Bandcamp made a lot of indie artists happy last year by raising $40 million for musicians during their monthly Bandcamp Fridays campaign. The music platform is keeping that momentum going in 2021 with the announcement of a new initiative that’s possibly even more appealing: they’re going to press vinyl runs for 10,000 different artists.
Back in 2019, the company quietly rolled out the pilot program for an in-house vinyl pressing service. According to an announcement on their website, Bandcamp pressed and shipped 13,000 vinyl units for 50 different artists. In 2021, the Oakland-based music marketplace is ambitiously inviting 200x the amount of musicians to participate in the program.
Given that only a small handful of vinyl pressing plants are tasked with manufacturing LPs for the entire globe, if Bandcamp were to merely fire up an additional pressing plant then that would be great in and of itself. Amazingly, it’s much more than that. The company won’t just manufacture the records, they’ll also ship them, fulfill digital, and handle customer service, all while letting the artist choose their own design and set the price, just like any other product that gets sold on their website.
Best of all, Bandcamp aren’t asking their artists to finance these vinyl runs upfront. Rather, they’ll be financed by the fans who order them, which takes a huge financial load off of the artist’s shoulders since vinyl batches typically start around the $2,000 mark (at least). Through this program, Bandcamp are the manufacturer, the distributor, and the logistics team, essentially turning themselves into a record label without taking any ownership of the records themselves.
Global vinyl sales reached historic highs in 2020, and music fans bought a whopping two million LP’s on Bandcamp alone. However, according to their company data, only 12% of the albums on Bandcamp have a vinyl option, so this pressing service is designed to help independent artists reap the benefits of this potentially lucrative market.
There’s really no catch here, it’s just a slice of great news for the music industry. We can always use more of that.
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