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The Vinyl Bubble

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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Auntie Ovipositor on Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:14 pm

Redline wrote:Maybe, but better turntables are more affordable now, too, and vinyl manufacturers are making better records.

Better/cheaper turntables being available doesn't mean people are buying them (here are Amazon's best selling turntables, which are all pretty mediocre, and probably going into mediocre stereos). I'm not sure I buy the blanket statement that vinyl manufacturers are making better records, but even if that's true, I don't see that motivating people much. As with their choice of record players, price matters more than quality.

And a lot of records that get purchased new aren't listened to. The downloads are. I mean, they might get listened to some, but nowhere near as much as the mp3.

eliya wrote:I think it's partially novelty, and partially affordability, until the record companies tried to milk it to death. What's killing vinyl is dumb releases, like LP comedy albums, soundtracks for shows and movies that no one is going to buy, and records by artists whose audience most likely isn't going to buy vinyl. I think that crap is jamming the plants, so now it's harder for smaller bands, who actually have LP-buying audiences, from getting their record pressed.


Affordability was great when vinyl was unfashionable, I totally agree with that. But regardless of how many Pauly Shore Live At His Mom's Place vinyl pressings are coming out I don't think that's a factor in the interest in vinyl tapering off. Longer wait times seems to feed into the whole fetishistic aspect of it, too, which makes it more appealing to a certain sector of the audience, not less.


I don't think any of this takes anything away from enjoying vinyl if that's your thing - whether it's .05% of music sales or 50%, it's still vinyl. Getting personally invested in whether vinyl is a force in the market or not is the part that seems silly to me.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby eliya on Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:28 pm

Auntie Ovipositor wrote: Longer wait times seems to feed into the whole fetishistic aspect of it, too, which makes it more appealing to a certain sector of the audience, not less.


Longer wait times and higher minimums means that it's harder for independent bands to do small runs of records that someone would actually care to own on vinyl. It's like a positive feedback loop that makes the problem worse - dumb releases are fueled by incapacity to put out non-dumb releases which makes room for more dumb releases.


Auntie Ovipositor wrote:Getting personally invested in whether vinyl is a force in the market or not is the part that seems silly to me.


Then why are you having this conversation right now? But anyway, people like and care about vinyl and want it to stay a valid delivery format instead of being relegated as a relic. For those people it's important to discuss and understand just how much of the market is made up by vinyl sales, because it tells them if this thing they like is here to stay a while longer or not.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Auntie Ovipositor on Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:35 pm

eliya wrote:
Auntie Ovipositor wrote: Longer wait times seems to feed into the whole fetishistic aspect of it, too, which makes it more appealing to a certain sector of the audience, not less.


Longer wait times and higher minimums means that it's harder for independent bands to do small runs of records that someone would actually care to own on vinyl. It's like a positive feedback loop that makes the problem worse - dumb releases are fueled by incapacity to put out non-dumb releases which makes room for more dumb releases.

Those records still get pressed. If it takes longer it takes longer - that market really doesn't demand records be available immediately after they're recorded, they are comfortable waiting because they know the drill.

I haven't seen anyone upping their minimums beyond the obvious issues of quality of run size, but perhaps you have examples.

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:Getting personally invested in whether vinyl is a force in the market or not is the part that seems silly to me.


Then why are you having this conversation right now?

Because I had a few spare minutes to visit a message board and I responded to an article that we both agree was silly.

But anyway, people like and care about vinyl and want it to stay a valid delivery format instead of being relegated as a relic. For those people it's important to discuss and understand just how much of the market is made up by vinyl sales, because it tells them if this thing they like is here to stay a while longer or not.

The good news is the format remains valid regardless of the market. When it dips back down to a smaller percentage of market share it will more accurately reflect the genuine interest in the format. It'll be niche, but that'll be okay. Plus, if the market does shrink and finds a level at which it is sustainable, you won't have to wait for a press to finish up Steve Martin Live on Tape Vol 20 because that sector of the market will have failed.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby eliya on Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:18 pm

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:Those records still get pressed. If it takes longer it takes longer - that market really doesn't demand records be available immediately after they're recorded, they are comfortable waiting because they know the drill.


I think that the long wait times is definitely something that discourages bands.

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:I haven't seen anyone upping their minimums beyond the obvious issues of quality of run size, but perhaps you have examples.


For instance, QRP pressed 300 records for me two years ago. Now their minimum order is 1000.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby enframed on Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:18 am

Redline wrote:vinyl manufacturers are making better records.


I've purchased so many sub-par pressings in the last two years that I've pretty much stopped buying records, after buying pretty much only records for the last 30 years. These are new, in wrapper records with serious audible flaws.

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:The good news is the format remains valid regardless of the market. When it dips back down to a smaller percentage of market share it will more accurately reflect the genuine interest in the format. It'll be niche, but that'll be okay.


Indeed.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Auntie Ovipositor on Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:39 am

eliya wrote:
Auntie Ovipositor wrote:Those records still get pressed. If it takes longer it takes longer - that market really doesn't demand records be available immediately after they're recorded, they are comfortable waiting because they know the drill.


I think that the long wait times is definitely something that discourages bands.

That it might "discourage bands" is a very different argument from it "affects sales." I'm going to guess that if your band sells records, long wait times are a non-issue. But I am guessing. My band doesn't sell records (we are tiny!), but I know bands who do, and this seems coherent with their expressed viewpoints.

