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.