Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

Studio diary: part 4

Posted on 30 January 2009 Comments

Article illustration for Studio diary: part 4

Today I’m going to ask you a question, and the question is this:

Vinyl?

Or, to give you the question in full explanatory glory, “if the EP download sales go well, I was planning on combining them and releasing them in the physical form of a CD album, but as people will probably just be buying this for the packaging (you’d only rip the tracks to iTunes anyway, right?), then should I release the album on vinyl instead?”

You see, this idea came to me a couple of days ago when I was interviewed by an experimental music website (more on that soon). The interviewer and I were discussing the appeal of packaging, and I said that as most people experience (and almost always obtain) music in a file-based format, the only point in buying a physical release would be if the packaging was absolutely gorgeous. If I do release a physical version of the combined EPs (which will also be bundled with extra tracks), I’ve already promised that the packaging will be lovely. But how many of you would play the CD? I’m guessing that you’re far more likely to simply rip the tracks to your hard drive as MP3s and play the album from there.

So… if I released the album on vinyl – arguably the most luxurious format for lush packaging – it’s unlikely that most of you would be able to play it (even I don’t have a vinyl player), but would that matter, in light of my guesses above? If it would essentially be a purchase for the packaging (as well as the limited edition feel of it), then I think I might as well release the album on vinyl and bundle a free download of the extra tracks (in MP3 format) for anyone who buys it. What do you think?

Of course, using vinyl is not without its repercussions. To start with, it’s much more expensive to produce, and as such I’d probably have to charge more for it than I’d like just to cover the manufacturing costs. Also, the run would probably have to be a lot smaller; perhaps limited to 250 or 500 or something. But then maybe that’d be a good thing, as it’d be more of a collector’s piece. Some people might suggest a vinyl and a CD version, but I think that’s a bit excessive.

Right now, I don’t know if the idea of a vinyl release is just ludicrous – I’m just throwing it out there. It could be that my guesses about your music acquiring / playing habits could be completely wrong. So, in order to plan for the best possible direction, please give me your feedback! I’d love to hear what you think of the idea. Ultimately, you’ll be the ones buying it, so it’d probably be good to know how much you’d be prepared to pay the vinyl format.

(By the way, I just want to say thanks so much to all of you left such kind feedback about the preview medley. I was completely overwhelmed by your response and I really appreciate you all giving the music a try!)

Photo credit: I will choose Freewill by Drewski2112

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