Wax is back. With Nielsen Music reporting a new yearly high for U.S. vinyl sales, marking the 13th consecutive year of growth, Bandcamp revealed on Wednesday (April 17) that sales of vinyl records on the site have grown 600 percent in the last five years, with roughly 3,500 unique vinyl albums added every month.
But even with increased demand, producing vinyl remains challenging for artists. Not only is it costly and time-consuming, but it can be a confusing undertaking for first-timers. To counter illustrate those challenges, Bandcamp notes that a mere 9 percent of albums with sales on the site in 2018 offered a vinyl version.
Enter Bandcamp’s new vinyl pressing service, which aims to address these challenges when it becomes available to artists and labels later this year. Here’s how it works: Artists can create a vinyl campaign and begin taking orders with no up-front investment. Once they reach their minimum goal of orders, Bandcamp will press the records, print the packaging and ship to fans. Artists decide on the design and price, and Bandcamp takes no ownership of the record.
“Vinyl’s growth on Bandcamp and industry-wide has been amazing and something to celebrate,” says Josh Kim, Bandcamp chief operating officer. “Still, there are many artists who want to press vinyl but don’t because of these various challenges. We think this is unfortunate, both for fans who would enthusiastically collect these artists’ records and for the artists who are leaving potential sales on the table.”
Though the service isn’t available yet, Bandcamp has launched pilot campaigns to illustrate its potential with jazz trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, video game composer Jim Guthrie, French guitarist Juliette Jade and Australian black metal artist Mesarthim.
“We think fans are always looking for ways to connect more deeply with the music and the artists they love, and vinyl records are tangible artifacts that promote that deep connection, free from digital distractions,” Kim adds about the format’s resurgence. “They are also beautiful, collectible pieces of art that artists love to create and fans love to own.”