Thursday, February 11, 2010
Earache's selected back catalog to be released for first time on Vinyl.
Question: I know you've addressed similar issues before, but I thought I'd ask a slightly more specific question. How long can labels like Dark Symphonies/The Crypt and Night of the Vinyl Dead keep going by releasing LPs of formerly CD only material? Is this a tenable business model given the rabid collector mentality of so many metal fans? I'm curious since you are currently in the process of filling in the vinyl gaps in the Earache catalog. Thanks, Tim From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer: Yes, we succumbed to the vinyl-fan pressure! Earache is currently in the middle of a wholesale vinyl re-issue campaign, which will last throughout 2010.Actually re-issue is the wrong word as these will be first-time-ever editions on the wax format. Specific titles which somehow never made it onto vinyl, are finally coming out on LP. So we cleverly dubbed it- "Earache: First Time On Vinyl Campaign". Snappy huh? The first releases are Cult of Luna's debut and follow up album. Next we have Morbid Angel "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" and both Iron Monkey albums, and many more great back catalog titles from the Earache vaults which, for one reason or another, were never pressed on vinyl at the time of release.
Interest in vinyl is at an all time high, and I believe its all driven by a renewed interest in the format again.Even myself, a self-professed vinyl hater succumbed. I've actually dusted off and plugged in the trusty old turntable again for the first time in maybe a decade. Mp3 is everywhere and yet so fleeting, ye olde Compaqct disque formate is so mundane and trivial- anyone can burn a disc in a PC in seconds- so fans turn to something more permanent and lasting. To be fair, its also driven by the existance of a thriving collectors market powered by ebay and other internet auction sites.Desperate fans are driving up the value of vinyl to ever more spectacular prices.Its simple supply and demand economics.
A few years back we learned about this because we licenced a few back catalog titles to various small-scale vinyl specialists. Kreation records really blew our minds when they released Sleep and Godflesh under licence in about 2006 or so. They created a frenzy of activity on ebay and collector websites, with prices going sky high for what were revered, but long-defunct acts. I honestly reckon this rabid interest in those vinyl editions help spur both bands to reform within a few years.
As you say, whole new labels now exist to cater to the vinyl fan, specialising in picking up rights for old titles, and issuing them on wax.Even though it costs a lot of upfront costs to press viny, with acetates, stampers, the direct selling to fans more than makes up for the huge outlay involved.I think they hit on a sure-fire way to make a decent profit, as the vinyl-only label has no marketing costs, the band in question is already legendary.Even the detritus from the process - the test pressings and mothers/metallic stampers- can also attract even more bidders. A licence for a classic metal acts vinyl is really a license to print money.
In recent months, Earache has received offers from other labels seeking to license and print on wax up to 50 of our back catalog titles.We declined because we were already planning our own printings, but its obvious that 'Back on Black'(UK) (Plastichead offshoot) and Painkiller (BE) and Relapse records (US) are all agressively entering the vinyl back catalog collectors market.
The labels which originally started the trend, like Night of The Vinyl Dead seem to be reacting to the competition by getting smarter and upping the ante.They put serious care and attention into the re-issues, many are works of art in their own right.On their store I noticed a shaped, fragrance-smelling wax, 500 copies, of Nightwish 'Amaranth'. Obviously designed with the avid collector and completist in mind, -the band sold over half a million Cds on Nuclear Blast in germany alone- its gotta be a must-have purchase.