Re-releasing music is a labour of love at LNFG. We care deeply about artist legacy and strive to ensure that everyone engaged with us is kept, informed and updated at all times.
Re-pressing vinyl comes with obligations, both contractual and some more morally based. We felt it was wise, in light of recent comments on social media, that we lay out our processes clearly and concisely for all to digest.
Before any record can be pressed we require to obtain approval from the phonographic rights holder. This could well be an artist, a label or a publisher, sometimes it can a combination of all three. Whomever owns that little (p) is ostensibly the gate keeper of all that can happen. With most major re-releases that will likely be someone like Universal or Sony. Most albums from the 70's and 80's have been hoovered up through takeover and merger, such that three behemoth companies control the vast majority of the worlds music.
Seeking approval from such a company can be a time consuming and frustrating process, in some cases we have found ourselves waiting over 12 months for clearance. Obviously with the process being so arduous, we never embark on the journey without first gleaning the nod of approval from the artist themselves.
The Moral Nod
Whilst obtaining approval from the songwriter is not contractually necessary where rights are held by a third party, we believe firmly the songwriter should always be consulted and no PNFG release has ever proceeded without such being explicitly obtained. We have shelved many plans because artists have said no, or failed to understand the process properly. We have received many emails from bemused bands, asking why we were even bothering to ask them, when they didn't own the masters. Many of our current acts will recognise what I am referring to.
Reissue, Repackage, Re-evaluate
Once the moral nod is received and as soon as the license is granted, ordinarily in exchange for a fat licensing payment in advance, we will discuss with any band precisely what is needed/planned. Will we faithfully recreate the original, will we right longstanding wrongs, will we add more details, more songs, will we remix or remaster. Again this process may begin or end with us making suggestions or decisions but we will always seek artists approval.
We will always provide an indicative suggestion upon how we will propose to announce the release, what versions might exist and what thematic approach we might take. We will invariably draw up a draft page and await copy changes or updates. In 99% of cases we will pull the content directly from existing artist pages, social media or wiki. We will never write new copy without artist approval.
Sometimes artists provide none whatsoever, sometimes they rewrite the whole package. Whatever process is adopted, that page will not go live without the artist knowing such and without them being given the chance to veto, amend or delay announcements. The advert will invariably provide an indicative manufacturing time.
Tests, Proofs and Manufacture.
Once a record is ready to begin its journey to manufacture, we will provide templates and vinyl wavs, or lacquers to manufacturers, They will initially run proofs of the art and book the tests in for production. At this stage we have one main decision to make. (1) Do we book actual production or (2) Book production after receiving and approving the tests. As there is no advantage to (2) our default position is (1). Thus, we will know roughly when tests will arrive and subject to all being acceptable roughly when the album will arrive. Tests are not approved, we will always be able to pull and rework but at least, all being well, we will have a seamless transition.
Once art proofs are received, these will be sent for artist approval and production will be booked for some months in the future. Acceptance of the proofs will be assumed but plenty of time will exist should changes be necessary.
Similarly when tests are received, they will be sent to the artist for approval, many artists do not have the means to approve tests and thus, they will either be invited to LNFG to approve them or they will pass approval to us or a third party. Again, acceptance is in part assumed and manufacture is booked for weeks, months in the future, however, the artist and we will have right up to the minute the presses run to pull that record and rework a track.
Release and Remuneration.
Once we are in possession of the actual record, we will immediately begin fulfilling pre-orders and handle all financial aspects. On the costs side of the business we will have to account for
(1) Licensing - usually 20-25% of the distribution price x the number manufactured
(2) MCPS usually 8.5% of the distribution price x 80% the number manufactured
(3) Mastering costs
(4) Art Production costs (if incurred)
(5) Manufacturing costs
(6) VAT and Costs of Sales.
On a 1000 run of single vinyl, the actual costs could run to between £8000 and £10000.
Once all the costs are recovered the artist will earn 75% of the profits. this being their reward for providing the moral nod at the outset. Contractually we would be entitled to retain 100% of the revenue for ourselves, we are under no obligation to share any of the revenue with third parties but as we believe this would be immoral, not only do we carry 100% of the risk, we pay out 75% of the reward.
If any time an objection is raised we pause all production and process until such is resolved.