How to Release Music on Vinyl ft. Jenn D’Eugenio (Women in Vinyl, Gold Rush Vinyl) – The Label Machine Podcast Ep. 21

On this episode Nick sits down with Jenn D'Eugenio, Sales and Marketing Manager at Austin, Texas-based Gold Rush Vinyl and Founder of the non-profit Women in Vinyl. With a background in textile design for Fortune 500 companies, Jenn is now pursuing a music industry career where she can fully embrace her passion for vinyl as part of one of the only two woman-owned vinyl pressing plants in the US. Through her non-profit, Jenn is empowering women and minorities all over the world on how they get started in the music industry and how they can use vinyl records - a medium that has been quickly reemerging as of late - to stand out from the crowd and leave their mark on the music world.

Join us for about an hour-long discussion on vinyl pressing, physical distribution, consumer trends, music marketing and much more.

NICK SADLER: Today's guest is Jenn d’Eugenio. Jenn is the founder and curator of Women in Vinyl, which, to quote their mission statement is “empowering women female identifying non-binary, LGBTQ+, BIPOC and otherwise marginalized humans working in the industry to create, preserve and improve the art of music on vinyl.” A vinyl enthusiast for over 20 years with a background spanning textile design for Fortune 500 fashion companies, Jenn is also the sales and marketing manager at Gold Rush Vinyl in Austin, Texas. And through that role, she talks to labels all day long about vinyl. Jenn, how are you today?

JENN D'EUGENIO: Doing good. Thanks for having me.

NS: Awesome. Yes. Yeah. I was fully stoked when I found out. You talk to labels all day long. So yeah, really excited to have you on here today. So first things first, Can you talk about how you got started in the industry up to where you are now?

JDE: Yeah. So like you mentioned, I used to design kids clothes. I have always loved music and collected records, but I never knew where there was a spot for me in the industry. And so in 2018, after being a career advisor, working in fashion furnace record pressing in Northern Virginia, opened a pressing plant. And that's actually where I grew up.

And my husband was already working at a pressing plant in Nashville. And so the opportunity for both of us to sort of get our feet wet as a record pressing plant was opening up, sounded like a really great opportunity. And so we moved to Virginia and started working at Furnace. And it was really amazing to see, you know, how records are made, talk to labels about the entire process, what their end goal was.

But it ended up being a perfect fit of sort of incorporating my design, my advising, and then my love for records all in one.

NS: So, like, how many and how many years ago was how many years ago was that just for context, on how the industry has changed.

JDE: About five years ago.

NS: About five years ago. Okay. So you sort of you've and I'd say from then you're probably would you say that more and more vinyl was being manufactured?

JDE: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, when we started, it was a few machines, getting their machines referred. We were definitely looking for business. And I don't mean that in a negative way towards Furnace or any plant, but like, we definitely were having to call people, try to get people to press records, and now it's completely different. Now there's so much business, you know, you need to be planning for next year in most cases.

NS: Wow. Long, long queues, then.

JDE: Yes.

NS: So starting with Women in Vinyl, what is the like? What's your main activities that you do on the platform or that you do around the movement?

JDE: Yeah. So, you know, like I mentioned, I didn't know how I was going to get into this industry. There weren't career paths that were obvious. Your career advisor wasn't like, “How about you make records?” So we want to create a place for people to find those opportunities to empower women and other minority groups, to see people like themselves in this industry in order to find a way here on purpose and not by chance.

Because that's the thing that I found the most common was that so many people just stumbled into this industry, including myself. And so we want to raise funds to provide scholarship opportunities. Sorry, my cat… But yeah, we want to provide scholarship opportunities and funds for people to get started here and really grow and expand this industry because a lot is being done the same way it always has been.

NS: So and when you're talking about expand this industry, talking in particular about the vinyl manufacturing industry.

JDE: Yes. So everything from, you know, lacquer cutting, mastering engineers, plating, actual pressing, people being able to have the resources to know how to open a record store in their city, all of those types of things are different avenues within the industry, DJing as well. So yeah, we want to provide a platform where all of those people feel safe.

But, you know, I think something that we get a lot because we also have a podcast where we share information and sort of dispel some things that you might hear about how records are made. We are also like, we are the Women in Vinyl, so we don't exclude either, you know, it's not like guys can't be on the podcast or, you know, they're not welcome on our board.

It's not like that. That would be the opposite of what we're trying to do. We're just working to get the right information out there and be an inclusive space for everybody.

NS: Oh, that's great. And so you say, I believe it's a charitable organization now. And you have a board, how like how big how many people are on the board? How many people are as a members? Like what? What’s the mechanics of it?

JDE: So we're actually going to be expanding the board here soon. In the next couple of days, we're going to be taking applications. Really, when this started, it was just me and a blog and a social media platform. And I just wanted to do this because I saw so many awesome, hardworking women that I never knew about in the industry.

And I think because vinyl, especially on social media, can be perceived so much as a boys club, I was like, Wow, look at what these women are doing. And so that's sort of how it started. And then I roped in different people that are friends of mine, but also I really believe in the mission and our part of the industry.

