April 24, 2015
Press records to vinyl with Kickstarter-style crowd-funding site.
Despite the resurgence in vinyl sales, pressing records can be financially risky business for small and independent labels. Hoping to offer a solution to this is Japanese start-up Qrates, which allows artists and labels to use a Kickstarter-style crowd-funding and pre-order system for vinyl releases of 100 copies of more. The record is only pressed to vinyl once the target of pre-orders is reached, meaning labels won’t have to invest any cash upfront.
With prices set by the label or artist, the service hopes to minimise any chance of loss, calculating production costs against possible sales. Qrates have also built in a design tool to choose how the vinyl, sleeve and labels will look and various features to help labels track costs and sales stats. As with Kickstarter, there is a caveat, that Qrates will take 15% on each sale if the funding is successful, but only 10% when back-catalogue records are sold.
It’s not the first time this model has been introduced to insulate record labels from the risks associated with pressing to vinyl. In 2013, Ninja Tune launched Beat Delete for labels to crowd-fund individual reissues from their back catalogues.