
    Oslo, Norway
    Stopped buying CDs a long time ago. Stopped buying vinyl long before that.
  20. Seriously, do the math. What will 100 vinyl copies in nice jackets cost you. How much would you have to charge to break even?