You’ve probably heard of Vinylize.it by now and you’re probably asking yourself many questions. In this post I will be attempting to address all of your concerns and I will try to explain this new “vinyl records on demand” service.
What is Vinylize.it?
Vinalyze.it is a new startup by QRATES which allows music fans to create real vinyl records from their favorite SoundCloud tracks. The ideas is rather simple (yet genius). This startup bypasses the label and lets you, the fan. choose what really goes on that wax. You login to Vinalyze.it using your SoundCloud account. You go through your favorite tracks from your favorite artists and you add those tracks to your vinyl project. The service then presses the vinyl for you. However, this explanation over simplifies the process just a little.
How Does Vinylize it Work?
Although it sounds like you simply select a few tracks and get a vinyl record shipped to you, this isn’t exactly right. First of all, when you create the vinyl you want – you can’t order it. You start by creating a campaign for the vinyl and then you have to tell other people about it. Other fans must click the “Want” button and once the number of fans reaches 20 people, Vinylize It will try to reach out to the artist (or the artists) that you selected for that project and they will try to explain what’s going on.
In my opinion this is where the start-up hits their first roadblock – they’ll need to persuade the artists that they need it. They will also have to work out some kind of a royalties deal that the artist would agree to. If the artist agrees to go ahead with it, your project now needs to reach 100* pre-orders. As far as I understand this platform is similar to Kickstarter (and many other crowd funding projects). If the project doesn’t reach its minimum threshold of 100 pre-orders the money will be refunded to you. However if the campaign is successful, the record will be pressed and shipped out!
*I’ve seen some projects set at 100 minimum, others at 200 and others at 500. To my understand the higher number of pressings means cheaper pricing, however don’t quote me on that.
What About The Quality?
Many vinyl collectors are very doubtful about the quality of these records since SoundCloud compresses all tracks to MP3-128kbps format. Obviously that wouldn’t be too great of a quality, would it? Surprisingly several online tech magazines also supported this concern without doing any research.
Vinyalize.it explains that they will only press high quality files on vinyl This means that once the artists approves of having their tracked pressed they will have to provide a high quality recording to QRATES. I can’t speculate on what kind of format they are asking for but I’m sure it wouldn’t be 128kbps.
Vinalyze.it Interface Issues
In order to understand the platform better I’ve set up my very first vinyl campaign. You can find it here. The very first issue that comes to mind is sharing this very campaign. It can only be shared on Facebook and Twitter. Why doesn’t Vinylize.it provide a simple link?
Second issue. If you click on that campaign link, you will realize that you see how many tracks are there but you do not actually see which tracks they are. This only on Firefox, the feature works well on Chrome. That’s probably a bug and hopefully will be fixed soon.
Third issue. While creating the project Vinylize.it gives you 3 options: search for tracks, add from “LIKED” or add from Playlist. Although I had all the wanted tracks as “liked” on SoundCloud, they wouldn’t show on the Vinylize.it page. I think this is caused by a slow updating API because at the moment of writing this I can finally see my liked tracks.
Let’s Vinylize It!
The idea of this service seems great. I would certainly love to get some of my favorite tracks pressed on vinyl however this certainly isn’t easy. If you want your product to succeed you’d have to find 19 other people who want to see exactly the same project come to life. At that point you’d have to pray that the artists agrees to it and agrees to promote the project (in order to get 100-200-500 pre-orders). Let’s see how it goes.
P.S. The project I created in in support of one of my favorite Canadian bands. Their unique blend of balkan/gypsy/punk is full of energy and drive and I’d love to have their music on a vinyl record. Please do feel free to “WANT” my project, let’s make it happen 😉