Many of you are patiently waiting for your vinyl copy of Promises. Below are answers to some of your most common questions. We’re incredibly sorry for these delays. Please know that your order is safe and we are working as hard as we can to get this music to you. Thank you so much for your patience and your support.
Why the delay?
The short answer is: we’ve received a truly overwhelming number of orders, plus we’re dealing with Covid and Brexit related shipping and production delays: bottlenecks at pressing plants, boats full of records taking four months to get from Europe to the US, and the general chaos of 2021. It’s a perfect storm that has not only made it incredibly difficult to fulfill your order in as timely a manner as we’d like, but also makes it near impossible to give you a precise estimate as to when your order will ship. Nevertheless, below are some very general, not-set-in-stone estimates that we hope will help clarify your particular situation.
I ordered a 180-gram vinyl of Promises from Bandcamp and/or the Luaka Store on or after release day (March 26 or later). When can I expect my order?
If you haven't gotten your record yet, it’s likely that you'll have to wait October. (We know, a drag, we are trying very hard to speed this up).
I ordered a standard vinyl of Promises from Bandcamp and/or the Luaka Store and haven’t yet received it. When can I expect my order?
May I please have a refund? I found a copy at my local record store!
Yes! Please email us at email@example.com and we’d be more than happy to offer you a refund (for whatever reason, assuming your record has not yet shipped.)
May I update my shipping address? I’m moving!
Yes! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your new address. As shipping times are unpredictable, you might also consider choosing the address of a family member or friend where you’re sure the record will land safely no matter when it arrives.
My friend got their record but not me. What gives?
In order to make shipping as affordable as possible for you and to try and avoid customs fees, we have a couple of fulfillment partners who are receiving and shipping records at different times and in different places. We are doing our very very best to ship out records in the order that they were received. Sometimes, though, depending on what you ordered and where you live, things can get a bit screwy. If your friend lives close by and Covid permits, we hope you might enjoy listening to their copy of the record together. Or just give them the silent treatment while you wait.
Does the 180 gram really sound better than the 140 gram (standard) vinyl?
Well, in a word, no. The whole 180 thing happened because it was a sign, at the end of the first vinyl era, that someone cared about all the steps of the vinyl making process, and there are a lot of steps. Nowadays, labels like us (and many others) really do care about getting you the best mastered and pressed record we can. So while the 180 is more limited and heavier and less prone to warping and gives you some bragging rights, we don’t think it will sound better, per se.
Was my order really on a boat that took over four months to get from Europe to the US?
Sigh, probably. Planes are not flying as frequently so everyone has had to ship by ship. Boats carry containers full of stuff and those containers, which are more in demand now, are all on this side of the world when they are needed on that side. Plus, the boat guys don’t really care if you have one or two containers of records if they have one hundred containers of TVs or cars or something else that takes precedence. So our records have basically been in a hitchhiker situation, waiting for a slot on a boat to get over here.
I ordered early and want to make sure I get a “first pressing.” Will I?
We can say with certainty that you will get the record you ordered in the order that you ordered it. Beyond that, here’s a more roundabout answer than you might like:
Books have a premium if you get a first printing. That idea has started to seep into the record world and it drives us a little nuts.
It’s one thing if the pressing is actually different in the way it is packaged, but it’s not like the old days when record pressing stampers made 15,000 records before being refreshed. These days stampers make 2000 to 3000 LPs, and if all the packaging parts are the same, the idea of a “first pressing” is moot.
Into the weeds...
You know there is a whole Hot Stamper movement, where people pay $100s if not over $1000 for a “hot stamped” record. This really only applies to very popular records pressed up until the mid-1980s. And it can make a difference in sound. Here’s why. The first few thousand records off a stamper do sound better, that’s why we now melt down and reuse stampers that have made that many. As I said, in the old days stampers made a lot more LPs before being melted down. Also, the whole record pressing process is mid-century manufacturing. The artist(s) and the producer go into a mastering ‘lab’ and cut the album into lacquer, using their ears and experience and great equipment to hopefully make a great sounding record. That lacquer is plated in metal to make a ‘father’, a ‘father’ makes a ‘mother’ and the ‘mother’ makes the actual stampers to make your record. In those days lacquers would be sent to plants all over the world on a popular record. And since each lacquer could only make so many fathers and the fathers so many mothers and the mothers so many stampers, on a very popular record someone would have to make a new lacquer. And that would often be made without the musicians or producer, just some guy maybe in the basement studio of a major label using written notes to recreate the first mastering. So in those times, first pressings and hot stampers all, could, make a difference.
When you are cutting the vinyl master there is always a balance between how much sound you can get on the record and having the needle jump out of the groove. Ahmet Ertegun, the head of Atlantic Records, got a copy of the newly pressed Led Zeppelin 2 record for his brother Nesuhi’s daughter. She had one of those cheap plastic record players and when she played the record the needle did indeed jump out of the grooves. So he had the record recut using a cassette copy he had of the master and all future pressings of Led Zeppelin 2 were from this as the source. (Until it was much later cut again from the original master tapes.)