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From The Digital Sweatshop
The Music, Art and Travels of Alan D. Oldham a.k.a. DJ T-1000.

My Thoughts on Vinyl.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Some of you techno fans/DJs need to get used to the idea of no vinyl pressings of certain new tracks anymore. Soon as I put up a link to a new digital release invariably somebody asks "vinyl"?

Let me break it down for you.

Ya'll scream for wax and I spent a LOT of dough putting it out, then it's like yawn, who cares, into back catalogue it goes. $1000 USD all-inclusive for 300 copies, 200 of which sell, 50 of which MIGHT come back as returns (I've been lucky on that score, none have come back). And remember, I come from a dead planet where selling 5000 records was normal. Distro checks are staggered, so you don't get paid all at once. Other bills come in and there goes your vinyl budget. If that's not (Obama-era buzzword) unsustainable I don't know what is. Maybe three people chart it on RA, two of whom are personal friends, which means you have ONE ACTUAL FAN, woohoo. Not to mention peeps wanting you to ship them promos at $10 USD minimum via USPS. I could pay rent or buy clothes or sushi/sake with that money for all the good it does me. You know, LIKE A MIDDLE-CLASS PERSON

Big European (and some American) DJs can afford to lose money on vinyl 'cause they get paid so much to play out. If you make EUR 1500-2000 a gig minimum (OR MORE!!!) and you play four gigs a month (OR MORE!!!), you can afford to spend EUR 1000-1200 per release on making vinyl as a loss-leader/promo (not to mention being able to afford full album covers, etc.; the Marco Carola "Play It Loud" record on Minus had a GATEFOLD SLEEVE for a SINGLE EP! That's just showing off) and you'll get rewarded with sales, chart action/hype on Resident Advisor or Juno--and guess what--more gigs!



(It's festival/Ibiza season in Europe and I'm stuck here in Chicago which tells you all you need to know.)

My (physical) distributor looks at you cross-eyed if you're not KDJ, Theo, OM, or Stones Throw. Don't get me wrong, I love him. He'll sell anything you make, but if you're a white backpack rapper from Minnesota, or a cat making instrumental hip-hop breaks, or you just found a bunch of old reel-to-reel Jamie Principle masters from 1985 in a basement somewhere, prepare for stardom. A black Detroit dude in 2011 who isn't Hood or Mills making a pure techno record?

The last distrib to actually respect my music was Watts or Prime, and we all know a) how long ago that was and b) where they are now.

Even to P&D with a Euro distrib you pay $600-$700 USD per release and they're hounding you for digital rights on top, and all profits (if any) go towards the next release, or against returns, not your pocket, so the idea of making any dough off your own music is out the window.

Then for all that, I go on tour and all the kids and the big-name pro Euro DJs like Christian Smith, Liebing, Beyer, Cox, Kruse, Garnier, etc. are playing off Traktor or Ableton or CDs anyway.

My old ass just made my very first Beatport purchase the other day. Don't look now but we are living in the future. Download the tracks if you want them. They're in all online stores. Burn to CD and play it off a CDJ or even Serato it if you don't want to lose the DJ feel, problem solved.

I love the old vinyl too, but the writing is on the wall for me. Unless you're willing to be my uncredited executive producer (a.k.a. money man) who's in it for the art and doesn't care about losing dough, don't ask me if I'm pressing anymore.

But if you ARE such a guy (or woman!), e-mail me. LOL.

But I won't hold my breath.

-AO :: 3:36 PM ::


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