And so we have Jett Galindo, who's a mastering engineer, she cuts lacquers at The Bakery. Amanda McCabe, she works for Universal Music Group and she does various things. She's also an archivist. And then Robyn Raymond, she's my podcast co-host and she also is a lathe cutter in Canada. So we really encompass the board right now, but we're about to be expanding. So yeah, very exciting.

NS: And do you have, you know, let's say I'm, you know, a young female looking to get into pressing vinyl. Yeah. Like, do I, is there apart from, say, listening to the podcast? Like, is there a sign-up thing somewhere? Do you have an email list? Like, how does that work?

JDE: No. So the reason why we don't have any sort of membership at this time, aside from you could join Patreon is that we don't want to create a barrier of entry because a lot of the people that we are trying to target are going to be younger and may not have money that are, you know, able to sign up for a membership that usually can be 100 or so dollars.

So we're looking at other ways to expand and fundraise for membership. But really, we just want people to use the resources that we provide and be a part of our community.

NS: Awesome. So following on from there, what are the resources and where the community currently at the moment online?

JDE: Yeah, so a lot of it is on Instagram really is a huge part of the community. We go to a lot of events, so like music biz, making vinyl, and then we have the podcast which you can find anywhere. It's just the Women on Vinyl podcast and then our resources online are free and available. We have everything from a women's (HER)story. So it's all different time periods of women that have been trailblazers within this industry in various aspects. Women-owned record store list, “How to start a record label,” electroplating, all kinds of stuff like that.

We've also created something called Anonymous Stories, which has been really interesting, where people can share struggles and successes anonymously, completely anonymously. And we share those because a lot of thing a lot of times we were finding that people didn't feel comfortable sharing some of the struggles of being a woman in this industry because of their jobs. And so we wanted to create a place for them to speak out without feeling like they were going to get fired.

NS: Hmm. Yeah, I can see. Was that on is there on the front page of the website at the moment? Is that the woman stories? Is that the anonymous or…

JDE: No. So the anonymous stories are all posted on social media. If you go to our if you go to our resources tab, you can see all of the different things that I was just sort of talking through.

NS: Oh, nice. And you mentioned there as well starting a record label, That's, that's exactly what I teach as well, I should look at the resources. We can swap notes.

JDE: Yeah.

NS: So how much does your how much do the roles cross over from your job at the pressing plant and with the Woman in Vinyl?

JDE: Well, I wouldn't say. Well, now that I'm at Gold Rush, it's women owned and she's actually giving me part of my days to work on Women in Vinyl, which is great because I will really be able to expand and grow. So that's been fantastic. I think otherwise really a lot of community support. People are excited about it and want to want to support it, which has been fantastic because I really didn't think it would grow as much as it did.

I just thought it was something interesting and that was needed and wanted to help support these people. So but the crossover really is the educational aspect. A lot of what we do with Women in Vinyl is, you know, letting you peek behind the curtain. We're telling you exactly how things are made so that there aren't a lot of misconceptions or that you're going into pressing a project, you know, with as much knowledge as possible.

You'll hear, like, I listened to so many things that are just wrong or people will come to press our record and have no idea what they're doing. Like, how do I master my audio for vinyl? So, so many times I sent the link to our resources: mastering for vinyl tips, tips for doing that. So that, I would say, is the biggest crossover. You know, it's just the education aspect.

NS: Yeah, that's amazing. I mean, I'm all about, you know, building communities around education. I mean, exactly what the label machine is, the education is around, you know, starting and running record labels or self-releasing labels. And I have a, I have a film production company as well. And we do a lot of education on there. We do a lot of like webinars and just the same thing, you know, how do you raise money for a film? Like where do you start? And so yeah, I'm completely on board with that direction that you're taking.

You mentioned, you know, you hear a lot of things that are wrong about the process, the vinyl pressing process. What what are some like what are the top couple that you always hear over and over again that are just wrong?

JDE: Well, there's a lot of stuff about 180 versus 140 versus color vinyl, you know, really color mixtures and compounds and 180 versus 140 in most cases is not going to affect the sound quality of your record. That's a big one. People's assumption that the center labels are stickers when you're pressing records is not the case. So those are some big ones that we're usually telling people over and over again.

And then quantity is another thing that is something that's discussed pretty frequently. Most of the time pressing plants have a little bit higher quantity because of just how the actual process works. So if you're looking for 50 or less than that, you might want to look into a lathe cut versus a pressed record.

NS: Interesting. I'm going to get to that in a second. I did when, we did color vinyls or sorry, picture-disc vinyls. That was the one that we were always told. It doesn't have quite the same quality as like a heavyweight black 45 so as that is. So you're saying that's wrong, but where did that come from? Is it like vinyl pressing technology has got better over the years or...?

JDE: Yeah, I mean, even some picture discs sound better than they used to for sure. But I think it's just that the audio file community believes certain things to be true about like black vinyl sounds better because of the carbon pigment that's put into the PVC in order to make it, you know, sound better. 180 gram supposedly because of less vibration on your turntable, is supposed to, you know, be a higher quality product. And it is, it is great. I mean, all of these things, it's not wrong. It's just it's not all that 100% either.

