Published Apr 24, 2015The vinyl market is booming, but it remains hard for independent artists to get in on the game due to the prohibitively high prices and the difficulty to press records in small runs. Luckily, a new company called QRATES is seeking to change this by allowing bands to fund small-batch vinyl pressings with a pre-order system.
QRATES works a little bit like Kickstarter in that bands can run a campaign to sell pre-order copies of an album. The pressing doesn't start until the pre-order campaign is done; if the band don't sell enough pre-orders, the records are never made and no money changes hands.
This is an attractive prospect for indie bands because it's possible to press records in runs as limited as 100 copies. (Typically, vinyl runs start at 300 or 500.) It also guarantees that there will be no leftover records that bands can't sell, since the entire things works on a pre-order system.
Of course, it's also possible for bands to set up a campaign and buy up some or all of the pre-orders themselves, then sell the copies in a more traditional manner.
Users can design the record and sleeve right within the QRATES website (yes, coloured vinyl options are available). It's also possible to promote the album through streams and downloads, and merch items can be sold along with the vinyl. Bands can sell back catalogue records through their QRATES online store as well.
The service launched this month and can be used now. It's based in Japan, but it is also available internationally (although the shipping prices to Canada aren't cheap). Check out QRATES here.