Bandcamp’s vinyl pressing service is a low-risk, hassle-free way to get your music pressed to vinyl. It gives you all the customizations you could ever want – vinyl colors, weights, jacket styles, and more — but instead of you putting up cash for the pressing yourself, your fans fund it via a crowdfunding campaign.
You don’t even need vinyl-mastered audio or print-ready art until the campaign succeeds – in fact, you can use the campaign to help generate funds for that too.
We assign you a dedicated vinyl support representative to help you in the different stages of your project – a real, live human here at Bandcamp who can advise you on the design of your record and jacket, how to set up your crowdfunding campaign, and how best to promote it. This same person will guide the record through all the different stages of manufacturing, they will coordinate fulfilment of the records, and they will make sure you receive the profits your campaign earns in a timely way.
Bandcamp handles all shipping, handling, postage, and customer support, including sending out replacements for lost or damaged orders.
When does it make sense to use Bandcamp’s vinyl pressing service?
We designed the pressing service for artists who:
- want to press an album to vinyl but don’t want to spend money out-of-pocket
- don’t want the hassle of managing production and fulfillment
- don’t want to risk pressing too many (or too few) records.
More than 30 artists have used the service so far, and more than 75% of those artists have run successful campaigns. Some used the service to press vinyl for the first time, and didn’t want to risk spending their own money on a vinyl pressing. Others had pressed vinyl on their own before and wanted to use our service to minimize their risks, or to avoid the hassles associated with producing and shipping vinyl LPs, or both.
What do you do? What does Bandcamp do?
To run a vinyl campaign on Bandcamp, you will need to design your physical album, set up some irresistible pledge levels, promote your campaign via every means at your disposal, and, if your campaign succeeds, supply the artwork and the audio.
Bandcamp will do the rest. We provide a customizable campaign page where your fans can pledge, offer built in messaging tools to help you reach your followers on Bandcamp, process payments, manage the production process, get you the test pressings for approval, and mail your records out to pledgers. We also take care of all customer support issues: expired credit cards, changes of shipping address, missing orders, replacements, you name it. And if there’s a profit, we make sure you get paid.
Are the production costs for Bandcamp vinyl campaigns competitive with other services?
Yes. We work with a respected broker and pressing plant and have very competitive per-unit costs, particularly for the quality of the work that’s produced. But our goal isn’t to provide the absolute lowest production cost or per-unit cost on the market, and it’s possible you’ll be able to get quotes with lower costs from your existing broker or press.
If you have a relationship with a press or manufacturer that you are happy with, if you don’t mind putting up the money for the pressing ahead of time, and if you don’t mind handling the fulfillment of records and customer support yourself, you might want to continue using your existing service. It is not our intention to compete against small pressing services — we want them to succeed.
However, if you don't want to pay for the pressing out of your own pocket, take the risk of pressing too many (or too few) records, or deal with the hassle of storage and fulfillment, Bandcamp’s pressing service might be a good option for you.
From start to finish, how does it work? What is required of the artist, and when?
A typical campaign, from drafting it to getting records into the hands of fans, takes between 100 and 120 days. There are some things you can do to speed this up, but that's the timeline we've seen so far. To start, you need to have at least one album on Bandcamp, with download-quality audio and web-quality album art You cannot launch a campaign for an album that already has vinyl release for sale. You do NOT need vinyl-mastered audio and print-quality art to start a campaign.
Vinyl campaigns for pre-orders are fine too — several artists have run successful vinyl campaigns in tandem with a digital pre-order.
Setting up the campaign
If the service is enabled for your account, you’ll find a new page which we call the “campaign editor”. (Details on that in a sec.) This is where you go to design the different parts of your campaign:
- the physical specs of your album
- the financial details such as goals, pledge levels, and pricing
- the project’s description and the appearance of your campaign page, which is a webpage similar to other Bandcamp pages and where fans will go to make pledges.
If you just want to jump in:
- Go to your +add menu and click vinyl campaign. (If you don’t see this menu, the feature hasn’t been enabled for your account. We are rolling it out slowly. If you have a project you think can have a successful campaign please send us a message here and tell us about it.)
- Select the album you want to press.
- This will open the Edit vinyl campaign page, where you can design the three things we just mentioned:
- the physical specifications of the vinyl album: size, color, jacket style, etc
- the financial goals of the campaign and your different pledge tiers
- a compelling description or story for your fans to read on your campaign page, and any compelling artwork
When you're finished editing and setting up your campaign, submit it to Bandcamp for review. Your dedicated vinyl support representative will go over everything to make sure it all makes sense. If we have recommendations, we will notify you by email, and you can make corrections to the campaign and resubmit. The review process takes about a week.
Once your campaign has been reviewed and approved by Bandcamp, you can publish your campaign. When you click the publish button, your campaign page will be visible to the public and we will automatically notify your fans and followers that you’ve launched a campaign.
