custom vinyl record on turntable

Can you put your own songs on a vinyl?

Can you put your own songs on a vinyl?

Yes, you can definitely put your own songs on vinyl. Whether you're an independent musician, band, or artist, there are several ways to get your music pressed onto vinyl once you record your own song (or have a full album ready to go):

  1. Lathe-Cut Records: Lathe cutting is a great method for low-quantity record orders where each record is individually cut in real-time from a master recording. This method is more flexible in terms of minimum quantities and allows for customization, allowing you to make your own vinyl with a unique copy, smaller runs, or special editions.
  2. Vinyl Pressing Services: If you are looking to order 100+ records, you can work with vinyl pressing plants that specialize in manufacturing vinyl records. They typically require you to provide mastered audio files in the correct format (usually high-resolution WAV files) and artwork for the record labels and packaging. They will handle the pressing process, which involves creating molds (stampers) from your audio and pressing the vinyl records accordingly.
  3. Direct-to-Vinyl Recording: Some studios or services offer direct-to-vinyl recording sessions where your songs are recorded directly onto vinyl in real-time. This process captures a live recording session onto a vinyl record, providing a unique and personalized product.
  4. DIY or Small Batch Options: There are also lo-fi DIY vinyl cutting machines available that allow you to cut your own records at home, although these are limited in terms of quality and durability compared to professionally cut or pressed records.

Whether you choose traditional pressing, lathe cutting, or another method, putting your own songs on vinyl can be a rewarding way to share your music in a tangible and collectible format with your audience. Each method has its own considerations in terms of cost, quality, customization options, and turnaround time, so it's essential to research and choose the method that best suits your needs and budget.


Pressed Records Take Time And Money

Pressing vinyl records involves several cost factors and considerations. The minimum quantity required by pressing plants usually starts around 100 to 300 records per release. Lately, lead times can run into the 6-9 month period, especially for smaller orders in that 100-300 copy range.

Costs per unit vary widely depending on several factors:

  • Vinyl Size and Color: Standard black vinyl is usually the least expensive option. Colored vinyl or special editions often cost more due to additional materials and processing.
  • Packaging: The type of packaging (e.g., standard sleeve, gatefold, special covers) affects costs significantly. More elaborate packaging adds to the overall expense.
  • Artwork and Design: Complex artwork, special finishes (like embossing or foil stamping), and inner sleeves also contribute to costs.
  • Mastering and Setup: Initial setup costs for mastering and preparing the stampers (metal plates used in pressing) are typically fixed per release, regardless of quantity.

In terms of ballpark figures:

  • Basic Costs: For a standard 12" record with black vinyl and standard packaging, costs might range from $1,500 to $3,000 for 300 units, averaging $5 to $10 per record.
  • Additional Costs: Colored vinyl could add $1 to $2 per unit, and custom packaging upgrades (like gatefold sleeves or inserts) might add $2 to $5 per unit.
  • Total Investment: For a high-quality release with special features, costs could exceed $10 per unit or more, especially with smaller quantities.

It’s crucial to obtain detailed quotes from pressing plants and consider the overall production quality and your budget when planning a vinyl release. Working closely with a pressing plant and understanding their specific pricing structure helps in managing costs effectively while achieving your desired record quality and presentation.


Lathe Cut Records Provide Small Quantity Vinyl Runs

Lathe cutting records is a different process compared to traditional vinyl pressing and involves cutting each record individually rather than using molds and presses. Here’s an overview of the ballpark costs and minimum quantities involved in lathe cutting:

  1. Minimum Quantity:
    • Lathe cutting is more flexible than pressing and often allows for smaller quantities. Minimum orders with Freestyle Vinyl can start as low as 1 record per release!
  2. Cost per Unit:
    • The cost per unit for lathe-cut records varies widely based on factors such as size, material, and additional features (e.g., colored vinyl, custom shapes). For a basic 7" or 12" lathe-cut record with standard black vinyl and sleeve, costs can range from $30 to $100 per unit.
    • Additional features like colored vinyl or custom shapes can increase costs, sometimes significantly.
  3. Artwork and Packaging:
    • Similar to traditional vinyl pressing, artwork and packaging choices impact costs. Custom sleeves, labels, and special finishes add to the overall expense.
  4. Quality and Turnaround:
    • Lathe-cut records may have slight variations in sound quality compared to pressed records, particularly in terms of noise and fidelity. Turnaround times can also vary depending on current workload and quantity of your order.

In summary, while lathe cutting offers flexibility with smaller minimum quantities and customization options, it tends to be more expensive per unit compared to traditional pressing. It is the perfect alternative to a pressed record for the artist or band that doesn’t need (or can’t afford) a large-scale press!


Lathe Cut Records With Freestyle Vinyl

Freestyle Vinyl specializes in producing your lathe-cut vinyl records. We offer services where you can create custom lathe-cut records of your music. Here are some key points about Freestyle Vinyl and our services:

  1. Customization: Freestyle Vinyl allows you to customize your record with options such as vinyl color, record size (7", 10", 12"), and additional features like custom shapes or engraved labels.
  2. Minimum Quantity: Unlike traditional vinyl pressing, lathe cutting often has lower minimum quantities. Freestyle Vinyl offers the flexibility to create small batches of records starting at just one copy, making it accessible for independent musicians and small labels.
  3. Artwork and Packaging: You can provide your own artwork for the record labels and sleeves. We offer options for standard sleeves or upgrades to custom packaging depending on your preference and budget.
  4. Turnaround Time: Lathe cutting typically has shorter turnaround times compared to traditional vinyl pressing, which can be advantageous if you're looking to release your music sooner rather than later.

If you're considering creating a lathe-cut record with Freestyle Vinyl, please reach out today!