The record industry, and to an extent the entertainment industry as a whole, has been having a pretty tough time recently. Various factors, including the internet, have been blamed for the rise in piracy and steep decline in sales – to the point where the American Congress are trying to censure the web using the SOPA and PIPA bills (the video below is well worth watching if you're not up to speed on these two acts).
But, on a more positive note, it seems all is not lost. In 2011, there was a 39.3% increase in vinyl sales with over 3.9m records shifted. Obviously the final nail has yet to be hammered into the record industry coffin.
And it seems there are a multitude of technology startups that are doing their bit to enable the (legal) spread of digital music and its sales. There are too many to mention but; Berlin has SoundCloud, London has Mixcloud, Sweden has Spotify and now Montreal's viinyl have set out to do their bit.
The viinyl platform turns your song into an interactive website – a digital version of the 45rpm single with artwork and videos. viinyl sites are optimized to travel the web, engage fans, grow market demand for your band and increase customer loyalty using marketing techniques for the web.
viinyl currently only allows users to share single tracks or mixes, using SoundCloud, YouTube and Vimeo connectivity; but are planning on rolling out their version of the LP format in the coming weeks. As with the single viinyls, the LP format will focus on the visual artwork of each track and introduce the concept of a "visual playlist".
Each track is given a distinct URL and features large visuals (reminiscent of the artwork found on record sleeves), streaming or download options and artist information/ social links. Users have marketing and analytical tools to track how their tracks do and will also have the ability to search for music by genre and artists in the future.
viinyl may not solve the record industry's problems, but their vision of how the digital world could assist record sales – rather than prevent them – is a great one. It's free (although there will be a paid version once viinyl publicly launches), and it's extremely easy to use. So head over and create your account! Once you start spinning viinyl, you won't look back.