NS: Are they talking about like. Yes, technically, it probably is going to be slightly more solid at 180, but you're talking about a .0001% difference in audio quality that no one would really hear unless you're analyzing it under a computer spectrum.

JDE: 100%. Yeah. And that's the thing is like bands will come or small labels and say, you know, I want 180 gram vinyl. At Gold Rush, we press everything 180 gram unless you specifically ask, which is just a nice upgrade that they do.

But if you're shopping pressing plants and you're looking for 180 gram and you're trying to find a way to get your cost down, do 140 gram, it's not going to make a difference to you unless you have an audio file fan base. And that's really what they want. But it's not. It's for most small labels and bands, the dollar or so more that it's going to cost you to do that, you know, isn't necessarily something that you have to do for your end goal to raise money.

NS: Hmm. Yeah, I tell you that. I mean, when we were doing vinyl originally, I think was just default, but that's my very first vinyl pressing, actually.

JDE: Awesome. I love that.

NS: That was 140. I mean, we weren't really aware that I remember about the, about the weight size. And you know, this was this was music that was going to be played in clubs and so it had to be, you know, it wasn't like collector's items, it actually had to sound really good. No one complained it got played out loads and… Yeah, but you know, I guess as well in a club, them professional club, they've got everything set up properly on concrete blocks so you know you're not going to have that problem.

Yeah. I wanted to ask you then. Yeah. How like so from a like the clubbing type scene, you know from 15, 20 years ago everyone was on vinyl. Now everyone uses, you know, like not even CDJs. I think they’re called XDJs where you just put your memory card in because it's simpler and easier and whatnot. Yet you know, everybody's in vinyl. Like you said, there's now a massive queue. People are buying vinyl. Are people buying vinyl to listen at home or are people buying vinyl to collect? What's your personal opinion on that?

JDE: So it's both. I think it's crazy to buy a record and not listen to it, but it's just my opinion. But we do see both. And I have worked with some labels and I won't share who they are just in case they don't want people to know this, but they know that they have two different fan bases and so they create typically two different variants of the record, one for people that are just going to buy it for the packaging and put it on their wall or keep it on their shelf.

And then like kind of an audio file aspect on the other spectrum with 180 gram black vinyl because they know that those people are going to listen to all the ins and outs of the type of music that they put out.

NS: That's an excellent answer. And that explains, yeah, exactly. I think there are those those two groups of fans and that, you know, that band sort of does, as you say, prove that. Speaking of the other artists and bands and labels that you work with, can you tell us about a particular like label or artists you were most proud of working with and the project?

JDE: Yeah, I mean, sort of my my biggest career moment, I guess, was working with the Smashing Pumpkins on music that hasn't been released yet. So we got actually a contact request form for Zwaan and I was like, Oh wow, I know what that is. And so I kept bothering this poor woman. I was like incessantly following up, like when I when are you going to start?

What are you trying to do? And then come to find out this was like during the pandemic. And then she was actually Billy Corgan's assistant and they were putting out stuff through Martha's music. Martha's his mom. And so that's his personal stuff. And so it's archives, things that have never been released before. And so I helped them sort of get that started and onto vinyl.

And they're amazing. They're for true like Smashing Pumpkins fans because they're not always the best, you know, audio, but it's stuff that was like recorded in a club or something at some point. So it's they're really, really cool releases and they're being sold through Madame Zuzu’s at the tea shop.

NS: Nice. And so is that some of them like, you know, just live recordings of, of some of the earlier stuff of their albums?

JDE: Yeah. They're really cool.

NS: Oh, wow. A friend of mine in New Zealand is a huge fan. We used to listen to a lot of them when we were younger and it's funny, I put on a couple of weeks ago just for nostalgia and it was so nice.

JDE: Yeah, Yeah. “Siamese Dream” or something?

NS: Yeah, I'm. Yeah, yeah, definitely. They are going, going into the sort of talking a bit more about the process as well, because I really want to dive into that for our listeners so that, you know, you do have a really good handle on how this works.

So as a jump-off point, you know, there is a cost to manufacturing vinyl. You know, it's obviously more expensive than digital distribution for obvious reasons. Like can you talk us through some average costs? And yeah, like what's, what's the kind of minimum as well? And I think you said throughout the process there has to be a minimum and I'm guessing that's because you've got to fill some VAT up to a particular level and like, yeah, and if they want less, you would end up throwing them out like so yeah. Can you talk about, talk through some of that?

JDE: Yeah. So the process starts with your audio. And getting that mastered for vinyl, and it's important to get it mastered for vinyl because of how the engineer is going to manipulate the audio in a way that it transitions to plastic more seamlessly. So the sound is going to be better than a really compressed file where your needle is going to be jumping all over the place.

So if you're getting it done at the same time, you're getting your music mastered for digital, just ask for it for vinyl if you know that you're going to go that route. So then you would want to shop your pressing plant. Some pressing plants have lacquer cutters that they work with exclusively. You can ask about those partnerships. Most don't cut in house.

