Monday, 23 July 2012
The economics of a DIY punk 7" in 1986
There's a track from the Generic - For A Free And Liberated South Africa 7" from 1986. The very first release on Flat Earth Records
You can get the whole thing for free here - http://flatearthrecs.blogspot.co.uk/ aka The Archive Of Bloody Everything. Pretty much everything Flat Earth put out is available along with stories about how it all happened. If you have even the slightest interest in the history of DIY punk in the UK then Flat Earth is essential.
Inside the record (yeah, the actual 7" - this blog might be about encouraging people to sell digital stuff but I'm also a vinyl nerd) is a fascinating insert detailing the exact costs of putting the record out. The point being was to show other people that it could be done and how it could be done.
The other month I decided to have a little look into what the costs would be in today's money. I've used the Bank Of England inflation calculator to see what a price in 1986 would be in 2011 (the most recent year it does). Yes, this is quite a geeky thing to do but personally I think it's quite interesting to compare. This is especially true when people say that vinyl is so much more expensive to press nowadays. I was going to leave you with a link to an article explaining why there's no such thing as an exact inflation rate as it all depends on what you personally buy. However, I can't for the life of me find the link. Anyway, on with the costs.
First up is "Recording/Master tape/Transport" which in 1986 came to £80. That comes out at £192.33 after inflation.
Next is "Pressing". All the individual parts of the pressing process are listed but even I'm not that sad to check them all. The overall price of pressing 1,000 7" was £493. That comes out as £1185.29 in 2011 money. That's without covers. If you head over to Key Production you can see that you can get 1,000 7"s without sleeves pressed for £1002. That includes transport and test presses as well.
They spent £57 on covers which today would be £137.04.
An advert in Maximum Rock n Roll was £15 (now, £36.06). 1/6 page ad in MRR is currently $33 which isn't too much difference
After adding everything up and including a bit for telephone calls and other bits and bobs they totalled it at £700 for 1,000 7"s. That comes to £1682.97 in 2011.
Strangely, the conclusion appears to be that pressing 1,000 7"s is actually cheaper these days. Of course, it's far harder to actually flog 1,000 7"s now. That's one of the reasons I reckon it's a good idea to sell digital stuff as it makes up a bit of the shortfall