The timeline of this century’s popular music so far is that of equals and opposites. In the beginning, the mass pirating of music led the industry (both popular and independent) to shun physical copies for digital options. Now, some ten years after this shift, the hipper parts of Gen Y have begun to demand the once thought anachronistic format of vinyl. Setting out to not only supply this demand, but to expose and support some of the musicians who embrace it, is the California-based company Feedbands, a pay-the-artist, monthly vinyl delivery service that’s hoping to spread the gospel of analog .
“Every month we find a truly amazing artist,” explained spokesman Chris Carr. “We press their album, send them a check and 150 free copies, and send out a colored first pressing to our subscribers. The band retains all the rights to the music and gets some money for instruments, touring, or anything else that they may need.”
The service, started in July of 2012, is itself a story of format change. “We started as a streaming service,” explained Carr. “We almost went under with that. Then the idea of pressing vinyl saved us.” Since this reformatting, the company has been able to reach an international audience as well as pay their contributing artists a good sum of money.
“We got paid very well,” said Jesse Damiani, bassist for the Austin based band The Unknown Relatives, whose album 2 was pressed and shipped this past May. “Not only that, but we have gotten hits and attention from people all over the world who subscribe to the service. They may have never heard us if we were just online.”
The service costs the subscribers $19.95 a month (first month free). This gets you a first edition, specialty colored record and jacket with artwork picked out by the band. Added bonuses include a biodegradable guitar pick and download card good for a digital copy of the album (which can in fact be planted after use and will blossom into a wild flower.) It also comes with the guarantee that the band was chosen by true music fans.
“We chose music that rocks.” says Carr. “We don’t box ourselves in. If we hear a band and we like what they’re doing, then they’re getting the pressing and money.”
With the complete selling out of June’s album Vliets by The Vliets and July’s send out just around the corner, Feedbands is working to getting even more momentum on social media and the ever powerful word-of-mouth.
“We’re making a difference,” said Carr, “Everything is going back to vinyl and that’s how bands are going to support themselves now. You can get played a million times on streaming services and make almost no money, or you can sell quality vinyl to people who really love music and you really make a mark.”
With recent reports of artists being severely underpaid by such services as Pandora and Spotify, it may be that Feedbands represents a new model for the next wave of independent bands and their fans.
Information about Feedbands’ services and their submission guidelines can be found at www.feedbands.com/. They also provide an app on both Android and Apple O.S.