Custom vinyl records have slowly risen from its lowest era after CDs have replaced them, and last year was its first success as it surpassed CDs in terms of sales in the US.
The format also sold millions of units all over the world, showcasing its increasing audience and increasing production. And as we look into the first half of 2021, we can see a more saturated era of vinyl record releases.
These numerous releases from musicians of different genres project how custom vinyl records have become an in demand audio format for many fans and listeners.
But you might wonder why fans still buy the obviously more expensive vinyl record when you can just listen to those songs on online streaming sites.
Aside from having better sound quality and giving a more tangible experience, vinyl records are also very much collectible, making the fans even more in love with them.
This collectibility has also been one of the reasons why musicians are wanting to release vinyl records.
And due to fans loving its collectibility, artists have also found ways to make their albums different and unique…ways that would separate theirs from other vinyl records. And that way, my friends, is “customization”.
Vinyl records have come a long way already. Instead of the standard black vinyl records and the white paper inner sleeves, we now have a wide range of options for customization of almost any element that makes up a vinyl album.
We now have custom vinyl records that would make your vinyl album worth collecting.
Table of Contents
Before the actual customization
To make your vinyl album worth collecting, the first thing would be to decide how many tracks you will have for your vinyl album. This is really not a step that would increase vinyl record collectibility, but it is a crucial one because everything rests in that decision.
After deciding, then you will know in what size it would be pressed on and how many records there would be for one copy of your album.
Determining the number is what really matters here because it will help you decide on what to do for the rest of the decision-making phases for your album.
Choosing vinyl jackets
So the first step in the actual customization of the vinyl album is to choose the vinyl jacket that would house the vinyl records. There are many types of vinyl jackets and here are some of them.
1. Single Sleeve Vinyl Jacket:
This jacket can only hold a maximum of one vinyl record. it is like a vinyl’s inner sleeve, the difference is that it may or may not have a spine.
2. Folded Vinyl Jacket:
This type of jacket has many subtypes depending on the number of folds the jacket has.
First is the gatefold vinyl jacket which can hold 2 vinyl records at most. It is a folded vinyl jacket that has an inner artwork printed on the inner fold of the jacket which is twice the side of the front side of the jacket. It’s opening pockets can either be on the outer or inner side of the vinyl jacket.
- Second is the trifold vinyl jacket that basically has three single jackets connected together. It can house one to three vinyl records at once with one inner pocket opening and two outer pocket openings.
- And last is the quad fold vinyl jacket with four folds which can hold four vinyl records at most. It has two outer and inner pocket openings.
3. Book like Vinyl Jacket: This jacket is like those typical books with pages.
Inner sleeves selection
Next on the list of steps is the selecting of an inner sleeve. Inner sleeves are necessary for the added protection on your vinyl records and also the inside of the jacket. They’re the ones responsible for protecting vinyl records from dust and for holding the records in place inside the jacket. Nowadays, inner sleeves are not just for protection, they have become another thing that could add to the collectibility of a vinyl album. Here are some of those inner vinyl sleeves.
1. Paper Inner Sleeves: These inner sleeves are the most common, especially when you have vinyl pressings. They are very cheap and are better used when ordering a number of vinyl records. But at present, they’re not that cheap anymore for you can now print on them.
Plain Paper Inner Sleeves
Printed Inner Sleeves
2. Anti-Static Inner Sleeves: This is the better inner sleeve between the two since paper inner sleeves tend to create static when we slide the vinyl records in and out, while this one doesn’t.
Deciding on an artwork
After deciding on the type of jacket and inner sleeve you want, you can now design the artworks to be printed on them. Make sure it looks attractive and unique, don’t go with something that will not scream your and your album’s identity. Something that would remind fans and other people of you/ your band and the songs it holds, just like Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.
Vinyl record customization
Then after that you can choose among the many customization options pressing plants have for the designing of the records. You can have a weirdly cut vinyl record or have it sprinkled with glitters. You can also have glow in the dark ones and even transparent or those colored see through vinyl records. Anything is possible now here’s some options.
- Differently Shaped Vinyl Records
- Vinyl with different things in/on it: can be blood, glitter, hair, flower petals, colored water, etc.
- Vinyl records with etchings
- Colored Vinyl Records: can be mono colored or multicolored
- Transparent/ See Through Vinyl Records
- Glow-in-the-Dark Vinyl Records
- Picture Discs
And last we have the addition of inclusions. This can be disregarded if you don’t have much money to spare. But if you do have, then it would be great if you add some inclusions. Inclusions can add to the collectibility of your album since there are more things to look forward to and collect.
Let’s say you have many editions of your vinyl record album, if you put the same kind of inclusions, but have different things printed on them then fans will surely be persuaded to buy both editions.
And in case you didn’t know yet, vinyl jackets are the ones to hold this, they won’t need to be separated because they are not just there to bear your records, though single vinyl jackets would be a different one. One of those pockets from gatefold or trifold jackets can contain the inclusions below:
We’ll end it here guys.
There are more vinyl jackets, vinyl records, and inclusions you can add.
You can even make your own if you want to get creative (just make sure you have sturdy materials!).
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.