With digital music on pace to set a new sales record, and vinyl showing staggering growth every year for the past 5 years, you’d think there’d be a direct-to-fan platform out there that took them both seriously. Unfortunately, there isn’t. That is until Limited Run, a platform from brothers Nick and Tom Mango, spent more than a year rebuilding their entire service to fill the void left by its competitors. Now labels and artists have the ability to upload lossless audio, have Limited Run convert it into various formats, and then let fans choose the format they want to download after purchase. They’re also tightly integrated with SoundCloud, giving you the option to automatically have your uploaded music sent to SoundCloud and music players embedded in your product pages.
Customers also have the benefit of a platform known for its support of the vinyl industry. With new features like Cart Limiting, sellers have the option to restrict the number of copies someone can purchase. This helps combat record flipping, a problem that has been plaguing vinyl ever since its resurgence in 2007. Record flipping is the act of buying multiple copies of a rare record at the retail price, then once it’s sold out, auctioning it off for a profit on eBay. Another vinyl selling feature lacking among its competitors, is what Limited Run is calling, “Digital Street Date”. Considering it’s fairly tough to bring your turntable in the car with you, listeners usually want an instant digital version to come with their purchase. The problem is, sometimes when a record goes up for sale, it’s a pre-order with the actual release date being weeks, or sometimes, months away. But Limited Run solves this problem by letting sellers set a release date. Then when the date arrives, fans are automatically emailed letting them know it’s available for download. This is an extremely powerful feature, when you consider most record labels and bands are small operations.
“Labels and artists want to concentrate on what they do best, which is finding talent and creating art,” says Tom Mango, the brains behind all the new tech you see at Limited Run. “They don’t want to worry about sending a thousand emails out, when the digital version of an album is available. That’s our job.”
There’s something else that Limited Run is doing differently. Most services that allow labels and bands to sell music, take a percentage of their sales. iTunes being the most expensive at 30%. But Limited Run doesn’t take a percentage.
“Charging a percentage, in our eyes, is an unethical business practice,” says Nick Mango, Limited Run’s head of product development. “We didn’t have a hand in creating the music, so our profit shouldn’t relate to how much they charge.”
Instead of charging by taking a percentage of your sales, Limited Run charges by the amount of products you have, and how much your fans download. They also make it extremely easy for labels and artists to get started with an entire site and store for free. By using one of their themes or by building it with HTML and CSS, Limited Run has the ability to make each store unique to its owner. Not only that, but if you want to give away your music for free, they don’t charge you. This definitely lowers the bar on the cost to go direct-to-fan.Google+