Not so long ago, music on vinyl looked set to go the way of the audio cassette tape. But, despite an overall dip in first half year physical album sales in the US, the latest figures show that vinyl is bouncing back. Unsigned artists, part-time musicians or karaoke champions wanting to ride the new vinyl wave could invest in a desktop cutter like the crowdfunded (but yet-to-be-shipped) DRC for limited production runs, but a new service launched in the Netherlands earlier this year caters for custom groove creations instore. Now Vinylify has launched a streamlined web portal and opened its doors to international orders.
Rattling off a bunch of vinyl albums, singles or EPs can be troublesome and expensive for artists not backed by record company dollars. Since many commercial cutting facilities require large orders to be placed, you can pretty much shelve your strictly limited run or promotional vinyl releases. And as for that special one-off birthday gift of the local gospel church belting out birthday wishes for your loved on – forget about it.
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Amsterdam-based startup Vinylify set its sights on making vinyl even more accessible, particularly to a generation with its ears in the cloud. The company started by partnering with a "well-known beer brand" on a marketing campaign and received much interest in its custom vinyl cutting service after the campaign ended. Identifying a clear demand, the Vinylifyers began working with artists and labels to build up a catalog of tunes, to give customers the chance to create their very own mixtapes ... on vinyl.
The Vinylify vinyl on demand service started in April 2015, and the company has just recently refreshed its web portal for orders from outside the Netherlands. Before customers can spin their personalized records on the turntable platter though, they'll need to spend a little time with the company's online creation tool and either upload their own tracks or choose from an online catalog.
Each 33 1/3 RPM record has the capacity for 10 minutes of music on each side, and the music uploader accepts high quality digital files, including FLAC and WAV, as well as lossy MP3. The higher the quality of the source music, the better the results on vinyl.
After hitting the templates to design some custom cover art, and parting with €50 (about US$55) per record, the folks at the Amsterdam store can get to work cutting the vinyl by hand, pressing the covers and shipping out the finished records.
At the moment, the service only cuts 10-inch records. The company's Jade Drake told us that this is for purely practical reasons as this allows Vinylify orders to fit through most letterboxes. He did tell us that other sizes may be considered if there is sufficient demand.
Each Vinylify record takes around 3 weeks to produce, with shipping to the US via Post NL adding another 3-6 days onto that timeframe.
You can see some custom vinyl cutting action in the video below.