Artist Advice Column: Pressing Your Music To Vinyl Pt. 3
Over the past two weeks, we have been looking at the steps one needs to take to press their music to vinyl. If you have a label who will do all of that for you, wonderful, but for smaller, independent artists, it is good to know what you will have to figure out before making this big investment. We have gone over other considerations like number, cost and timing, in two previous columns, but now we look at other important factors in art, liner notes and storage / shipping.
Next to the actual music, art may be the most important part of a vinyl record. It draws people in when they are digging at record stores. It sets the mood for the entire album. People buy vinyl not just for the actual record, but also for the whole experience of having a beautiful case and the liner notes all in one place.
Make sure whatever design you pick will look good on a vinyl sleeve and have something for the back as well. If you get a special one made for vinyl, go ahead and use that, but don’t make it too dissimilar from what people are familiar with on the web. Art is something worth spending the extra money on because a good design will go a long way. Some people may buy the record just because of the art, even if they aren’t in love with your music. If you can collaborate with a visual artist who has their own work, that is even better since you can create a collector’s item for both sets of fans.
- Liner Notes:
In addition to the art, liner notes are a vital part of the record owning experience. Song credits have become less common in the streaming era. Services are starting to fill in credits for releases, but they can be incomplete, notably outside of major label pop music. This is where you can see who played drums on a song, who made the artwork, or who was the mastering engineer on the album. It is fascinating for fans to pour over this information and see what other work those people have done. You can be creative with the liner notes with fonts, writing styles and colors.
You can also write a special note to your fans in the liner notes or have a guest writer come in and do it. This is your chance to get creative with how you present what is normally pretty straightforward information.
- Storage / Shipping:
This plays off of what we said with cost and number, but it is worth diving into more detail. Unless you have a retailer or service dealing with the storage and shipping of your vinyl, that will be up to you and your team, if you have one. You may have to store your entire order before it can be shipped to fans. That may take up a lot of space in your apartment, or a storage facility. Be prepared for those extra costs, even if it is just taking up half of your bedroom. If storing in another facility, make sure it is suitable for storing vinyl so there aren’t leaks, it isn’t too hot and it isn’t too humid.
Shipping costs need to be considered into your overall pricing plan. Also work out where you are willing to ship your vinyl to because of distance, price and local tariffs / taxes. If you are doing the packaging yourself, make sure the record is protected in cardboard and shipped with care. Damaged vinyl in transit will make customers mad and be a waste of money.