Bandcamp is gearing up for a wider release of its vinyl pressing service — giving indie artists more access to one of the few growing physical music formats in a digital-heavy marketplace. Bandcamp launched its pilot program for the pressing service last year, and on Thursday, the company opened up access to 10,000 more artists, noting that it will continue a wider rollout to more artists throughout 2021.
The new service could be a significant development for independent musicians looking to sell vinyl records but unable to afford it. With only a few vinyl plants in operation across the world, vinyl pressing costs can be too large an expense for many DIY artists. But vinyl is the one legacy medium that has actually grown in the streaming era — and as CD sales consistently dropped in the last decade, vinyl actually outsold CD purchases during the first half of last year in the U.S., according to a report from RIAA. Vinyl sales revenue totaled $232 million in the first half of last year, representing 62% of all physical product sales.
While Bandcamp sold 2 million vinyl records on their site last year — double the vinyl sales from 2019 — only 12% of releases on the site had a vinyl option, the company said. In its new program, rather than having artists and their teams fund the pressing, Bandcamp said fans’ direct purchases will cover the expenses. Artists can set whichever price they’d like for their vinyl records. Through its pilot program of 50 artist projects last year, Bandcamp sold 13,000 records to customers in 65 countries, the company said.
Outside of vinyl, Bandcamp announced at the end of last year that its popular Bandcamp Fridays — in which it waives its full revenue share of sales on select days to help artists get more cash during the pandemic — will continue in 2021.