Why is it so hard to press less than 100 records?

Why is it so hard to press less than 100 records?

May 23, 2022

So you’ve just finalized the recording of your musical project. Everything is ready: your cover art and the latest masterings are on fleek. It's time to embark on the vinyl adventure!

Only problem: you are an up-and-coming, emergent artist and your fanbase is not structured yet. Investing in the pressing of several hundreds of records seems rather risky!

Producing vinyl is a substantial investment indeed: such a product takes a long time to manufacture and is more expensive than a CD. But then, why can't we make very (very) small quantities?


Price reduction based on quantities

The vinyl market follows a very simple logic: the more you want, the less the record will cost to produce per unit. For this reason, most factories will work directly with popular labels and artists who order their records in bulk (several tens of thousands of vinyl records per month, for instance). These large series are also frequently produced in a so-called automatic way: automatic machines require less staff and allow more profitability and better performance. This ensures the fastest possible manufacturing process.

For smaller quantities (below 300), the approach is quite different! Unit price is much more important, which means the artist has to sell the item at a high price. Complicated to justify when you are still at the beginning of your career! In addition, these very small series are manufactured manually, so that they do not encroach on large productions benefiting from automatic machines. Otherwise, it will extend delivery times even further. As a result, they take much longer to make because they are carried out on specific presses which require more personnel: there are therefore fewer of them, which explains all the more the scarcity of this service.


In addition, vinyl pressing results in fixed in-built costs, in particular through the creation of the matrix (a kind of “mold” in which the materials for creating the vinyl are placed). This matrix is mandatory and is changed approximately every 2000 copies produced: it is necessary to assume its cost, whether you want to press 100 or 2000 discs.


As demonstrates the complications and slowdowns caused by the Covid crisis, as well as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, it has to be noted that the vinyl market is also extremely sensitive to exogenous shocks. These events have significantly impacted access to and the price of raw materials, which contributes to further slowing down production processes.

For this reason, the vast majority of factories do not risk producing very small quantities. With 100 records, production is already much slower, and therefore offered by a limited number of service providers. You can now imagine the hassle of pressing 50 copies only: in addition to the considerable waiting time that would ensue, the record would have to be sold at a price that is far too high compared to the rest of the market in order not to lose money! This is obviously not the goal of our approach.

The Diggers solution: our pre-ordering service

You know how we do things at Diggers Factory: we refuse to prevent future artists from being able to launch the production of 100 vinyl records. However, as we have seen, these small pressings represent a significant cost.

Diggers Factory has therefore imagined a business model that allows everyone to accomplish this objective, without paying anything upfront. This is our pre-order tool via our funding campaigns: you create your project page and indicate the selling price of your vinyl according to the options you want for the record. After that, your community takes care of everything: it is your fans who order the vinyl and thus finance all or part of the production! Best case scenario: your campaign is 100% funded and production can start immediately. If some sales are missing, then it is always possible to pay for the rest of the production (its cost will then be much lower than paying for all the records). Finally, if the campaign did not work out as expected, we refund everyone automatically, free of charge!

Zero risk taking on your side, and a way for us to democratize access to vinyl records: everyone wins. Contact us quickly to find out more!