Vinyl only release…please explain

Can someone please explain the thinking behind the increasing trend of vinyl-only releases? It’s particularly evident in the nu/disco/edit arena but I’m sure it’s in other genres. It seems to go like this: release snippet on Soundcloud, vinyl-only release date in 4 weeks time, no digital available.

Now, I understand that building some hype and anticipation for a track is an essential part of the marketing mix. I also understand the desire for some DJs to keep their track’s availability limited to make sure they are more hyped/blogged therefore increasing demand. I get the audiophile appreciation of the vinyl sound and I love vinyl artwork, a lot. Being a clubber, I see few DJs playing vinyl and laptops seem to be de riguer in clubs with DJs using Traktor to mix.

What I don’t understand, in times when the music business is regularly complaining of piracy, loss of profits and stores closing, is why artists who create music for commercial purposes (and don’t tell me dance music artists aren’t in it to make money) don’t make their product as available as possible. It’s always been about shifting units right?

The other new trend (in pop music anyway) is ‘on air, on sale’. Recently Britney and Gaga both dropped new songs on radio and web which were immediately available to buy on iTunes (don’t start me on iTunes and their poor sound quality and appalling user experience to buy). In fact with Britney, her pop-jam was available before she’d even played the song. This turns the industry marketing model on it’s head as it responds to the immediacy of online. The bloggers are waaaay ahead of the marketing departments.

I’m a music buyer who is prepared to pay for music (old school I know).

Here is how I want to consume music:

  • Hype and market your music to me via whichever online service you choose. I’ll find it. I like Soundcloud but am not that loyal. I just need to hear it properly.
  • Include a link with the track (snippet if you must) to buy.
  • My buy options should be vinyl, cd, download (incl.wav, flac), streaming service (cloud), iTunes or your preferred download provider.
  • They are all available on the same date an time.
  • Include value-add items available to purchase. Look at the airline model of add-ons. Let me add on items related to the product such as bonus tracks, a poster, discount to a concert or DJ gig, apparel, USB, app, whatever. These products are your real margin.
  • Bring it all together and release it on the same day.

How could this stop piracy? A personal example is getting excited about a vinyl-only track but having to wait one month for a download. The track is being charted, blogged and hyped and want a quality download. I google for a vinyl rip of the track (or leaked digital) posted on a blog or file sharing site and grab for free.  Artist loses the sale. Piracy. I would have paid. How many others do this?

So, I believe there is money to be made. Let me, the customer, choose my format, channel and products to buy and let the merits of the product speak.

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10 Responses to Vinyl only release…please explain

  1. dbmcnz says:

    I’m not missing ownership at all – I’ve got a huge collection of vinyl collected since 1973 of which i’ve sold nothing. I love vinyl art and the tactile thing – and totally agree that mp3 files dont cut it. I’ve chosen not to move turntables around the world so am buying digital and DJing with digital. I’m even old school in DJing with CDs!

    I’m now wondering if its generational – I want artists to think like business people and create new ways to make money from music, when in fact, the music is the door to other things. producers in their 20s probably dont care or understand how to reach customers to sell products – hell, I bet they dont even think its product.

    Leaving the laptop now – gonna pick up an actual book with paper pages 😉

    • Mickey says:

      Thats the spirt mate.

      Sorry if I have mis understood you. To me you sound like your not sure why people love vinyl. But now you say you have a huge collection of vinyl / CDs. I must have took you wrong somewhere.

      Yes read a book. I guess my main point is the life is no just meant to be looked at on a latpop and heard via crapy laptop speakers. This is just two of the human senses. Its also meant to be smelt, touched and spoken to.

      To me the internet whilst making huge advances for the human race has took as many steps backward. Everyone these days is far more house bound that they ever used to be and everything is also virtual and soul’less.

      I think for most people if they could suck them selves up into there computer Tron stylee they would. Not me, God gave me 5 senses and I intend to make use of all of them.

      (If you were born in 1973 you will have had the pleasure like myself of witnessing the birth of electronic dance music. Your obviously a music lover also. Perhaps you may like our show –

      All the best.

