Check out this very interesting piece that appeared in Groove Magazine
in February. Sorry, it's all in German. But if you have been to Germany and drove in a car, for example while touring, you know what Stau or Vinylstau
article deals with "Techno in the times of a vinyl comeback" and analyses the current state of affairs, especially major labels reissuing back titles on
vinyl like crazy. The article's angle is from a small techno label’s point of view. I think
the analysis is really spot-on, and the discussion below is interesting,
too. I agree with most points being made.
that in the 90s, the few remaining vinyl pressing plants survived to a large
extent because of techno – or dance vinyl maxis in general. They had a
considerable volume of 12” and pretty decent vinyl runs. In this environment,
small punk vinyl labels like HeartFirst could get their releases done efficiently
– at good quality and fair prices within a reasonable time. So it was mainly
dance music and indie labels that kept the pressing plants in operation in the 90s. Besides
cross-financing by CD production I guess.
mastering studios were keeping busy cutting dance vinyl, or even dubplates. Generally, it makes little
difference if you produce a small run of vinyl, of 100 or 5000 – you need to cut a lacquer as the first step of the production process. I remember
going to my mastering studio in the 90s (Studio-Nord-Bremen) and the last client before me had been the rather famous DJ
We have come a long way since these days,
and most dance DJs have switched from vinyl to digital. The much commented Laptop DJ, in private circles even the dreaded Youtube DJ. But some techno labels today still
want to release vinyl because they stick to their roots.
magazine article points out:
only the most dedicated techno underground labels are still doing vinyl
are competing with the majors for pressing plant capacities for their reissues
print runs for techno vinyl are way down – the same as for most punk vinyl
sound quality of record pressing has gone down, or is, at best, much less predictable
delivery times, even for small press runs, is extremely long – three months is
no exception, sometimes more if it is around Record Store Day or Christmas
So I guess the harsh market realities for small labels today are the same, independent of musical genre. And all this in the times of the much commented "vinyl comeback".
Labels: dubplates, punk vinyl, record pressing, record pressing plants, techno, vinyl