Don’t Call It A Comeback: Letting More Vinyl Rumors Flow

Mar 18th, 2008 // 18 Comments

2177364365_d9f08dbe8a.jpg The “Vinyl Revival” panel at SXSW was pretty good, and not just because it offered the perk of free coffee. The discussion went through the typical pattern of production processes, distribution and whatnot, but when the Q&A started, things really sprang to life–especially when one member of the audience, a representative from Sony BMG, mentioned that his parent company is working on releasing its entire back catalog on vinyl. I can’t imagine this starting up anytime soon, but it sure sounds like a long-overdue idea.

idolator

  1. Chris N.

    OK, but Sony BMG has about a kazillion out-of-print albums I wish they’d digitize before they get to that.

  2. Ned Raggett

    Yes! Every Mitch Miller album on fresh new vinyl! It can’t fail!

  3. MTS

    @Chris N.: Dude, I know. Who knows if this will actually happen!

  4. Thierry

    I wouldn’t be shocked if Sony expanded their vinyl catalog though – they’ve been offering some of their recent releases on vinyl (Springsteen, Nicole Atkins), which is pretty unusual for a major.

  5. CultureBully

    Seems a little unlikely…and as mentioned, the digital conversion is much more important. Is there a recap of the panel discussion up anywhere?

  6. MTS

    @CultureBully: You can find discussion on the panel here: [board.crewcial.org]

  7. iantenna

    i can absolutely guarantee you that this sony bmg dude was full of shit. we’ve been selling vinyl reissues like gangbusters for years, as have a number of other small companies licensing from the majors. the majors only stepped into the game a minute ago and, as with the digitizing, move like molasses. plus, the whole back catalog? come on… maybe about 5% of the catalog that you keep in print on cd.

  8. MTS

    @iantenna: I certainly agree. Now that the vinyl resurgence has hit its stride, I am not surprised the majors are trying to cash in. Of course, with all the legal wrangling that may be done to re-press these releases, who knows if it will actually come to fruition.

  9. iantenna

    @MTS: it’s rarely a question of legal wrangling (they own almost all catalog records outright, in perpetuity), it’s more a question of bottomline. where we’re happy with sales of 3-5k, they’re not happy until it’s in the 20k plus range (a wild guess, sure, but it’s probably even a low ball) and that’s for cd reissues, vinyl is a lot more of a pain in almost all regards (manufacturing, shipping, storage, etc.) and requires a deep, deep catalog. it’s just not gonna happen. rhino, which has the most progressive reissue campaigns of all the majors started a few years ago on the vinyl and they have, at most, 50 titles out.

  10. dreamsneverend

    What I don’t understand is this:

    Old recordings that were done on ANALOG equipment surely deserve the be given the vinyl treatment, as do bands who currently use old gear today as well.

    I just don’t get the use of something that is DDD being on vinyl though as an audiophile. It was digital to begin with and it’s like saying oh damn this CD sounds better after I dub it to cassette….

    AS for an overall come back, vinyl has never left and I’ve never had issues getting singles in the format via import or some retailer online. More fluff about nothing!

  11. iantenna

    @rainmkr: fyi, whether it’s reissue or new music recorded onto analog tape, almost every single thing coming out on vinyl today enters the digital realm at some point, so don’t be fooled. there is certainly something to be said for staying completely analog throughout the whole process, but there’s also something to be said for the “sound” of the format of the final product, regardless of the steps it took to get there.

  12. Anonymous

    Heck, the Reverend predicted this news back in August ’07. Perhaps it really is time to go “back to mono”!

    [ryanadamssucks.com]

  13. Captain Wrong

    To an extent, this has been happening for years, though quietly. Check vinyl.com. They’re licensed to do new pressings of a lot of stuff.

    That said, I really hope people realize some of us actually listen to our records and don’t just buy them as hipster artifacts. I’d like to see people actually putting a little time into making a quality pressing. Aside from a few (expensive) audiophile labels, I’ve just about given up on modern vinyl.

    Example, I’m currently listening to a recent issue of “Loveless” and frankly, it sounds like shit. The vinyl is crackly as hell and the top end is very sibilant. And yes, I have an audiophile quality system. If someone can look at me with a straight face and tell me this record sounds better than the CD, I’d like to have what they are smoking.

  14. Captain Wrong

    Also @iantenna: “whether it’s reissue or new music recorded onto analog tape, almost every single thing coming out on vinyl today enters the digital realm at some point” Sorry, wrong. Audiophile labels like Classics and Speakers Corner make it a point to brag about their all analog releases. Even the Rhino issues you mention above (from the “because sound matters” series, I’m assuming) are all analog. Same with smaller labels, such as Sundazed.

    Yeah, those Scorpio issues you guys are probably selling a ton of (also avaliable at vinyl.com) are likely digital sourced. But to assume all vinyl being made today is would be incorrect.

  15. iantenna

    @Captain Wrong: hey capt. wrong, i have nothing to do with scorpio and that stuff sounds like shit, i refuse to buy anything scorpio does. but i can tell you that many labels reissuing vinyl licensed from major labels are not granted access to master tapes. and a lot of master tapes are not in any shape to be used at this point anyways. you really think that atlantic loaned out the original tapes to led zeppelin lps to classic?

  16. Captain Wrong

    @iantenna: yes, I do. If they didn’t, those folks are doing some really deceptive advertising then.

    [www.classicrecords.com]

  17. cheesebubble

    @rainmkr: Precisely. Vinyl never left. But every once in a while, the majors like to dip their toes in the water and herald it “a comeback”. Most smaller “indie” labels and the like have been issuing vinyl for eons. In fact, they’ve successfully gotten with the times and provide LP buyers with a coupon that allows downloading of a digital copy of the album too.

    The big conglomerates will only embrace vinyl if they think there’s good coin to be made. Meanwhile, whatever happens is fine by me cuz I’ll keep buying lots of vinyl like I always have. The big wigs might dabble in records but they’ll likely pull out after yet another brief flirtation. That’s fine – leave it to the little guys who know how to do it right. They’re in it for the art and not the greed (and so are their fans).

  18. Anonymous

    i’m still an avid vinyl collector and listener but with the rise of bit torrents and serato the art form is dying if not on its last limbs.i salute Sony BMG but not sure if there going to back it up.From a business side, it doesn’t make sense.Is a kid going to buy a 9.99 CD or a 29.99 180 gram record?I’m thinking the CD.Shit, the white stripes’ last lp cost 30 dollars on record thats a big price to pay just to listen to an album.Still waiting for that Kanye West-Graduation LP to be release.

Leave A Comment