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Tips from the Musicians' Union on releasing your music on vinyl

Blog by Musicians' Union under Artist Managers, Music Publishing, Record Labels, Selling & Distributing Your Music

Who said vinyl was just a fad? In January it was revealed that sales had reached 1.3 million in 2014, the highest since 1995. All the signs are that the vinyl market is set to go from strength to strength. So how can you be part of the movement?

Releasing your music on vinyl may not be easy, but it can do wonders for artists by building fan engagement and loyalty. Unlike downloads, vinyl is tactile and gives you the opportunity to express yourself creatively through lyrics, artwork and sleeve notes. 

“It may not seem like a huge money-spinner, but vinyl sales hit an 18 year high last year”
says Maddie Hennessy, MU Licensing Officer. “Indie retailers such as Rough Trade have seen sales rise, and the bigger retailers are catching on”. 

This resurgence in vinyl’s popularity was recognised by the launch of the first Official Vinyl Albums Chart Top 40 and Official Vinyl Singles Chart Top 40 in April 2015, and earlier this year HMV launched its “HMV Loves Vinyl” campaign to raise awareness of their commitment to vinyl in every store.

In terms of releasing your own vinyl, there are some key factors to consider. 

Firstly, it’s expensive. The high price of the oil used in the manufacturing process means that the price per unit, compared to CD, is high too. It can be as much as £8 or £9 per album, which will cut into your profit. So it’s advisable to only press units you’re confident you can sell.

One way to avoid overstocking is to encourage your fanbase to pre-order – buying, or pledging to buy, the album before even a note has been recorded. Using a similar crowd-funding model, companies such as Qrates are easing the burden of costs for artists and small labels, only pressing and selling once a minimum number of orders are confirmed.  

Re-mastering is often advisable when releasing a vinyl version of a release. A well-mastered CD can translate to vinyl, but a sub-standard CD master can impair the sound. 

“It’s also important to register your works with the relevant collection societies if you want to receive full royalties on sales and airplay,” highlights Maddie. Register with PRS for Music if you own the copyright in the underlying music contained within the recording, and PPL if you own the copyright in the recording itself.

If you need on advice on releasing your own product or any of the issues mentioned here, get in touch via theMU.org

 

Tags

vinyl releases, vinyl pressing, musicians union, releasing your own music, 7

 

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