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Industry Focus: Vinyl Startup Feedbands CEO Graham Langdon On Cryptocurrency & Vinyl's Resurgence

We chat about how cryptocurrency can help unlock more money for artists, the challenges of vinyl production and more

With all of the vinyl being pressed, it seems as though it is probably super easy for anyone to make it. That actually isn’t the case. It can be quite expensive and the infrastructure hasn’t yet caught up to the demand with the market still wary of booms and busts from previous trends in the physical music business. Getting vinyl for major label artists is easy, but a small local band can have a tough time. Feedbands wants to help change that. The startup vinyl subscription and crowd sourced record label is a service that allows users to decide what vinyl should be printed and sent out to the users each month. When the record is printed, the artists are paid in cash and keep the rights. Feedbands only do first pressings and give unsigned artists a chance to be heard.

We spoke to Feedbands CEO Graham Langdon about the company the their new partnership with Dash, a cryptocurrency payment system. Read to learn more about the company.

Explain Feedbands for those who don’t know or understand the company?

Feedbands is a music streaming service with a twist: every month we take the top voted artist and press them to vinyl. We then send those vinyls to subscribers all over the world.

Why did you start the company?

I started the company because I wanted to support independent artists. I noticed that "mainstream" music was becoming increasingly formulaic and unpalatable, and wanted to help create a world where independent music had a powerful platform. I wanted to find a way to support independent musicians and literally "feed bands."

What has been some of the biggest challenges you have faces since starting the company?

Dealing with vinyl production is very challenging. We release a new record every month, and vinyl records have a four month lead time. If anything goes wrong in that time, if a master gets scratched or dropped, if a mistake was made, you have to start all over.

There has been a lot of talk about the resurgence of vinyl. How do you keep this / your company growing and prevent a cyclical bust from happening?

Vinyl is popular right now because it offers music lovers a tangible form of music they can hold in their hand. In a way, it is a response to the ubiquity of digital music. That said, we have recently begun offering a $4 digital subscription and we hope to focus on making this an attractive option for anyone who's not into vinyl but still wants to participate in the exciting process of determining the fates of artists.

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Why did you choose to work with independent artists versus more established names?

Established artists already have momentum and resources at their disposal. We want our service to "discover" the unknown artists who hold great promise.

Why did you partner with Dash to deliver vinyl via Cryptocurrency?

Dash is similar to Bitcoin but can transact instantly and for less than a cent. We've always offered artists on our site a 100% cut of the music and merch they sell through their profile, but we were using Paypal to process the transaction and they would take a large cut of the transaction, especially for singles. By switching to Dash, which has been one of the top performing cryptocurrencies in the world, we're helping our artists earn a valuable asset and hopefully setting them up for the future better than if they were earning cash. There are also plenty of places to sell your music for cash, and zero places to sell your music for cryptocurrency.

What about the two markets, vinyl and cryptocurrency, makes you believe there will be a strong crossover between the two?

Vinyl is only one part of what we do. Artists can sell all of their digital music and all of their physical merchandise on our website. We can't say for sure, but we're willing to guess that two years from now, artists will wish they had earned cryptocurrency instead of cash.

What would be your advice for someone who wants to start their own music business or get involved in the vinyl business?

You have to do it for the love of it. If you approach it with a profit driven perspective you will probably realize that the music industry is still figuring out it's business models and there still are no clear answers at times. Even Spotify and Pandora, worth billions, are losing money at an alarming rate with no clear path to profitability. It's anyone's guess if these streaming services will even survive in the end, but if you're passionate about it, you'll see real success in the artists you expose.

For artists that don’t have financial backing or label support, what would be a few ways to get started pressing vinyl?

With Feedbands! Simply submit your music and our listeners will start voting on your music.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you being doing right now?

Working on something I feel passionately about :)

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