With vinyl booming, now is an apposite time for small labels to be putting out wax, but issues such as high minimum pressing amounts (300 to 500 typically), high costs, deadstock risks and the challenge of finding distribution partners are still making it a venture that's out of reach for many.
Japanese company QRATES has just launched a funding and pressing service that offers a solution to all this. In the company's own words, artists and labels using the service "can press vinyl from a minimum of 100 copies (additional copies can also be repressed), and by using the funding system they can collect preorders before they actually press their vinyl. The pressing will only begin when the designated amount of preorders is reached, meaning that there are no advance payments needed from artists and labels. Furthermore there are no dead stocks. The price of the vinyl can be set by the artists and labels, and the revenue will go directly into their pockets."
QRATES also offers a 3D design tool to simulate the vinyl, sleeve and labels prior to pressing, and the chance for users to sell previous releases in their own customized QRATES store. More information on the service can be found over at the QRATES website.