Ballroom Dancing

SXSW panels

Ballroom Dancing
Photo by Gary Miller

How to Make Money With Vinyl

Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 18

Grooves are in orbit, but the most pertinent subjects addressed by the panel of waxperts were how long it can last and how big the vinyl bubble will be able to grow. While the panelists posed confidence in its near-term future – a vision of two types of music fans, dichotomized by digital hoarders and record collectors, all at the expense of continued faltering CD sales – they also made clear that there are pressing (pun intended) concerns to be heeded. First is saturation of the market for what had once been a lucrative collectors' niche. More releases from popular acts means less likelihood of multiple editions being as lucrative as in the past, with Sub Pop's Andy Kotowicz pointing out that "part of successfully doing vinyl is knowing when not to do vinyl." Jay Millar of United Record Pressing noted that the manufacturing side is running on 1960s technology and "can't really grow, but just shifts because of the lack of new presses." As for advice to indie bands looking to put out the coveted LP or 7-inch single, Third Man Records' Ben Blackwell offered the best words of caution: "Always underestimate. You can print more records; you can't take them back to the plant."

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