The vinyl resurgence just got a supply-side boost.
The US-based domestic demand for vinyl records hit an all-time high in 1986, falling just short of hitting the one-billion-dollar mark in annual sales. The demand for vinyl records dropped dramatically until 1992, with sales tanking at roughly $24 million.
Beginning in 2007, the United States’ music market’s need for vinyl records began to rise, starting at roughly $30 million in annual sales and ending up above $400 million in annual sales as recently as 2015.
The demand hasn’t stopped growing since 2015.
Now, one of the largest sales platforms for unsigned artists is giving the format a jolt.
Bandcamp, a platform that musicians use to pump out content, manage their interactions with fanbases, and evaluate relevant statistics, is prepping a major push into vinyl manufacturing. Bandcamp already allows artists to release in a wide range of configurations, though albums are typically the most lucrative. And within the album revenue-making hierarchy, vinyl LPs easily outperform rival formats.
Ahead of its vinyl push, Bandcamp reports that just nine percent of all music albums offered for sale in the United States carried copies imprinted on vinyl records. Bandcamp also lamented that vinyl runs are oftentimes limited, thanks to the complications of pressing copies.
But the format is growing overall, and Bandcamp’s clientele obviously wants more. “Sales of vinyl records on Bandcamp have grown 600% in the last five years, and every month another 3,500 unique vinyl albums are added to the site,” the company shared.
“The format’s resurgence—once dismissed as a niche byproduct of hipster affectation—is now firmly established, and seen for what it truly represents: a mainstream desire to connect more deeply with music, free from digital distractions; an important expression of fandom that was mostly lost in the transition from physical media ownership to unlimited music rental; and a growing appreciation for what is often amazing, collectible art.”
Here’s how the program will work.
Musicians on Bandcamp can offer vinyl-pressed music to fans, though a certain number of consumers must commit to buying them before manufacturing starts. After artists hit the necessary number of orders for vinyl versions of their work, Bandcamp ships them to customers, takes a small cut, and forwards the rest to artists.
Already, the company has pushed out a few pilot pressings (see above), though full-blown production will commence later this year.