Vinyl is for couches.


Vinyl is a great format. Except more than a third of people buying it don’t own a record player. And it pollutes the planet. And it’s really really expensive to make and post across the planet. When I ask, most people say they still want vinyl, but my guess it that’s all hat and no cattle. It looks good, damn what it sounds like.

A small pressing plant is open in Australia, and I can get stuff made that way, but it’ll be the most expensive 40 minutes you ever had and I am not mad keen on it. I am instead back to USB drives, but prepared to sink some serious money into it. (Just as an aside – yes a CD is still cheaper but triples the airmail postage from about $4 to $12. Plus it’s getting hard to find a computer that will load a CD. Plus a USB holds about 10x the data.)

The Rhine USB cost about $12 Australian to make and send. So at any time I had about $1200 out in the world, at a time when the USD and AUS were close. Now that the AUS has collapsed again I figure I can probably spend a bit more and go for a more professional look.

The credit card style has good and bad. Good – it can be more decorated. Bad – it is a pain to insert one into the side of a laptop, but you’re going to do that once only.


I figure I can get 500 units up front with a universal design then overprint as needed. So every one of them will have the logo etc. but the album title goes in a white box. I could sell 1000 over time but that’ll eat more than $5000 before postage. Still cheaper than cassettes and don’t sound like arse.

But it’s the sleeves which are troublesome. For Rhine I have been using lanyard pouches at $2 each which are actually pretty good quality (good clear plastic) compared to most solutions. Today I found some clear plastic sleeves for business cards. They’re too fat, and they don’t look as nice as they should. Placing album covers inside them is not nice. Now these:


I can get from China from about $1 a unit. I’ve seen these, there’s no way to decorate them with the album cover. Some duplicators will throw in a case with a clear window but these are 2cm tall. That makes the mailed item a package and – bang – 3x the postage.

Jewel cases for data cards would be ideal. But credit card sized. Maybe they exist.


Maybe I can get slightly larger lanyard holders? If I get 500 then maybe a discount?

The idea is to provide a good feeling quality object that doesn’t cost the earth. Some people will pay a healthy amount for their collectibles but that’s not my game. I understand that people want something to hold in their hand, but unless you’re a DJ, the USB is the best deal for both of us.

12 thoughts on “Vinyl is for couches.

  1. I really appreciate your position on this and hope you find good packaging solutions! I do miss physical music objects a bit but I’m your happy band camp customer nowadays.

  2. A nightingale trained to sing the album, delivered in an ivory box by Motpheus. That would be grand.

    Otherwise I’m content to download. I lost the urge to accumulate possessions late last year. A near-death experience is an effective panacea for affluenza.

    • I’ve removed all my CDs, and any book I don’t use is in the process of going bye bye. It’s not my death (sorry for your experience!) but having to clean up after other people have died and left a pyramid of junk.

      I came into the world solo and that’s the way I will go.

      But a small compact set of mnemonic objects, that hold a great deal and are inexpensive – this seems OK. It’s hard to balance the desires of all.

      • No need to apologise. Unless it was you who sent me the hemlock-infused chocolates.

        Now I’m post-menopausal I no longer have the inclination to be a librarian. Having said that however I will buy your USB editions. I’m contrary like that.

      • Btw I presume at least one other person was present as you exited the birth canal, unless you are Xenu and sprang fully-formed from the mouth of a volcano.

        Also Deepak Chopra says that your intestinal flora can hear your thoughts. I think he needs to workshop that though – marketing must be having conniptions trying to make it look good on a tea towel or commemorative mug.

  3. My fingers enjoyed the sharp difficult paperclippy things you used on the rhine usb; trying not to destroy the paper insert and clip it back together without too many cuts to the fingers was a character-building experience. ironic there being a song on the album with lyrics about cutting fingers off – I think the idea of leaving a personal mark with the packaging has some merit.

    only half joking/serious/thingummy, honest. maybe i’ve just got weak fingers?

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