‘The vinyl business is only going to grow. At the moment it’s where… – Music Business Worldwide

  Trailblazers is an MBW interview series that turns the spotlight on music entrepreneurs making waves in their local markets, who have the potential to become the global business’s power players of tomorrow. This time, we speak to Steve Rhodes, Co-Founder and CEO of UK-based ‘vinyl-on-demand’ startup, elasticStage.   Trailblazers is supported by   Believe .

Vinyl records are one of the particular music industry’s biggest comeback stories.

Once on the verge of being relegated to history’s list of obsolete technology, sales of the format are now thriving in the streaming age and growing within major markets.

In the US, for example, according to the mid-year revenues (on a retail basis) from vinyl albums grew 22% to $570 million, while vinyl’s share of the physical market increased through 68% in order to 73%.

In the UK, as of September 2022, year-to-date, vinyl cds generated retail revenues of £80. 9 million, up 12. 2% YoY, according to stats published simply by the Entertainment Retailers Association.

Indeed, vinyl has become so popular with music consumers that manufacturers are coming under increased pressure to keep up along with growing demand.

One company that believes it has the solution to long lead times in the vinyl fabric manufacturing space is UK-based elasticStage.

The on-demand vinyl company raised £3. 5 million in a seed round earlier this year (and is about to launch a series A Round), attracting investment from prominent industry figures like producers Paul Epworth ( hire songs industry veteran Raoul Chatterjee (the ex-Vice President, Content Partnerships & Operations at SoundCloud) as its new Chief Operating Officer.

elasticStage’s co-founders Sam Rhodes (CEO) and Werner Freistaetter (CTO) are both former musicians and engineers.

Rhodes tells MBW that the business aims in order to “completely eliminate the costly and lengthy setup process for vinyl” and that “it was a no-brainer that many artists (beginners, professionals plus post-major record deal artists) would love the way to seamlessly sell physical products to fans with no upfront cost – similar to what TEMASEK HOLDINGS SINGAPORE. Tell us about your production partner and the particular role they’re playing in scaling upward your company?

The biggest challenge after going through the pains associated with developing the particular core technology, was exactly how can all of us build enough of these machines reliably in a very short period of time. We knew that the demand pertaining to our product would become huge. All of us approached a single of the particular global leaders in mechanical engineering plus automation that also works for Tesla, using the ultimate aim of scaling up and rolling out large production centres. They usually only work along with big multinational corporations plus it was a daunting task to convince them to work with us on this project.

I flew out for a presentation over two years ago and not just did these people believe in exactly what we had been doing and the potential meant for it in order to be internationally game-changing, among the founders made a private investment within elasticStage upon the spot. That was the big turning point. However, I do want to reiterate that elasticStage nevertheless owns almost all of the IP and they are usually only assisting us in order to build our own dream.

You launched a new facility in the UNITED KINGDOM this year – show about the planning that’s gone into launching the service, what a person do there, and your own ambitions designed for it?

The new facility will be the future R& D facility for the on-demand technologies. Nearly we all offer on-demand vinyl, but also on-demand CDs at an unprecedented level of quality. CDs may not end up being as sexy as vinyl fabric, but are still an essential and important product. If you can make a whole catalog available this will enjoy a profitable future.

Last year, the CD market had been growing just for the 1st time within almost 20 years. Our R& D service will furthermore serve as the particular launch pad for a limited commercial roll out of our platform in the second half of 2023. At the moment we are usually identifying who else will be the partners that have first access. Even with the smaller capacity that we offer at that will facility, we can solve a massive headache for a label who, for example , needs the few thousand vinyl product sales “today” to get in order to number 1 within the charts! This will create a huge difference to them.

In 2024 we will transition the production/fulfilment in order to larger facilities in the particular UK as well as the US with all the London facility serving as the hub for our engineers to refine, develop and maintain the technology for the factories.

Are there plans to expand to locations outside the UK?

