With vinyl sales on the rise, this startup lets anyone press their own LP

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We often talk about the lost magic of owning a physical thing , whether that’s books, CDs, or the wondrous black slab of plastic that is the vinyl record. Holding that object in your hand, flicking through its dog-eared pages and admiring its intricately crafted artwork, imparts a sense of ownership that you just can’t replicate with a Kindle or a convenient subscription to Spotify. The trouble is, making physical objects is hard , not to mention expensive. That’s especially true of the vinyl record, where pressing plants aren’t exactly ten a penny. And yet, despite the high cost of manufacturing and end price to the consumer, vinyl sales are very much on the up. According to Nielsen , vinyl album sales in the US have grown an impressive 260 percent since 2009, reaching 9.2 million units last year, while in the UK sales reached a 20-year high of 1.29 million in 2014 . Of course, these numbers are but a tiny fraction of music sales as a whole, but—regardless of whether it’s customers chasing that creamy analogue sound, or there are just a lot more hipsters around these days—there’s a demand to be satisfied. But if you’re not a big record label with deep pockets, getting the capital together to produce a run of vinyl is tricky. Even if you do raise the cash, how do you decide how many to make? Too few and people are left wanting; too many and you’re left with stock you can’t sell. It’s a problem that the recently launched Qrates  is hoping to solve. Qrates is an intriguing mix of the old and the new, consisting of a vinyl pressing service, a crowdfunding system, and a digital store all rolled into one. Using the site’s online tool, you can upload your music, design the label and sleeve, choose your preferred playing speed (33 or 45), the weight and colour of the actual record, and how many you’d like (there’s currently a nice low minimum order of 100). Qrates gives you an estimated cost, and then works with a regional pressing plant to fulfil your order. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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With vinyl sales on the rise, this startup lets anyone press their own LP

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