Bandcamp, the popular music streaming and merchandise service newly headquartered in Oakland, announced on Wednesday an upcoming expansion into vinyl manufacturing as an added service to independent artists.
In a blog post, Bandcamp co-founder and chief executive Ethan Diamond described vinyl as “an important expression of fandom,” and often inaccessible for small artists to manufacture due to cost and complexity. Only a small percentage of artists sell vinyl through Bandcamp, yet record sales on the site have grown 600 percent in the past five years. Bandcamp aims to streamline production and order fulfillment, he explained, with “no out-of-pocket costs” to artists.
Earlier this year, Bandcamp opened a small record showroom and venue attached to its downtown Oakland office with promises to support the local music community. Now the company has partnered with Pirates Press, KQED confirmed, an Emeryville vinyl broker that contracts with a plant in the Czech Republic to manufacture records.
(Second Line Vinyl, a new record manufacturer whose offices and plant are located in Oakland, was also considered as a partner.)
Pirates Press, which moved offices from San Francisco to Emeryville in 2016, developed what they estimated to be the first brand new vinyl press in 30 years in 2015, boosting its overseas production capacity to 120,000 units daily. Owner Eric “Skippy” Mueller said many of his Bay Area employees are musicians and label operators who use Bandcamp. “We’re excited,” he said. “There’s a lot of connected knowledge.”