If you’d like to skip the editorial and go straight to the announcement, scroll down until you see a horizontal line. The pertinent info will be below.
I have been an obsessive music collector for as long as I can remember. One of the first editorials on flowsfordays described my introduction to hip hop music. In summary, my brother introduced me to LimeWire, downloading Get Rich Or Die Tryin,’ countless Lil’ Wayne mixtapes, and even r&b tracks from the likes of Tyrese, Ginuwine, and R. Kelly.
Before my formal education, I gravitated towards alternative + indie rock. Every Sunday my mom would drive me to Borders, where I’d immediately headed to the CD section. In the early 2000’s CD’s generated over 13 billions dollars a year, so the racks were numerous, and always completely full. I was not familiar with these albums, and surprisingly it made me feel safe. There was a sense of unlimited discovery.
Hours were spent going through the racks, starting with A, and then going to Z. At the time Borders had stations where you could scan the barcode of an album and listen to it in full. I pushed myself to only listen to track 1, (unless it was an intro) and if it appealed to me, I would buy it. Other factors did come into play when deciding, such as cover art and the year of the release. I would often start with the artist or band’s debut to get a formal introduction to their music.
My mom and dad supported my interest in music from the start. They saw how much happier I was when I listened to music. I had just been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, and it gave us all a sigh of relief.
Every week my collection grew, and and the stacks became piled. I popped each album into my CD player as soon as I got home, getting lost in the music. I received my first iPod around 2005, and found a new thrill in burning the albums to iTunes, and then adding them to the device.
My obsession only grew. I transferred to Columbia College of Chicago in 2011, and immediately discovered Reckless Records. I went there almost every week, and only bought CD’s. After a year I took an interest in the vinyl section of the store. That very day I decided to purchase a record although I had no turntable.
My first purchase was Sleigh Bell’s debut album Treats, which I still own to this day. It has become one of my favorite LP’s of all time, and just for good measure, I bought another copy this year.
Soon afterwards I bought a record player. Unfortunately it was a Crosley, one of the worst turntables you can buy. I quickly upgraded, and even got bass heavy speakers to connect to the player.
Some facts about vinyl:
In 2017 vinyl sales hit a 25 year high.
For the week of Record Store Day (ending April 27), album sales in independent music shops increased by 197% compared to the week previous. For vinyl specifically, the increase (from 2016) is a whopping 484% which equates to 409,000 albums on vinyl sold. Cassettes have made a comeback as well, with a 74% increase in sales in 2016.
The best platform for independent artist’s, without question, is bandcamp.com Anyone can sign up and easily sell their albums. They also have the ability to sell physical copies, whether it be CD’s, records, cassettes, and even apparel.
Every aspect of Bandcamp’s business was up in 2016. Digital album sales grew 20%, tracks 23%, and merch 34%. Growth in physical sales was led by vinyl, which was up 48%, and further boosted by CDs (up 14%) and cassettes (up 58%). Every single one of these numbers represents an acceleration over last year’s growth. Hundreds of thousands of artists joined Bandcamp in 2016, more than 2,000 independent labels came on board (like Dischord, Merge, and Dualtone), and the rate of fan signups tripled. Fans have now paid artists nearly $200 million using Bandcamp, and they buy a record every three seconds, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you’ve read this far, I thank you, and I know it will be worth your time. We are announcing the start of a new series (title TBA.)
Artist’s will now be able to promote their merch through us. You will get a lengthy post, including HD photos of the packaging, a review of the album and links to purchase and support your music. The only requirement is for the actual merch to be sent to us through the mail. Once we receive it, the post will be up within the next 3 days.
Although vinyl and cassette sales have rapidly increased, not everyone is aware of the medium or that artist’s are working hard to put it all together. With over 2.8K Twitter followers, we have a wide reach, and will be tweeting these posts as soon as they are published.
If you’d like to participate in this series or learn more, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to put “physical merch” in the subject line. I will get back to everyone within the day, and we can talk about the next steps.
Please spread the word, and if you know someone who might be interested, tell them to tweet me at @flowsfordays_.
Thank you for all of the support…we only wish to give it back.