Releasing music on vinyl is one of the hottest trends in late 2000s that’s why we decided to make this short custom vinyl pressing guide. Vinyl records made a big comeback in 2008 and I do not think it’s just a passing trend- it is finally here to stay. Vinyl record sales is still growing each year since its comeback. The 2011 Music Sales Report shows that for the fourth consecutive year, more vinyl albums were purchased than any other year in the history of Nielsen SoundScan (a whopping 39% growth!).
But despite its popularity, vinyl pressing is still intimidating to a lot of bands. Maybe it is because the process is unfamiliar to most of us compared to burning CDs. It is popular but not yet too popular for it to become familiar to many bands. Maybe it’s also because of the price of Vinyl manufacturing. It is not so cheap to make vinyl records compared to, say, digital! Maybe some are hesitant because of the Vinyl myths they’ve heard. But releasing on vinyl does have its perks-branding,marketing,value,your confidence. I’m guessing you know this or else you wouldn’t be here reading this article.
If you’re planning to release an album on vinyl, let me tell you this: Vinyl Manufacturing is actually pretty easy. Yes, it is. If this is your first time, here are some tips for a worry-free vinyl pressing experience:
Absolute must: Choose a reliable Vinyl Pressing Company. This, my folks, is the number one requirement for a stress-free vinyl record production. You really don’t want to deal with amateurs or scammers who pretend to know everything about vinyl pressing but gives you trash in the end- Trash you’ve paid for and waited for such a long time. You can do some google search of the companies online and make sure you check with the Better Business Bureau for reviews. You may also ask bands who’ve done it before. Just send e-mails to bands you know and ask them where they manufactured their vinyl records and whether the company is good.
And hopefully, one that’s close to where you live. Among the good vinyl pressing companies you’ve chosen, choose the one that’s close to where you live so you can just visit the company anytime you feel paranoid about the project. It will also save you lots of dollars on shipping and fuel. Lastly, you can protest outside their office or plot a revenge if you got a very bad service.
Allot at least one month for Vinyl manufacturing. Vinyl pressing is not as quick as CD manufacturing. And, even CD manufacturing could take up to 3 weeks from submission of artwork til the final copies. If you submit your order today complete with all necessary (and correct) requirements, expect to get the test pressing in 2 to 3 weeks. Then once you approve the test, they’ll press your order and ship it to you in 1 to 2 weeks. So never rush this job and be at peace with the fact that this is the usual timeline for a good vinyl pressing job.
Submit the required file format.The vinyl company will want your songs in the highest quality possible, so pretty much a WAV or AIFF file, unless you want to take the time to post them a CD. Export them as the highest available quality your software will allow. Make sure you listen to your files before transfer to ensure there are no errors – although Vinyl Factory checked our files before pressing, not all companies are as thorough.You can generally get the files to them via FTP transfer or via a file transfer like SendSpace.com [Source]
Make sure Vinyl artwork is 100% ready. For Vinyl artwork, make sure you follow their template, remove template layers, have images that are not less than 300 dpi, etc. Here’s an article on how to avoid artwork issues.
Save money. Go for base colors. Coloured vinyls can be expensive especially if you have multiple colors or the color that you want is not one of the company’s base colors. If they mix colors, they will charge you for it. Send them your desired color in CMYK and ask them how much they charge for it. If it’s too expensive for your own good, just go for the base colors.
We here at Unified are obsessed with beautiful vinyl packaging. We’ve been making creative releases since 2008 and lovely packaging has become an obsession of ours. We even have a Pinterest page dedicated to all things media packaging. If you want to make a really badass vinyl record with cool vinyl packaging, get a quote or shoot us an email.
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/vinyl and merch company in LA.