A new platform for funding, pressing and selling vinyl records has just launched.
Headquartered in Japan, QRATES' service has shades of Kickstarter, Bandcamp and record distributor. You start by logging onto the QRATES website and putting together a mockup of the release, with options for customizable label and sleeve design and even the choice of vinyl color. The costs are calculated as you put together the mockup, based on the options you choose and the number of records you want pressed; the smallest order is 100 records, considerably less than the 300 or so most pressing plants will want as a minimum. (QRATES says they have an "exclusive partnership with world-renowned pressing plants.")
Once you've finalized the run, it goes up on the site, where customers can preorder it. When a release hits its target, it then goes to press, funded entirely by the preorder campaign—the label doesn't have to go into debt to fund the vinyl run, and neither the distributor nor the label is left with dead stock. (You can also use QRATES to order a run of records without going through the preorder funding system, and if you don't hit your target, you can still fund the remainder of the run yourself.) Sellers can bundle the release with merchandise and concert tickets, and they can also sell and stream digital versions of the releases, bonus cuts and exclusives. You can try out QRATES's vinyl designing tool here.
Official site: QRATES
Original source: http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=29377