Being a label which has built a strong community around physical vinyl subscriptions over the last decade+, we were put in a rather difficult predicament when facing 2022 – a time when it takes anywhere from 7-14 months to create a traditional vinyl record... Do we fold to the pressures of post-covid life, or do we come up with some other way to keep this community together.
The way we see it, this vinyl clog consists of at least five dimensions of supply chain disruption:
1. Bigger bands who couldn’t tour in 2020 had delayed their album release are now submitting their mammoth volume orders only as quarantine started to ease up.
2. A bunch of smaller independent artists whose income had been dependent on touring up to that point ALSO stayed home and made new albums. This segment includes virtually every working band on the planet, not to mention a bumper crop of new artists who’d leveraged quarantine time to write and produce their debuts.
3. The professional bands from this segment who needed to find a way to replace touring income—most of them—felt additional pressure to put these albums out on vinyl.
4. A random video of a guy skateboarding to work on TikTok catalyzed the re-entry of dinosaur legacy IP conglomerates into the vinyl space constipating the entire global infrastructure of record manufacturing with millions of copies of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, and a bunch of other records that are already so abundant in the bins at record stores and thrift shops all across the world that you could wallpaper your house with them without being disrespectful to history.
5. All of these records hit the presses simultaneously at a moment when pandemic protocols in place at the factories were already slowing down production and—because vinyl manufacturing is actually more of an art than you would think—no skilled workers or machinists who were in a position to resolve or correct this failure of supply could be found.
So, we were faced with a dilemma. And the only idea we had was to rely on our in-house 1940's era lathe-cutting machine to fill the gap. We made a little video of our whole perspective on this thing, which features the perspectives of several of our artists (Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, Cedric Noel, Jess Joy, etc.). Check it out here:
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