I’m going to attempt to answer some of the questions that came up during my video about Bandcamp’s Vinyl Service so stick around if that sounds like fun..
Just before we delve into the questions let’s tae a quick look at how the launch campaigns are doing.
- The Ancestral Recall campaign which was last week at 30% is now funded at 108%.
- The Constellation campaign which was last week at 15% is now at 80%.
- The Ghost Condensate campaign which I didn’t note last week’s percentage, (sorry) is at 108%.
- The Below (Original Soundtrack) which was last week at 36% is now at 79%.
So, all doing well! I’d say take that with a pinch of salt. There’s a lot of eyes (and ears) funnelling through to these four launch campaigns.
Let’s move onto some questions!
1. How is Bandcamp Handling the Vinyl Pressing?
I’ve done a little digging around and found that Bandcamp have partnered with ‘Pirates Press’, who are based in California.
On their own website they state:
“PIRATES PRESS is truly the best source in the industry for independent musicians, artists and entrepreneurs looking to learn how to manufacture top quality media, merchandise and promotional tools without having to pay top dollar for them.”
And here’s a snippet from a recent interview with them that pretty much shows their range of work.
“Pirates Press has worked with major labels like Warner Brothers and Sony to press records for everyone from Madonna to Tegan & Sara. But the bulk of their projects are for punk and metal bands. [source]
They’re very much a design focused company going by what they say in this interview. That’s quite promising and provides a bit of scope later on if we were to make slightly more avant-garde design requests.
I suppose that’d be up to Bandcamp as for now I guess they’re just after streamlining the process, keeping it simple. Either way, they seem to know their way around designs.
On the template section of their website you can have a look at how designs are submitted, so I’m presuming it’s going to be something similar integrated with Bandcamp.
Pirates Press handle the designs, but they don’t actually handle the vinyl pressing themselves. They do that through GZ, a pressing factory based in the Czech Republic.
Now I’ve come across this factory before when I’ve done some research into getting my own vinyl made. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them over the years so this is pretty good news.
So, all in all, this looks like a good fit for Bandcamp.
2. How Many Records Do You Need to Sell?
Right now, we don’t know for sure what the minimum amount of records is you need to sell to secure a campaign. To make a guestimate though, going from the launch campaigns, it looks like just 200.
We can arrive at that number as the successful campaigns have around that many pledgers.
That’s actual quite a lot lower than I expected and hopefully more achievable for a lot of us DIY musicians to aim for compared to the normal stack of 500 to 1000 from other outlets.
Price-wise, again we don’t know if you can set a minimum, but all of the launch campaigns start at around $25 – 50.
This doesn’t include the postage which is worked out separately like other physical sales on the site.
An interesting point is that the customer will be charged for the digital album initially and then charged the rest only when the campaign ends, presumably only when successful.
I like this feature as it seems you won’t completely lose out if the campaign isn’t successful, you’ll still have those digital sales. We’ll have to wait for confirmation on that though.
Judging by the dates shown on the launch campaigns, turnaround time seems to be about 2 months after a one-month successful campaign.
3. What is Bandcamp’s Cut?
Currently Bandcamp take 15% from digital sales and 10% from physical sales.
With them handling most of the work regarding vinyl as in dealing with Pirates Press to make it, as well as store it and post it, will we be seeing a percentage hike here?
It’s safe to say yes otherwise is it really worth Bandcamp’s time to do this?
Think about it, if they continue to take just 10% off a minimum of 200 sales (which we projected earlier) at say $30 a pop, then that’s $600 dollars profit. This can’t be much after their overheads? We will see.
Obviously at this moment of time we won’t know all of the details yet as not much is confirmed. Plus, they’re all subject to change anyway. These launch campaigns are pretty much Bandcamp’s guinea pigs for this new service.
What we do know is that it doesn’t just seem to be only US based, so great news for us all (presumably).
I suppose the main question for us is whether or not this service will be worth it, going by the information we do have.
For me, the convenience of it is pretty much the deciding factor. I’ve always had issues looking into sorting vinyl out and if you only have to sell 200 units? That’s something to aim for and better than having a stack in the corner I’d never sell.
I’ll keep a close eye on this one. I’m very intrigued to see how it goes.