Hello, fellow young people! I, like you, love vinyl. It offers richer, more realistic (pet) sounds and it is great for lugging from squat house to squat house and for sharing on a portable record player while you enjoy some fine beverages on the front stoop of your Williamsburg duplex. But how can you press your own music onto vinyl with a minimum of (hot) fuss?
A Tokyo-based team has the answer. It’s called Qrates and it’s essentially vinyl on demand. To use it you simply upload your audio, design your label using the team’s online label maker, and then the company presses and delivers your vinyl. It’s so easy it’s almost (smooth) criminal.
Founded by Yong-bo Bae, Jun Komatsu, Greg Gouty, and Taishi Fukuyama, the team has been pressing vinyl in Japan for a few years and has decided to bring their service to the US. They have completed 2,000 projects since April 2015 and are now aiming at musicians who are launching crowdfunded (Roxy) music projects.
“The team was all involved in music at different levels: label management, distribution, retail, etc. We wanted to build an easier solution for people to release their music on vinyl,” said Fukuyama. “First, we wanted to offer the possibility to press very small quantities, ensuring that you have the exact quantity you really need to press, avoiding overstock. In order to keep it valuable we also bring the possibility to sell directly to fans and record stores by deciding the retail and wholesale prices. We also bring professional solutions for mastering and shipping and good pressing turnovers. The project owners can then concentrate on A&R and promotion of their music. This has proven to be a good solution for a lot of people who wanted to release or repress their music on vinyl.”
The team has also made something called Vinylize.it which lets you make a vinyl record from any Soundcloud track. This means you can grab a “public” track, press it onto some cool vinyl, and then spin (doctors) it at your next gig.
It’s a very clever idea and as vinyl increases in artisanal popularity I could definitely see this taking off. Now I just have to dig out my old turntable and (neutral) milk (hotel) crates.