Bandcamp has opened up its vinyl pressing service to independent artists.

Bandcamp plans to offer the service to more artists throughout the year.
The feature will make the expensive process of producing vinyl more accessible to smaller artists. The initiative is being offered alongside monthly Bandcamp Fridays, where the company waives its cut of sales on the first Friday of each month through to May 2021.

Bandcamp first rolled out a pilot programme allowing artists to sell vinyl through an in-house pressing service in 2019. Through crowdfunding campaigns financed by customer orders, artists could sell vinyl produced and shipped by Bandcamp.

“We’re now ready to offer vinyl pressing to the wider Bandcamp community and have just enabled and sent invites to 10 000 of you,” Bandcamp co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond said. “We’ll make the service available to many more artists over the remainder of 2021 and look forward to helping you bring your vinyl project to life.”

Artists and labels can create a campaign comprising a minimum run of 250 records, including cover for the expenses of vinyl mastering and package design. The vinyl-pressing process is as follows: Users can choose a release for vinyl, and select the tracklist and design. Artists then confirm the campaign goal, demonstrating how to fulfil the minimum run of 250 copies, and set the pledge levels for buyers. They can then launch the campaign, which runs for 30 days, and upon its success submit masters and printer-ready art.

If the goal is reached, Bandcamp will immediately coordinate production, ship the records to fans and handle customer support. The company will take a 15% cut of every pledge from fans, but artists will maintain full ownership, and control over the design and pricing of the record. Artists can also use the service to finance an existing digital-only release to vinyl or repress a sold-out record.

Growth in vinyl sales have been on the rise for 15 consecutive years, with more than 27 million units sold in 2020, a 46.2% increase compared to 2019. Bandcamp says more than 2 million vinyl LPs were purchased last year, which represented twice as much as the units sold in the previous year.

The service could be seen as a positive development for independent artists in Africa, who have to pay exorbitant postage prices to send their products to the rest of the world.