There are many types of vinyl jackets available today, but we’ll be focusing more on these two because they’re the standard.
Let me first help you distinguish between the two.
What’s a single vinyl jacket?
The single vinyl jacket aka the standard vinyl jacket has two panels. It can be full printed on both the front side and back side. It houses only one vinyl record and may have a spine or not.
What is a vinyl gatefold jacket?
A gatefold is a two-sleeved jacket that is connected at one side with a spine. In a way, we can consider vinyl gatefold jackets as having four panels that can be printed on. It can hold two vinyl records or one vinyl record with a booklet/poster on the other pouch.
Now you might be wondering which is the better choice for your vinyl. It depends on the situation and circumstances actually.
Here are some of the factors to consider in choosing whether you should have your vinyl in single vinyl jackets or gatefold jacket:
#1 The number of records you want to press
Vinyl records have a minimum time of playback so having a 40-minute long album pressed on a 10” vinyl would be best separated into two vinyl records. If you’re planning to have this double record album, then a vinyl gatefold jacket would be the best choice.
Choosing a standard vinyl jacket for a double record album would not be economical at all, because you will have to designate two single vinyl jackets for just one album. It would also be burdensome because you will surely have to provide another set of artworks for the other sleeve. It might even confuse your fans.
But I’m sure that when you proceed with the vinyl pressing, the company that will be manufacturing your vinyl pressing records will suggest you have the gatefold jacket instead of the standard single one.
If you have one record for your album release, then I suggest you have your vinyl record on the standard single sleeve jacket. You’ll be able to save some money this way too.
#2 If you want to include add-ons like booklets and posters
Most artists add inclusions to their released albums, whether it’d be a CD album or vinyl record album. The inclusions I’m talking about are those printed inserts, posters, booklets, photo books, lyric books, and more.
If you have plans of putting some of these inclusions, it would not hurt to consider having the vinyl gatefold jacket. That is if you only have one vinyl record. This way you can have one sleeve holding your vinyl record, while the other holds the inclusions.
Having two vinyl records for your vinyl gatefold would be impossible for you to add those book type inclusions. Printed inserts on the other hand, can be pushed through since you can just insert them in between the two folded vinyl record sleeves.
If you don’t have any plans for inclusions and only have one record to release, then you can just have the standard one.
#3 The album artwork
What we see on the front side, mostly, of a vinyl album jacket is what I mean when I talk about artworks. They are these images or visual art pieces that visually attract fans to persuade them to buy your album.
Artworks are very important in the sales of a vinyl record album because collectors do not only come for the pleasing music, they also come for the pleasing artworks. These artworks can be photographs, paintings, and digital art.
The advantage of having the gatefold jacket is that there is an added space for extra artwork you can use, or maybe a combination of artwork and texts, which can be your message to fans or listeners or maybe your songs’ lyrics.
If you do not have any extra artwork you think will fit with your album’s concept then it would be best to just submit the artworks for a single vinyl jacket to your vinyl pressing company, that is if you only have a single record.
And even though you have an extra artwork, but you have only one record and are not even considering the addition of inclusions, then it would be best to just stick with a single vinyl jacket. It would help you keep some of your money.
#4 Your budget
Lastly we have the budget. This of course is the biggest factor to know which is the better one for your vinyl album release. Even if you want to have your 45-minute full album on a vinyl record, but you know your budget won’t make it possible, then you’ll have to handpick the songs you want to have on a single vinyl.
If you have a low budget then you might have no choice but to release your album with just a single sleeved vinyl jacket, inner sleeve, and one vinyl record. You can, of course, postpone this if you really want to have a better release. If you have a enough budget, then you can decide either having a standard vinyl jacket or a vinyl gatefold jacket.
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.