So that's something that's important because you want to know how they handle the cutting, who's cutting it? You might want to research that engineer, or in some cases you can provide a lacquer, which is what your music is cut onto. And it's a disc that has a nail polish like finish on it, and that's what your music is cut into. So those have a shelf life and once those are cut-

NS: So you can just explain that as well, sort of. So people understand that there's the audio mastering and then how, how, where the lacquer fits and before it gets to pressing, because I think that's something people don't understand.

JDE: Yes. Your audio is magically transferred essentially onto this aluminum disc that's coated with like a lacquer of what feels like nail polish. And there are tons of good resources on how that happens. Like check out the mastering for vinyl resources link on our website because if you want to get into the nitty gritty of it, like that will take you there.

JDE: And it's, I don't want to confuse people here, but it is sort of like hard to wrap your brain around the magic that happens for that. But once it's cut to the lacquer, then that lacquer goes to an electroplating facility. And again, not all pressing plants have these in-house, some do, some don't. And there's a lot of chemicals that essentially the lacquer is sprayed down with a silver and then goes into an electroplating bath and makes what's called a master or a father or a mother.

And this is where it gets even more confusing, because depending on how many steps of plating you're doing, you'll have a father or a mother. And basically what those mean are your father is where you can make more mother's from and your mother's will make the stampers that go into your record press.

So it's essentially a copy of a copy of a copy if you're a band, if you're a band that's looking to do, you know, 200 pieces, 500 pieces, maybe 1000, and you're maybe going to do one repress or two represses at some point. A two step is totally fine. It'll save you some money because typically a mother can make ten stampers and a father can make ten mothers. So unless you're going to be doing high quality or like high quantity represses, you'll be fine with a two-step plate. And so if that's not confusing enough, then.

NS: I thought I did actually have a good understanding. But that has gone into more detail than I realized.

JDE: And we also have an infographic that I made in our resources as well that shows the process so that you can see like this is when it's getting electroplating, this is what comes out of it. So to give you a visual that's super helpful, but so once your stamper is made, that will then get sent to the record pressing plant.

Sometimes lacquers are saved, but they're not usable at this point. So sometimes people will ask for the lacquer back, but typically after it's been electroplated, it doesn't exist anymore. And so when your record gets pressed, the pressing plant does test pressings and these are very important. And I think some people don't realize that, you know, you need to listen to all five of them that you're typically sent because you're listening for issues that may not have appeared when you had your initial audio.

NS: I didn't know you had to listen to all five. I thought they were just five versions, so you could have seen them out to five different people. Why don't we only ever listen to one like we just listened to one all the way through to the end? Sounds good. Send it back like the. We only had one. Yeah. Interesting.

JDE: Yes. So some. Yeah. So some people do. The reason why you want to listen to all five is mostly because if you hear a flaw and it's not consistent on all five, then you're going to be fine for your run. But if you do hear a flaw and it is present on all five, it might be something that then needs to be adjusted.

So yeah, I mean, the main things you're looking for are the songs in the right order. Is my matrix number correct. And the dead wax, you know, does everything look and sound the way it's supposed to?

Things that we can't adjust that I think are common that we hear often are like, you know, oh, there's sibilance over here or there's, you know, I'm hearing levels are getting adjusted randomly. We can't do that with like, there's nothing with record pressing that's affecting the actual levels of your audio.

NS: That's the mastering process.

JDE: Is the mastering. Yeah. And so that's something that people need to keep in mind is that if there's any issues like that, like long sides can make your audio, you know, like if you've ever put on a record and you have to turn it up. But it was fine on the last record that you had like long sides can change the levels of your audio so if you, you know, you need to think about those kind of things when you're pressing records because you might not be happy with the outcome, but the physical aspect of us pressing records, we're making copies essentially.

So, you know, we can't change those things. So you have to go back to lacquer. And that's something that a lot of people don't think about. And it's so expensive to then have to go all the way back to the beginning again of that process.

"we want to create a place for people to find those opportunities to empower women and other minority groups, to see people like themselves in this industry in order to find a way here on purpose and not by chance."

NS: Yeah. Is it, is it when you, when it's being cut though is there, can you have any issues being presented there?

JDE: Yeah. And so that's why it's really important to research your mastering engineer and who's going to be cutting the lacquer even if you go through a pressing plant because you know, we all work with certain lacquer cutters and we can have those conversations. So if you know that you have a side that's longer than 18 to 20 minutes and you're worried about the levels of it, you know, we can run that by them or if you are going to someone directly, you can run that by them and they can work to adjust how they cut to try to get a better outcome for those long sides.

NS: Yeah, and so for people that are listening to the reason why you long sides, the longer the length means you've got to fit more grooves into the vinyl. So the volume will go down because it can't, the grooves can't go as deep and wide. Is that right?

JDE: Yep, that's exactly right.

NS: Yeah. So it's why 45’s tend to be louder than an album. And just quickly, why is it that cutters tend to just not be part of pressing plants? Like, what is it, just a traditional thing? Or like, you'd think, I guess that you'd think pressing plants would just have that person in house and keep it all under one roof.

