Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Keeping vinyl alive - why?

One question that people keep asking me is ‘Why bother with records, as they are out of date and nobody has record players anymore?’ Since I pressed up 45rpms of two of the songs I recorded in 2008, I ask the same question. As a non record label guru without the machinery to sell and market my product, I now have to think of new ways to sell the remaining vinyl I have in boxes stored in my spare room at home.

I am proud that I bothered to press up singles of Spyder Turners and Pree’s ‘Tell me (crying over you)’ and ‘Suddenly there’s you’. They were new songs that became co – writes with these legends and produced by Dennis Coffey in Detroit/March 2008. I managed to fathom out the digital sales mechanism and have them placed on iTunes and Amazon plus loads of other digital download sites that keep closing down. But getting 45 rpm American large hole vinyl shipped into England would be one hell of a challenge. I finally did it last October. With the help of my wife Michelle, who kindly aided me with the label graphics, the singles were pressed at Archer’s record pressing plant in Detroit and shipped to London via UPS. One of the best ambassadors for UPS is ‘Dave’ the delivery man! I have known him for a couple of years and often taken deliveries in for neighbours when he calls and gets no response from the apartment. I see him in the area almost daily delivering parcels all over the place. I said to him that I was pressing up 45’s and wouldn’t it be strange if he was the delivery man – and he was!

But the question is why did I bother with this gruelling task? I wanted my music on a format that had worth and a little romance. A hard copy is a tangible piece of media that can be produced, played, sold, but it can be seen, felt swapped, exchanged, or whatever. It’s not just about the song, but the notion that you can read the label and capture the spirit of the session, with dates and writing credentials instantly. Plus…you get a ‘B’ side! I could not afford extra tunes, so simply put on the instrumental on the flip side.

I was happy to pursue the pressings as a challenge to replicate what may have happened 40 years ago with other small producers. I have learnt, to make this work, there needs to be a bigger machine in place to be cost effective and even break even. There is one thing I must stress, that if the public want vinyl, they must somehow try and support record shops, who in turn stock the product often laying out funds in advance pending sales. I cannot afford to give credit, I am not a bank. It cost well over £3500 to press up the singles and ship in, so my retail price is not cheap. I figured that with the quality of the songs, musicians on the session, the story etc, the singles would sell and I would at least break even. I was wrong. I need to do more marketing and promotion of the releases and keep the buzz alive. This has been a valuable lesson, but one I will cherish. To see my dreams on a physical 45 rpm record was a thrill when I opened the boxes after delivery. Mission accomplished!! Well nearly…..

The singles are still for sale. See the right hand side of this blog for details. But why not support ‘Funky Feet Records’ who have invested in my releases since last November. Their web address for Spyders track is:


or Pree’s:


By purchasing the vinyl you are supporting the writers (Me, Spyder and Pree) artist (Spyder and Pree), musicians, producers (Dennis and me), investors (me), record pressing plant (Mike Archer), UPS US, the airline, UPS UK (Dave), Funky Feet Records (Mark) the label (Bandtraxs/me), Ready Case (who make the mailers to post the records in), the Post Office, my wife (Michelle) who for a pair of Sketchers trainers, did my art work ha ha!

Listen to the tracks here: www.youtube.com/bandtraxs

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