A funny thing happened on the way to supposedly all inclusive on-demand libraries of music. A lot of the music simply disappeared. Well, Qrates wants to bring it back – and in physical form, too.

All of this depends on whether Qrates themselves can deliver on the promise of making small batch vinyl issues easier and quicker. The notion here is that a minimum order would start small (100), get wide distribution (with a built-in network), and do it quick. The speed thing matters – Qrates is promising to reduce turnaround time without diminish quality, just as vinyl labels have been struggling under the weight of delays.

But Discogs integration is interesting for two reasons. One, the catalog. This is a play by Qrates to get loads of content. You can pick any release of yours you want to repress out of the Discogs catalog and launch right away.

Two, Discogs is as much a community as a catalog. So there’s a chance to notify anyone with a release in their wishlist that the reissue is coming, and to take orders directly from the site.

If you’re rich, you’re already sold on the idea. If you’re broke, you might wonder how you’re going to fund this. Qrates claims to have a solution here. They offer crowdfunding or simple preorders that allow you to make sure you’ve got enough orders to justify the run. And there, I think, sites like Kickstarter are really overkill. I don’t need an entire crowd funding campaign just for a 7″ I want to buy – I just want to hand over a few bucks and then get my record later on, and I’m okay with waiting. I suspect I’m not alone.

Qrates is nothing if not tantalizing. The model seems great. The need is unquestionably there. Now we just need the service to deliver. For now, you can sign up to get an email when this launches – I sure will.


Thanks to Alan Oldham (a great DJ as well as a great guy) for pointing this out.

  • Dog of Tears

    I’m not clear on this – are they saying that they will negotiate the rights to the content, as part of their package of re-pressing “any record”? Because it doesn’t seem that they are the rights-holders, from what I can see on their site. Or are they just hoping to coast past the legal issues?

    • John Tuffen

      Yep, my thoughts exactly: the copyright holders *must* be involved, otherwise there’s going to be a lot of lawyers getting richer 🙁

  • And how the heck is the music material sourced? Ripped from shabby records, using crappy equipment, pressing it again on a flawed medium? Well, then this is nothing but the good ‘ol bootlegging.
    There were bootlegged records that sounded worse than the original artist’s 128kbps soundcloud stream.

    • Random Chance

      I can only agree: This article is not very clear on hard facts. I’m getting the feeling that I am reading a music or art magazine where writing is mostly formulaic to a point where there is no discernible content. Anyway, it’s hard to read and leaves me wondering whether I was supposed to know what qrates is (a company, it seems) and what their business is. Would have been good style to drop a few hints like “qrates, a company that specializes in the production of small batches of vinyl records for hobby musicians, is set on expanding its business to crowd-funding re-releases of out-of-print music.”

  • John Tuffen

    Ah, it seems that QRATES doesn’t have anything to do with the rights side of things, it’s up to the project-starter to sort that out: “Project owners have to bring official copyright declarations.” (See https://blog.discogs.com/qrates/ )