JDE: You know, it's a good question. I think plating is such an undertaking and since that typically comes next in the process, everybody just sort of has their own space. I think also with mastering engineers, a lot of them, they aren't exclusive to cutting lacquers. So, you know, they might take on projects where they cut and there might be projects they're doing that are just digital. So if someone wanted to be housed in a plant and only do vinyl cutting, I think that's an interesting idea for sure.

NS: So I want to do 200 12-inch, 140-gram, 4-track EP release. What are my costs or is 200 too low or can I come in at that price?

JDE: So it depends again on the pressing plant. So some pressing plants, especially over through 2020 and the like, insane amount of vinyl needing to be pressed, raised their minimums. So what used some plants that used to do 300 or 500 are now pushing a thousand. Where I work at Gold Rush, we still do 200 as a minimum, but that's the lowest I typically see for a pressing plant.

There are others that do 200 as well. They're usually a little bit smaller operations where they're wanting like the press ops are wanting to see different jobs on press and we're able to sort of get one job off, get another job on, do a little bit of a quicker turn for people. Other pressing plants that have large numbers of machines sometimes work with major labels or larger runs because once you get the job going, 10,000 units, you can just keep cranking it out.

So it really depends and that's why it's important to research your plant. I would say though, two or 3000, you know, depending on what you're looking for, that typically will include your cutting, plating, test pressings, the printing of your jackets and the record itself.

NS: Gotcha. Gotcha. And what are your you mentioned earlier you need to be planning for next year, but what's the turnaround time like? Average turnaround time roughly you'd say in 2022.

JDE: 8 to 10 months is what we're quoting. So I know some plants have stopped taking on new work, only to help focus on the customers that they've had. So we are still taking new clients. But yeah, it's about 8 to 10 months. As people get new machines, hopefully that will, you know, decrease those turnaround times.

But machines also are on a backlog because of all the different pricing plans that you see popping up because of, you know, this demand that's out there like vinyl. There's a place in Minnesota opening up… just all over the place. New plants are popping up so and it's not is it's not easy It's you know, I think that's a misconception, too. It's not like you plug in a machine and there you go. You know, you have to deal with, you know, your steam from the boiler is the boiler big enough to handle the machine?

So there's a lot of factors that go into play with the actual pressing process.

NS: Wow. And when you say clients, are you are you saying a label as a client or an artist as a client?

JDE: Both. Yeah.

NS: Okay. Because yeah, I guess when you get up to the point, if you've got an artist and you're putting out an album a year and the turnarounds are year by one point, you just don't need to have any more customers, do you?

JDE: Right.

NS: It's crazy.

JDE: Yeah.

NS: So, you know, I've decided I'm going to, I'm going to do a minimum of 500 vinyl. But, you know, my, my band's quite small, but we've had some investment, so we and we believe that we want to use vinyl to. Yeah, we want to put our music on vinyl, something personal to us. But how can we use vinyl releases to grow our fan base?

Like, what's some processes or marketing or that you've seen people use to kind of not, so not supplying our existing fan base let's say we've got 300 fans we're going to sell 300, we've got another 200 to go, we want to sell. What would you recommend we do?

JDE: I mean if people… vinyl is perfect for marketing for social media because there's so many different parts of the process. I will say my one tip for anybody releasing vinyl, when you're marketing, wait until your test pressing is approved. I know that you're super excited and that you want to get started, but just wait because like, if anything's wrong there now, you have to go all the way back and then you have to deal with people that are mad because now the turn time that you initially told them is not the same. So that is something that I think is just a really important tip. But a lot of plants, if you ask them, will take photos, video throughout the process. I mean, not everyone, but like I know we do, we did at Furnace too. If people ask for it, like we're happy to do that for you.

We know like it's a super cool process and that is fantastic marketing. I mean when you get your test pressing and all sounds good, take that video, post about it. Talk about the fact that this is coming out, get people hyped about it and then, you know, through the process, if you can get pressing videos, pictures of your jacket, you know, in the boxes and all that, it's fun, an exciting thing.

And I think it's really easy to market the physical product. And like you said, some people aren't even listening to it. So if you have, you know, a fan base that is just really into a cool product, you might be able to do something fun with your artwork, you know, but hopefully they're buying it for the music and you're…

NS: Not just the artwork.

JDE: But yeah, I mean, like if you got a video from a pressing plant instead of the machine sound, overlay your music on top of it or something like that. Put together a cool presentation and share that. People want to support bands and musicians right now, I think especially, you know, after everything with the pandemic, it's, you know, people couldn't tour and people couldn't really, couldn't see their favorite musician. So this is like a tangible thing for them to have. And I think they want that.

NS: Nice and sort of and I guess an extension of that, of the marketing as well. Like what about actually just selling more units, like is it best to try and get it into shops, sell it on your own website? Can you talk about that process? What you've seen works quite well.

JDE: Yeah, I think Bandcamp is still doing great things. I saw the Bandcamp Fridays are coming back in September, so I think that is a really great way to do things. It also allows you to have your physical download. Like you can do downloads and you can get download coupons from Bandcamp. It's in the plant if you want to have that as an added thing for people, an added marketing tool, go to your local record stores.