Your campaign will run for thirty days. While it’s running, we strongly recommend you promote it on every social media platform you use. Let your fans on all your socials know about your campaign and that you need their support: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, TikTok — any place that you have an enthusiastic following is sure to be helpful. You can also message your fans and followers on Bandcamp via the “updates” tab on your campaign page.
We have found that most pledging happens on the first few days of a campaign and on the last few days. Promote it on the first day after your campaign goes live, weekly after that, and multiple times during the last week.
Ways Campaigns Can Succeed
While each vinyl campaign is different, there are three pretty common or typical ways campaigns can reach or exceed their goal:
- Some campaigns are fully-funded in a matter of days. Each campaign lasts 30 days though, and pledgers can and will continue to pledge throughout the duration of your campaign. In fact, most of the campaigns that have succeeded early on continued to build momentum during their 30-day campaign period and ultimately raised 3-5 times their minimum goal. We will produce as many records as there are pledgers, and the more pledgers you get the more profit you’re likely to make. So even if your campaign is over 100% funded, we recommend you continue to let your fans know about your campaign, and invite them to pledge. You’ll be (pleasantly) surprised how many will want to hop on the bandwagon and support you after you have hit or surpassed your campaign goal.
- Other artists reach their minimum goal toward the end of their campaign (many on the last day).. Nail-biters like these are perfectly normal. These campaigns are often funded with fewer than 240 pledges; in fact, many succeed with just 130-150 pledges. Regardless of how many pledges it takes to succeed, you’ll have the best chances of getting to 100% if you let your fans know about your campaign and encourage them to pledge, repeatedly. You can do that without coming across as a spammer. Just be your smart and charming self and remember that the last 3-4 days of your campaign are as important and as active as the first 3-4 days.
- Finally, a few campaigns get over 50% funded, but don’t reach 100% by the time the campaign ends. When this happens, artists often choose to “fill the gap” with a single pledge of their own to ensure the campaign succeeds. Not only is this a completely viable way for you to get help funding the production of a run of records, it also still provides many of the benefits of a vinyl campaign – fewer risks and reduced-out-of-pocket costs and less hassle with production and fulfillment. If you do pledge to your own campaign, you will want to do it in coordination with your vinyl support representative. Timing matters (you don’t want to miss the window), and we can help you decide if this is a cost-effective option.
If you don’t get 100% funded and you decide against funding it yourself, your pledgers will get a nice note that things didn’t work out and their pledges will be cancelled, and you can try again some other time.
You will profit if your campaign is funded at more than 100%. Once you are over the goal, the more people who pledge, the more profit you'll generate. If your campaign succeeds, we charge the pledgers and send you payment via PayPal, usually ten or so days after the campaign closes.
Higher pledge levels are one of the defining features of Bandcamp’s vinyl pressing service. These allow you to raise much more money than simply by selling records. Your creativity is key here, though there are a couple of things we can help you with, like autographed test pressings and specialty printed material. Another successful and fun premium tier is printing supporters names along with a word of thanks right on the album jacket.
Let’s say your campaign is 100% funded. That's great! Now what do you do?
You'll want to give some warm words of thanks to the fans. Then you should start getting your production quality audio and art assets ready. We strongly recommend having your audio mastered for vinyl, and we also recommend that you employ the services of a graphic designer for your jacket art, center labels, and any other printed material (like liners or inserts).
A member of the vinyl support team will get in touch with you immediately upon your campaign’s success to help coordinate submission of these things.
The pressing plant will run quality checks on your audio and then forward you test pressings to listen to and approve, usually within two or three weeks of submitting the audio. (These pressings are yours to keep, by the way. You can even order a few extra as rewards for your higher pledge levels.) If you haven’t approved test pressings before, your vinyl support representative will guide you through the process.
The plant will also run quality checks on the art you submit and generate proofs in the form of PDFs. You’ll want to review these art proofs carefully and make sure that everything is just right.
Full Production Go-ahead
Once you’ve approved both the test pressings and art proofs, we give the full production go-ahead, which means getting the project onto the plant’s production schedule and getting you an ETA for the press date. At this point, we will also start collecting any rewards that get fulfilled with the higher pledge tiers.
We will email your fans to update them with a delivery estimate as soon as we have the production ETA, and we’ll also remind them to make sure their shipping addresses are up to date.
A few days after the press date, your records will be shipped to our fulfillment centers in Oakland, CA and London. As soon as they arrive at our fulfillment centers, we’ll mail the vinyl records (and other items they might get with their pledge level) to individual pledgers, using our beautifully designed, protective mailers. We also have all extra copies sent to you.
The pledgers’ records are in the mail. The extra copies are on their way to you. Enjoy knowing your best fans have your music on vinyl! And if pledgers contact you with questions or concerns about the campaign, please just send them on to us.