Qrates is a marketplace where artists can create vinyl records on demand directly for music fans. We had a chat with its founder Taishi Fukuyama who is based in Tokyo to find out more about the platform.
Tell us more about how the idea of Qrates came to life
All of the co-founders of Qrates have had various experiences in music and tech all throughout our careers. What united us to start Qrates was our love for vinyl for starters, and a common mission to make something that would positively impact the sustainability in the careers of independent artists. Having been on the receiving end of streaming royalties as artists and labels, we know that vinyl can really make a real difference for artists in terms of revenue, and to be able to do so through a beautiful format like vinyl that really celebrates the music is truly rewarding.
How does Qrates work?
Qrates is a self service vinyl platform for artists or labels at any stage of their career. We provide a one-stop service to press vinyl, make cassettes and create a storefront so artists can sell them directly to fans. All of the production management hassles, warehousing, shipping and customer service for your fans are built in, meaning artists can focus on the music. We can press as little as 100 copies for vinyl, 50 for cassettes and the entire production costs can be crowdfunded so artists have zero financial or inventory risk. You don’t need to sign up to try it out.
What is the best recommended way for artists to use Qrates?
By visiting our website and getting started! It is free and once you sign up and save a project, you get access to our back end which offers more insights into your project status as well as a direct message feature to get in touch with our internal support team. Whether you’re a seasoned label or making vinyl or cassette for the first time, you can rely on a team that will guide your each step of the way.
Are there any vinyl or cassette productions on Qrates that you’re really proud of?
I think one vinyl that we’re really proud of and was done recently is Wong’s Cafe from Vulf Records. Not only have they been pressing with Qrates since our beginnings but also recently exceeded their crowdfunding goal by over 5 times, which was a record for Vulf Records as well. We’re really proud of that and hope they are too!
What are the future projects at Qrates?
Some things we can speak on and share are our expansion to the EU and our warehouse now available in the UK to provide a bit more ease for our EU artists and their fans. International shipping can be tough so we’re helping make that a bit easier and accessible. Another thing we’re bringing to Qrates is cassettes and we’re excited to invite more artists to be among the first released cassettes on the site. It is a faster, cheaper, more accessible way for artists to make a physical copy of their music as we also only require a minimum of 50 cassettes versus the vinyl minimum of 100.
Thank you folks again and very excited to share Groover with artists on Qrates and beyond 🙂