Yeah, a lot of them will take units off your hands to share in the local bin and then yeah, your own website for sure. But again, I think for most people that don't have a huge following already, social media is the place to be and whatever platform that is and maybe find people that are not necessarily influencers, but people that love your music and maybe share a copy with them or let them, let them hear it, let them know what you're putting out, and they might just do it organically to share that for you.

NS: Yeah. Can you do a TikTok dance while holding my vinyl, please?

JDE: No.

NS: And so would you I guess I've 500 on my band. Would you then say you would deliver it to like you know the band’s house or the band’s rehearsal room and we would do out a lot of, if we were on Bandcamp, we would, you know, the orders are going through the daily and we would fulfill ourselves.

JDE: Yeah, I think starting out, that's probably most realistic. There are places that you can reach out to like United Record Pressing. They have a distro that distributor that you can ask and see if you know you could get your stuff distributed there. There's a lot of small groups like that where they have distribution in, but it's not as easy to get into.

I used to have a list that I shared with some people that were interested, but, you know, I'm not sure where they actually ended up in getting that to happen.

NS: So. So is that sort of like how someone might try and get a distribution deal with like one of the bigger introduced distributors, like, I don't know, The Orchard, Ingrooves, or something and you have to apply for it even just for digital distribution. It's the same kind of process with physical as well?

JDE: Yeah, Yeah, exactly. Okay. Yeah. You know, and you can check with like your merch companies, like, you know, I know some people use like Hello Merch to send their things to or you know, wherever you are, you know, if they're willing to distribute it for you, you could look into that as well.

NS: Yeah. Because a lot of merch companies, I think you can hire a one meter square foot space in their warehouse that you rent off the monthly and then they will fulfill. And I think you just you send out boxes of vinyl and then as one has come through the door, I do know that's that's a popular way. But I think you've got to be yeah, you've got to be turning over enough to justify that kind of rental price really isn't it?

JDE: Exactly. Yeah, there is. There's a rental cost with that. And I think you know too, depending on how big you are, a handwritten note free sticker, I feel like that goes a long way. Like personally, whenever someone buys something from Women in Vinyl, I always send something like that. Just I feel like it's important to have that connection.

And that's really how you're going to build an audience, is that connection. If someone gets a, if you send someone a record and there's a note like, Thanks so much for supporting us, a free sticker now that stickers posted somewhere that you know, whether it's outside a picture or whatever, and they have this note that makes them feel more connected to, they're more likely to support you again next time they feel like they know you in some way.

And when people are buying physical product, I think that that's part of it. Is that physical connection or that connection to somebody. Otherwise we would just stream it. So I that's something that I don't always see that I think is really great when people do.

NS: I 100% agree it's a big part of, you know, what I teach the labels is, you know, you want to grow your fan base, right, as big as possible. But everyone's like, I want to make money. Well, grow your like, you know, your superfans. And big part of that is, you know, I get them an email address, then get them buying even just a small, like, fan pack, like less than, you know, free plus shipping, sticker, a little note and just go so far because, you know, as soon as you have, you know, like 100 people like that, then you've got, you've instantly everytime you bring something out, you've got 100 sales.

And so just quickly going back when you said you can have a download code from Bandcamp, does that, is that like something that you just print on the outside of the vinyl or is that a thing that goes in like a piece of paper that goes inside or…?

JDE: So download codes I think are sort of perceived value maybe to people that buy the record because we don't typically see a lot of those being redeemed. But I know that through Bandcamp, I've had a couple small label labels that are able to print download codes. Bandcamp will generate those for them, and then they just print them out like on regular paper, cut them, send them to us, and we can include that in their record.

One of those things that you could put on the marketing sticker and just and this is actually another good thing. So I was out record shopping this weekend and some people put the marketing stickers in weird different places. Just keep in mind if you're not putting it top right or top left, and I don't know what your band is, you're missing a sale.

So, because no one is going to pull every single record out of the bin if you put it on the bottom and you know, so top right, top left. Good place for a marketing sticker.

NS: As that is there. If that's the vinyl is got a plastic, you know, it's sealed, right?

JDE: Mm hmm.

NS: Yeah, maybe that I'm thinking people are like, I don't want my artwork to be covered up.

JDE: Right. I'm sure they are. But if you want people to buy it…

NS: Yeah, well, like you said, Yeah.

JDE: Yeah, people take the shrink wrap off, but like, especially, you know, if if you're a band and you are similar to something else and or, you know, like you got a Pitchfork review and they were like, Oh, the greatest thing since Black Sabbath, you want people to know that. So put that on your hype sticker, Put that in the top, right or left corner.

JDE: So when people are flipping through bins and they see this and they're like, Oh, this band sounds like this other band I love let me buy this record. And check it out. I think that's something important to think about. If you are wanting to put your record in record stores.

