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Local bands find success with crowdfunding

The harmonious relationship between vinyl and crowd funding

Photo Courtesy of Justin Nardy

We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For, local punk band New Tongues’ debut album, was released on 300 vinyl records through Gotta Groove Records in Ohio.

February 21, 2013 | 12:00 a.m. CST

New Tongues always knew It wanted to release its debut album on vinyl. The local punk rock band is made up of vinyl fans. Bass guitarist and vocalist Justin Nardy owns 3,000 to 4,000 records alone. Interestingly enough, the band’s personal love for the old music format has become part of a national trend.

Using most of its budget to record music, New Tongues needed financial help. Unlike bands signed to a record label, the cost of putting out a vinyl record would have to come out of pocket. The band turned to crowdfunding, a growing resource for financially strained musicians.

“There’s been a huge resurrection of vinyl,” Nardy says. And that increased demand for records supported New Tongues’ plan of pressing its album on those big throwback discs.

Aside from playing in New Tongues, Nardy ran the now-defunct record company Emergency Umbrella Records when he became co-owner in 2008. While running Emergency Umbrella Records, he used the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter for a warehouse clearance sale of CDs and vinyls. “It (crowdfunding) is kind of like cutting out the middleman,” Nardy says. New Tongues streamlines the process through independent record pressing company Gotta Groove Records.

The choice to switch from one crowdfunding platform to another was not easy. Ultimately, they decided to give the Gotta Groove Records’ newly added crowdfunding option a shot.

The service the band decided on gave it a lower rate because New Tongues would be the first to use the service. Kickstarter, on the other hand, would have collected 5 percent of funds raised.

Based out of Ohio, Gotta Groove Records charges $1,165 to press 300 records, about $3.88 per record. Price packages vary not only on the quantity but also on the color and weight of the vinyl. The package the band chose didn’t minimize the cost.

The benefit of fans wanting records comes into play with financing projects. Generally speaking, crowdfunding allows individuals to lend their support to another person’s cause or dream with a monetary pledge. Specifically for New Tongues, funding its project this way would allow fans to give their support to the band releasing the LP through donations.

New Tongues isn’t the only local band to use crowdfunding to put out vinyl. Believers chose to use Kickstarter to raise the money to press its self-titled debut record. The band received $3,336 with an initial goal of $2,500. Both bands employed an incentive system to help bring in donations. Lead singer Wesley Powell found crowdfunding helpful for his project. “I like that it takes the burden of finance off a project,” Powell says.

Like Believers, New Tongues set a crowdfunding goal of $2,000 in 30 days to afford 300 records. New Tongues made $2,600. It proved to be a well-rewarded avenue for manifesting its project.

The success New Tongues experienced with crowdfunding leaves the door open for future endeavors using social media for funding, especially if the band stays independent. After all, why mess with a good thing?

According to the Nielsen Company & Billboard’s Music Industry Report, vinyl album sales have grown over the past five years. Infographic by Colleen Maag

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