      • dbmcnz says:

        Oh hell yeah – I’m far from anti vinyl and fully agree with not spending your life on a laptop – more like an iPhone LOL.
        I have grown up through disco and electronic music and yes, a music lover. I checked out your show link and will def subscribe as it sounds right up my street.

        Great stuff – thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. dbmcnz says:

    Given time to think and read more on this issue, I now appreciate artists trying to differentiate themselves through a format. I also understand the perceived quality improvement the vinyl enthusiasts like, as with the mp3 backlash (apparently if its not wav now its shit). Also perhaps this is an issue for me as a follower and consumer in the underground house scene – a genre with a small market if I’m being honest. Major labels release across all the formats – so perhaps I should follow what everyone else is told to buy (not freakin likely).
    It’s a shift in the music business (about time) and I also commend artists who are defining a new market and audience. Perhaps I’m just feeling left out and should just buy some bloody turntables. An option, it is.

    • Mickey says:

      But still your missing the whole dimension of ownership!!

      Having a real deal tangible object in your hands with packaging. Opening it up and sticking in on a turntable. Hearing the crackles and imperfections. Then watching it spin around.

      Its a whole experience. Pressing play on an MP3 is just dull as dishwater!

      If you have never experienced tangible audio before, come round my place and we’ll go through my record collection. I guarantee you will see the difference.

      Doing every action there is to do in life from a latop is a waste of a life. Break the rutt.

  3. Mickey says:

    People are sick of having everything shoved down there throats. Every man and his dog this day and age make music. It was much better in the 90s. Things were more exciting because they were weren’t over saturated to death!

    Back then music was itself the hype. These days any turd with a laptop and a passing interest can make an MP3.

    Returning to vinyl is hopefully a way of doing something different. BTW lol at you thinking anyone can make money from selling music anymore.
    However music is still in peoples blood. So the do it and make a loss or just say break evens with Vinyl only releases.

    And I personally commend them.

  4. yungyuk says:

    I think some of the reasoning behind it is that MP3 culture is increasingly disposable, and this sort of continued availability of MP3s cheapens the whole music listening experience. I find it interesting….I think when people do vinyl only releases, they generally know that the people who purchase the music are definitely fans. I’m at a point now where I’m not even interesting in downloading anymore mp3s. I know people believe that “it’s all about the music and not the format”, but I think within a few years digital culture will reach a point where it collapses on itself. We’re going to be heading back towards physical formats I think. Those are my thoughts anyway 🙂

    • Mickey says:

      My god how I hope you are right.

      I will never understand all this virtual crap. I like real tangible objects. IE if I DJ I like real deal decks, if I write a tune I like real deal instruments and if I buy some music I like real deal formats.

      Im only 37 yet in my day life was viewed from your real deal eyeballs. These days kids socialise on Facebook, listen to music on youtube and torrents and have a girlfriend they have never met who lives in china and chat to via virtual MSN.
      In my day just 10 years ago as said life was vied from real deal eyeballs. These days from music to socialisation its done via Laptop.

      How very very sad. How Id absolutely hate to be a kid today. THe experience of playing on the street, buying your first 12″ single, saving up for your decks that took 6 months of some crappy saturday job yet when you got them the ownership was superb. These days, a laptop and a couple of cracks.

      No going into a studio to record and meeting like minded people. Nope, you just break from chatting to your chinese girlfriend on MSN and flick on ABleton and dont even get out you seat.

      Someone give me a time machine back to the rave scene of the 90s here in the UK.

      And your release? Why you sit on your arse of course! Just bounce down your virtual instruments in your virtual studio and make your piddly virtual MP3 file just like 60 billion others have done today and join then in obscurity. Be quick though, you need to open facebook up also from sitting on your ass so you can take to your friend that lives next door.

  5. dbmcnz says:

    Yes that’s an option, but I didn’t ship my turntables to UK. Also, my point was that I don’t understand why digital cannot be available at the same time as vinyl. I don’t like vinyl rips. I’m more than happy to support the artist and pay.

  6. badgerfodder says:

    If you are really prepared to pay for the music and support the artist, then why not buy the vinyl and rip it yourself? Yes, it’s more expensive – but at least you get something real out of it. Best of both worlds.

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