NS: Yeah, I totally hear that. And also why it's very important to still do traditional press as well and get featured on blogs and get your stuff reviewed as early as you can as well, because then you get the feedback that you can then put on the marketing sticker to get on the vinyl.

JDE: Yeah.

NS: So how, how, how many pieces of vinyl do you own?

JDE: Oh, well, my husband and I met in a record store and we both collect records, so we have about 5000 12-inch records. Yeah.

NS: Is that why you've buying a big house move?

JDE: Yeah. Yeah, it's. It's definitely, you know, hard to find a house. Yeah. When you're like, where are we going to put all the records. Yeah. So, you know, we're enablers. Oh.

NS: That's funny. I mean, my wife and I, we buy each other vinyl as a minimum, like, for birthdays and Christmas as well. Always buy each other like a piece. And then I'm. Then I also just go buy stuff out as well that I like. I mean, I find what I'm doing as well. And this is actually a question, to turn into a question, like I'm buying music that I was listening to 20 years ago that I was buying on CD. Now I'm buying on vinyl. Like, on like I'm a big fan of the Chemical Brothers, so I'm buying all this stuff. Is that is that a thing that's like you're finding that's what a lot of pressing plants are making?

JDE: Yes, I definitely see a lot of reissues. I’m same as you. I'm thrilled about some of these reissues that I only had on CD. And I now can finally have on vinyl. And I think like our generation is wanting that. We want our music again. And a lot of us didn't save our CDs. So it's great to see, I think a lot of those being reissued. Yeah, a lot of stuff from the nineties. It's great.

NS: You know what? I did save my CDs and I got burgled and they all got stolen and that was yeah. I, because my dad was, he's a CD collector and you know, so I saw the value on and stuff that like you just, Yeah. You can't get any more either. Yeah. Yeah. I was a bit sad.

So for, for women and music you know you, you are a woman that works in the music industry. What are some, what are some useful resources that you've found have helped you Like, say, I want to I want to get into this. Where can I go next? You know, obviously join Women in Vinyl, of course. But you know, where else can someone go?

JDE: I think find people that are doing what you're doing and just connect them, network with them. We have a job board. There are other organizations as well that have job boards. But, you know, I think looking at the job boards, cause they're very specific, the types of things that I'm talking about, and that's what I wanted because where do you find those types of jobs?

But honestly, this industry is small, but everybody is for the most part, really giving, I think, of their time, especially within like I'm speaking vinyl specifically record labels, you know, pressing plants, DJ’s, people want to share. And if you approach them, they will they'll talk to you about it and you can ask them how they got into it, where they might recommend, maybe they'll help mentor you.

And that's with our blog post features what we try to do. Like at the bottom of every single feature we do, we say where you can find that person, find them If their story is important to you and you connect with them in some way. I've never had someone that we've profiled. Turn somebody down that's ask them a question about how they got into it or where they should start. So yeah, I think it's a really great and important resource.

"find people that are doing what you're doing and just connect them, network with them."

NS: Yeah, Yeah, that's amazing. I mean, I get the feeling the music industry has sort of changed in the last 20, 30 years and there's less of like, like back like the music industry, like artists and even people that work in the industry being too cool for school or, like, untouchable from the fans.

JDE: Mm hmm.

NS: Yeah, it's, it's, yeah, it's definitely changed like it is. I think the mode is to be able to be contactable and reach out and support people and someone who is like, you know, who isn't like that, is kind of seen as like, you know, who do you think you are? Like some sort of big executive that's too important for everyone in life, right?

You know what I mean? That's oh, that's like, that's, that's like, that's the negative. Yeah. Because I you know, I'm probably you find as well. I reach out to people on the podcast and some people I'm like, you know, this is going to be like, they're not going answer me. They like totally up for it. And I'm like, Wow, this is amazing. And then I'm, you know, I'm like, Yeah, awesome.

JDE: I now, I mean, truly like, I mean, sort of different but the same I mean, a lot of the people that we've interviewed on our podcast, they may not be like the biggest names necessarily in the industry, but some really heavy hitters in like the label industry. I mean, like Lisa Fancher from Frontier Records, like really awesome, awesome people.

And yeah, they're more than willing to do it. I mean, we reached out to Henry Rollins for the intro of our podcast and he was like, Sure.

NS: He's like, he's one of the coolest guys in the music industry.

JDE: But exactly, but still like, and result in our little thing. Like he took the time to do all of these recordings, like, how cool is that? So that's, yeah, I mean I think just approach people and again, like with Women in Vinyl, that's what we want is to create people that look like you that you feel comfortable going to and that you can ask those kinds of questions.

NS: Gotcha. What are some rookie mistakes or common problems that you see over and over again that new or early career artists make? And so this is just a bit more of a bigger question. It doesn't necessarily have to be just about vinyl, because I know you mentioned some of those bits and pieces earlier, but yeah, just sort of, you know, from your experience in the music industry.

JDE: I think it sort of goes back to what you were just saying. Don't be too cool for school, you know, I mean, that's the thing is just because you've gotten some press or some, you know, relative success wherever you are, as soon as you put that, present yourself in that way, you're turning people off. The people that are kind, the people that want to share their music and are excited to try to reach out and share it with you or whatever. The people that do that handwritten note with their fans, do an Instagram live, whatever, those are, the people that I feel like are will be more successful. So when you're marketing and you're reaching out and you're trying to connect, like take the time to do that, I think it's really important.

