To vinyl or not to vinyl

Well no, that is not the question. But, one of the myriad questions that we are dealing with, as we look at physical production of the output of this recording period.

There is a thing called an album. We shall not go into the whys and hows thereof, but: vinyl is back “in”, and therefore we shall have a vinyl LP. Which is 12″ and has two sides. In consideration of audio quality, each side should not have more than 20 minutes of music, ideally even a touch less, and so: that’s the album, at probably 4 songs per side.

(Which 4 songs per which side, that’s another question. Let’s not go into it just now.)

But 8 songs isn’t representative of the actual creative output of the past year, and so: we will also have a CD, with 12 songs, 8 of the album (in the same order) plus 4 more. This is then the core work which will also correspond to the digital distribution, as well as the songs that the band would like to try to play live.

In order for those who buy the vinyl LP to not feel that they miss out, we will either include the CD or a download code. The current preference is for the CD, because it delivers higher quality audio than the average download, and is more versatile, assuming we understand correctly that the cost difference is not great.

The CD will also be packaged by itself for retail, the usual digipak + booklet format that we like.

Then there’s the “deluxe box”. We are still working on the exact contents and configuration for that one, which will somewhat depend on the various component costs: what, exactly, will it cost to press a second vinyl vs. another CD? Will extra media go on a data DVD or USB stick? Questions galore, and we need to get the production pricing and then calculate the potential retail price and then make decisions.

The bad thing about doing everything independently is having to also make all the decisions. If a record label or management team made a particular decision and it turns out to be wrong, one can always blame them for the mistake. Not so much when it’s 100% on us. I can look at the trends and talk to the fans and calculate the margins but in the end: things will sell or not sell.

The other bad thing with being wholly independent is that if something needs to be done, we have to do it ourselves. Which is why you’ll find the husband and I sitting at our dining table, vestiges of breakfast pushed to the other end, looking at lyric translations from our translator and deciding on which variation best gets across the intent of the German original; later we are in our home office, looking at a nicely done super deluxe box from another artist, feeling the heft of the material and talking about the content and the haptics. We are separately on the phone with the graphic designer, or emailing with our vinyl producer, to discuss formats, prices, options, timing.

It is so much work, and for so little potential reward, with physical media falling in demand across the world, even in conservative Germany. Best to not think about that, buried in minutiae as we are.

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