Yes, as I pointed out earlier, we want to open facilities in the US by 2024. Europe and the USA are the biggest vinyl markets, responsible for 90% globally. At the particular same time, there is huge potential for vinyl fabric in Asia and CDs are still a multi-billion business in places like Japan and South Korea.

You elevated £3. 5m earlier this year. Are usually there programs to raise more in the near future?  

We just began the A Round, which will certainly enable all of us to go live in 2023. I made it my personal mission, as a former artist/singer/songwriter, to talk to everyone in the music business in Greater london and give all of them a chance to be part of this revolutionary business. We don’t care if they will say no, but in five years, whenever they moan about missing the boat again, such as they did with digital downloads plus streaming when

“Long lead times are killing everything. You never know when you need vinyl or even CDs because you never know when your artists are going to experience a significant breakthrough. ”

Long business lead times are killing everything. You never know when you really need vinyl or CDs since you never know whenever your artists are going to experience a substantial breakthrough. And money is always tight when you start out; years ago, I visited Paul Epworth, Adele’s producer and co-writer, in his amazing Church Studios. We were presently there with my laptop and showed him the platform and concept. Within 15 minutes this individual invested.

He has a small label plus vinyl can be important for that. Another one particular in our investors is Sam Dyson, whom not only is the particular son of James Dyson, but additionally the successful owner of a record label, posting company and recording studio. His family understands the particular trials plus tribulations associated with developing equipment – they are one of the best in the world in it. It isn’t easy to impress all of them. That was a proud moment with regard to us.

What are usually your predictions for the particular vinyl company in the UK and globally within the coming years?

The vinyl company is just going in order to grow; in recent many years it’s turn out to be aspirational plus cool. It’s beloved of music followers but also a lifestyle accessory and reputational signifier regarding many. Nobody knows what you listen to on your cell phone, but everyone can see your own record collection! So on one hand you have consumers who have embrace vinyl fabric for multiple reasons: they want to be awesome, they are bored associated with being slaves to their phones and computers plus enjoy a moment away from them, and they enjoy building plus curating a collection of beautiful things.

It’s an affordable hobby. On the other hand you have countless creators, who even if they had no following would at least buy their own vinyl because would their own mums and dads, as well as their two friends in the pub. Sometimes I make a joke that one day we are going to have a lot more music makers than buyers!

Vinyl hasn’t penetrated the mainstream yet – from the instant it is where MP3 players were within the ‘90s before Steve Jobs showed us just about all how to do it with the iPod plus iTunes shop. We would like to bring vinyl into the mainstream. It needs to become a beautiful and stylish experience. When I founded elasticStage in 2016, I could not even get a bloody Oasis record in England.

After looking for one in five different barely functioning online vinyl stores, I actually gave up. Nobody provides the patience for this particular. I think the particular best is certainly yet to come and physical records are usually here in order to stay. People are tired of an ever changing technological landscape, they want certainty that any record these people buy today will still have value within years to come, that this format will still be supported. elasticStage’s mission is that every album and song ever released should end up being available on vinyl fabric and COMPACT DISC. This is how the format secures its future.

How does elasticStage want to be positioned in the wider sector in the particular coming yrs?

I believe it’s a no-brainer that people may become a big player within the self-releasing inventor world, as they have very little alternatives. For them it’s a dream come true that doesn’t cost anything in advance. At the same period, it’s essential for the particular professional music industry that individuals nurture brand new talent that certain day could become superstars. elasticStage may play an important role here.

As already mentioned there can be times when major labels will be keen in order to manufacture releases at brief notice to consolidate their particular chart positions, but they also sit on the vast directory that can never become released profitably via conventional technology. Wouldn’t it end up being fantastic if – simply like loading – every title ever made could be found, purchased and shipped instantly directly to enthusiasts on vinyl or CD via elasticStage!

Trailblazers is supported simply by Believe. Think offers advice to impartial artists and labels, in addition to distributing plus promoting their music through a portfolio associated with brands including TuneCore, Nuclear Blast, Naïve, Groove Attack and AllPoints. Songs Business Globally

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