NS: Okay. And narrowing that down from a woman, what one piece of advice would you give to a woman starting in the music industry? And this so this is this is not as an artist, this is someone who wants to be on the the business side of it. And, you know, they want to maybe follow your path.

JDE: I mean, I would just say like, don't be afraid to do it, because I think that's the biggest thing is feeling like because you don't have all the information to start, you don't do it or you're nervous to ask the question. You know, I think that's a big thing with like women just getting into vinyl, period, is that barrier of entry. If I buy a turntable and it's a Crosley, will everybody laugh at me? How do I set up a turntable if it doesn't have a built-in premium? That's a barrier of entry. So. So just go for it, learn it, ask it, and people will be happy to help you, you know, find that safe space.

NS: Awesome. I'm just going to ask, we've got a few more moments as well. I normally sort of ask questions around like music, I guess, sale trend questions as well. Now, I know you were specifically in vinyl, so I guess, yeah. Where could I go with this? With sales questions, Where would you say, what do you think the breakdown is with sales of vinyl in the US, UK, Europe and rest of world?

JDE: Oh, I mean there have been some great. I'll have to try to find them for you so you can link them. There have been some great projections on this that have shown the growth of vinyl. I mean, how it's outselling all other all of their digital and CD/cassette. I mean, it is the number one way that people are consuming music and the good thing about that is that artists make money off of it.

So, you know, again, like just going back for a minute, if you sell, if you buy a 200, 300, 500, you know, run of records for 2000 to 4 or $5,000 and break those down into a cost per unit, and then you can sell that for 20, 25, whatever it is, you know, you're making that profit. So it's a little bit more to put up upfront.

But in the end, your return on investment is going to be better than having to stream 10 million times to make a couple bucks.

NS: Mm Yeah, it's, I, I think it's like 10,000 streams for one vinyl.

JDE: Yeah. It's crazy.

NS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. So that's really, that's interesting. And have you found people putting they… because I know now on Spotify as well you can have your merch integrated directly on there. Have you seen people putting their vinyl up on Spotify and do you know if that's people have been like discovering music on, on Spotify, you know, through the algorithms and then going, Oh wow, there's a vinyl version of this and buying it?

JDE: That's a good question. I'm not sure I haven't. No one has told me that they've done that. And I am not streaming enough to know to have seen it. But I if that's the thing, I would definitely say people should make sure people know where to buy the physical copy because, I mean, that's you know, for me, if I hear something, I Shazam it or something and I like it, go to go to Spotify and listen to it. And there was an option for vinyl. I'd buy it every time.

NS: Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. You, you I think you have to do it through. They've got a partnership with Shopify, so you have to put your vinyl on Shopify and then you link it. And I did it for an artist on the weekend. I was just testing to see how it'll work. It was, it was actually pretty simple. I mean, just any product you put on Shopify, you can basically just select three for your for your Spotify.

JDE: That's cool.

NS: So what is the breakdown, do you think, between people doing vinyl singles, vinyl EP’s and vinyl albums?

JDE: It seems like most people are doing albums. Most people I don't see, many do 12 inch singles anymore unless it's a very specific market, like a DJ market. Um, but an EP every now and then. But I think when people are spending that kind of money as far as a band or small label, they're going for the full album.

I will say again, you know, going back to the conversation about what you can fit on your record, it's more important, I think, for the record to be, to sound good for everybody. So if you have to cut a song and release that is a secret track, a bonus track, however you want to do it, put it on a download card separately.

I always think that that's a good idea versus trying to squash all of your music onto one record. Because if you have to go into a 2-LP than that price is doubling. So yeah.

NS: What's roughly how much time you've got on each side of vinyl where your the maximum you got before you think you'll get digression in sound.

JDE: I mean I've seen people stretch it, I would say 18 to 20 minutes is as good. You know, I've seen people go 24. Usually after 22 minutes aside, people are starting to charge extra to do it. Hmm.

NS: Okay. So you want to, if you want to keep it simple, you want to keep your album total track to about 40 minutes and you're going to be safe.

JDE: Hmm.

NS: So many golden nuggets of facts, right? Okay, cool. Well, I like to keep this to an hour and we and we're sort of just getting on there, so... Yeah, where can we, where's the best place to find more about you? Yeah. What's the actual website address name.

JDE: Yeah. you can find us there. Find us on our podcast, The Women in Vinyl Podcast. It's on all streaming platforms Instagram, social media, just @womeninvinyl, you can find me and my crazy Black Sabbath collection @jennn_erator with three n’s on Instagram.

NS: Awesome. So Instagram's the place to go?

JDE: Yeah.

NS: Awesome. Thank you so much for being on this podcast today. I've learned so much and I thought I knew- I definitely didn't. Yeah, it's been amazing. So thank you again.

JDE: Yeah, thank you for having me. This is awesome.

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