I asked a friend who I had the pleasure of working with at United Record Pressing to share the Top 5 Things Not To Do When Creating a Vinyl Project. Jay Millar is owner of Microfiche Records and master of Creative Direction & Catalog Development at Sundazed Music.
- 1- Neglect to communicate what you’re doing. If you’re going to spend the money to make a double LP on 180 gram pink vinyl with a download card inside, spend the teenie bit more for a sticker that communicates those details or don’t do them at all.
- 2- Plan your release party before you have your records in hand. Give yourself more time than your pressing plant tells you and don’t book the venue for your album release party until you actually have the albums in hand. Making vinyl is both a skill and an art and it’s a VERY delicate process. Sometimes regardless of how much effort the people put into it things can still go wrong and cause a delay in your project. It’s like baking but every time the recipe is different, the oven is different and so’s the pan. You have a rough idea how long it will take to bake that cake but you won’t know how many times you’ll burn the cake or make it too doughy until you try. And like a bakery you can’t ask for a soufflé and ask for a rush charge, like the bakery the rush charge doesn’t exist. Just like you wouldn’t start singing “Happy Birthday” until the cake is done, don’t book your release party until you have your records.
- 3- Take a guess at how many vinyl fans you have, or “I sold X number of CDs so must me good for at least Y LPs”. Just Setup a preorder or some way of gauging what the interest is in your album on vinyl. No one wants an attic filled with unsold records. Records and record jackets are like hot dogs and hot dog buns, the quantities don’t always line up. At United the order minimum is 100, but at any standard record jacket printer is 500 for jackets. There’s a huge price break for jackets when you go up to 1000 jackets, but that’s only relevant if you KNOW you can sell more than 500 records. I personally ordered 1000 jackets for a project that sold 200 records. I also ordered 500 jackets for an order that ended up getting around 600 purchases. Do as much research as you can, and don’t guess more than you have to.
- 4- Assume your CD is good enough to be your vinyl master. While in some cases mastering from a CD can turnout fine it’s highly recommended that you get your music mastered for vinyl. CD and LP have a distinctly different sound and range of frequency. If you have to do things on the cheap have them master it for vinyl then use that for the CD rather than using the CD master for the LP. Make sure you submit your source music on the best format you have available. If you have tape, send in tape, if not send in the highest rez digital files you have.
- 5- Say vinyls. The plural of vinyl is vinyl. Records is also acceptable. You will make many people, myself included, cringe if you ever utter something like “I’ve got a lot of vinyls at home in my basement.”
You can see one of Jay’s unique Microfiche projects here: https://vimeo.com/119728863