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:I haven't seen anyone upping their minimums beyond the obvious issues of quality of run size, but perhaps you have examples.


For instance, QRP pressed 300 records for me two years ago. Now their minimum order is 1000.


Nope. They still do 500. As do a lot of other places (United, Sun Press, Gotta Groove, Pirates' Press, Mobineko, etc). If you want, there are even places with a minimum order of 50. Some that specialize in less that that if you think your artistic vision is only enhanced by scarcity.

I know from years as a press operator that getting things tweaked for shorter runs is a fool's game. Lots of industrial processes only get up to speed (and therefore profitability) after they've cleared a certain threshold, by virtue of the adjustments going in. 500 seems like the line for vinyl, and I don't think that's unreasonable. If you can't sell 500 records, don't press vinyl. Or at least don't whine about it when you get a significant price break once you cross that line.

A lot of these smaller run places seem to be aware that they are a niche market and are focused on that niche. GG completely delivers for that niche and god bless 'em for the amount of focus they put in on smaller projects. They even do hand-crafted color discs in that price range! I'm sure other places are similarly focused.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Bernardo on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:17 am

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:If you can't sell 500 records, don't press vinyl.


I'd much rather live in a world where I can get records by bands who don't sell 500 copies.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Redline on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:20 am

What's a "download"?
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby eliya on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:23 am

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:Nope. They still do 500.


Yep. Top of the page:

Please note that we have a strict minimum of 1,000 LPs or LP sets per order.


Also on their homepage.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Auntie Ovipositor on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:26 am

Bernardo wrote:
Auntie Ovipositor wrote:If you can't sell 500 records, don't press vinyl.


I'd much rather live in a world where I can get records by bands who don't sell 500 copies.


You saw the links to places that will do runs over 50, right? So lucky you, you do live in that world. But you can't realistically expect record plants to eat the cost of making those affordable. Pressing less than 500 is extremely impractical from a manufacturing point of view.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Redline on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:31 am

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:
Pressing less than 500 is extremely impractical from a manufacturing point of view.

Why be practical? Buy a gas guzzling car, stop riding your bike to work, records are supposed to be fun...
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Auntie Ovipositor on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:32 am

eliya wrote:
Please note that we have a strict minimum of 1,000 LPs or LP sets per order.

Weird - their pricing still lists 500-999 as an option:
180 gram
500-999 (black only) $3.00

but that is indeed there at the top of the page. Guess websites aren't really their thing.

Anyway, there are still lots of other pressing plants who will do 500.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Auntie Ovipositor on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:34 am

Redline wrote:Auntie Ovipositor wrote:
Pressing less than 500 is extremely impractical from a manufacturing point of view.

Why be practical? Buy a gas guzzling car, stop riding your bike to work, records are supposed to be fun...

When someone comes to your job and tells you that it should be suckier and less profitable because they want it to be you'll be able to answer that question for yourself.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Redline on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:36 am

Auntie Ovipositor wrote:
Redline wrote:Auntie Ovipositor wrote:
Pressing less than 500 is extremely impractical from a manufacturing point of view.

Why be practical? Buy a gas guzzling car, stop riding your bike to work, records are supposed to be fun...

When someone comes to your job and tells you that it should be suckier and less profitable because they want it to be you'll be able to answer that question for yourself.

My job was suckier, that's why I retired. I maxed out on my profit earning potential.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Auntie Ovipositor on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:39 am

Redline wrote:
Auntie Ovipositor wrote:
Redline wrote:Auntie Ovipositor wrote:
Pressing less than 500 is extremely impractical from a manufacturing point of view.

Why be practical? Buy a gas guzzling car, stop riding your bike to work, records are supposed to be fun...

When someone comes to your job and tells you that it should be suckier and less profitable because they want it to be you'll be able to answer that question for yourself.

My job was suckier, that's why I retired. I maxed out on my profit earning potential.


You've got those sweet Couch Flambeau residuals to fall back on. It's different for the rest of us.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Redline on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:45 am

I remember RTI pressing up a bunch of lp's for like 2 bucks each, and even on the Quitex Vinyl, but that was a hundred years ago. Still, some people complain about their Sub Pop pressings, warped, etc., but all of the MFSL lp's I bought that RTI pressed were near perfect. Will a record making factory give someone a deal, but cut the quality control? Then how is that a deal?
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Bernardo on Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:07 pm

Redline wrote:Will a record making factory give someone a deal, but cut the quality control? Then how is that a deal?


I'd say it's safe to assume the majority of vinyl sales right now are not for people whose concern is the technical quality of the pressing. I mean, they probably never were, but at least originally most records were bought to be listened to, I suppose, the fetish aspect has grown exponentially.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby enframed on Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:19 pm

Just came home with the vinyl of Migos' Culture. Dunno who pressed the LP but it's a good one, super clean.
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby Redline on Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:40 pm

enframed wrote:Just came home with the vinyl of Migos' Culture. Dunno who pressed the LP but it's a good one, super clean.

I'm glad to see the vinyl voodoo turned around for you...
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Re: The Vinyl Bubble

Postby bishopdante on Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:04 am

Manufacturers should really itemise the billing properly, and show the set-up/tooling costs on the bill separately from the per-unit production cost.

It might make more sense to run thousands, but a supplier should do you a run of 10 units if you are happy to pay the makeready costs.

Always ask for itemised billing so that you can see the costs and work the numbers to make the best decision.
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