Demon Music has got plenty to smile about.
As well as issuing BBC spoken word comedy on vinyl from the likes of The League of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh, the indie’s experienced a 32.5% year-on-year increase in vinyl sales for the first half of 2019 (OCC).
Here, Ben Stanley, head of product & marketing, takes Music Week inside the Demon vinyl strategy (and there’s not a Kings Of Leon release in sight)…
Demon has seen double-digit growth in UK vinyl sales – how have you achieved this?
“We have put real emphasis on vinyl over the past few years as a growing part of our business portfolio, looking not just at reissues of classic albums within our catalogues and box sets, but through vinyl compilations and the exploitation of BBC spoken word titles – The Mighty Boosh, Doctor Who, League Of Gentlemen, Good Omens. Retail exclusives have also been an important part of our approach, producing bespoke releases to targeted fanbases and driving awareness through our social channels.”
Major labels have increased their market share at the expense of indies - but not Demon. How have you bucked the trend?
“We’ve worked closely with our retail partners to understand their customers and have put together ranges of vinyl that work for each accordingly, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. The compilations, retail exclusives, and titles such as T Rex Gold have delivered great volumes across the supermarket accounts, whilst across the indies and specialists, our box sets, Record Store Day titles, spoken word and deeper catalogue reissues have enabled us to grow the business. Working closely with the artists has enabled us to add more perceived value to specialist releases through signed copies, whilst creating retail exclusive business and growing stronger business relationships.
“I think within the team we are really in tune with customers in terms of their expectations, going the extra mile to make sure we offer quality releases at the right price which match expectations, whether it’s special packaging, coloured vinyl, etc.”
Personally, I’d also like to see us release as many ’90s alternative acts on vinyl as possible to supplement my own collection
What are your further ambitions for vinyl?
“The presentation of our titles is key to our success, so I’d like us to continue our approach of going the extra mile to creating high-quality titles, exploring and considering new content that hasn’t been readily available, and continue to exceed customer expectations. Personally, I’d also like to see us release as many ’90s alternative acts on vinyl as possible to supplement my own collection – as featured on our recent Steve Lamacq Lost Alternatives’ compilation. But hey, that’s just me!”
Do you think the potential for further vinyl growth is limited?
“No, I think maybe the rate of growth may decrease but this is a market that is here to stay for some time. Especially within catalogue, there are lots of innovative ways to re-market vinyl through great packaging, clever formatting, new content. And as long as it remains a premium and collectable product in the eyes of the consumer, I see lots of growth in this market.”
Can vinyl complement streaming as fans invest in the higher quality product to own?
“Yes I don’t see why not. In catalogue, if you want to own a classic reissue of, say, Suede’s Dog Man Star, then we have available a great reissue for your collection that allows you that nice feeling of ownership and tangibility. But for that same individual, I’d also expect then to listen to the album and tracks at some stage digitally. Remember, though, there is a lot of music out there that is not up on any streaming platform, and physical is the only way to consume that. That was a key part of the Lost Alternatives project, with nearly a third of the album unavailable digitally.”