Not the kind of thing we usually feature on our blog, but here’s a project on Kickstarter we think is worth backing. Just as it says on the tin, machina.pro of Australia are working on a DIY machine that will enable the user to cut vinyl from the comfort of their own studio. And if this product sees the light of day, it might well be a saviour for small studios and labels the world over. No doubt many working at the forefront of vinyl will be suspicious and who can blame them? They’ve spent years honing their craft and probably have no desire to see their trade given an entry level platform. But they needn’t worry. Machina pro themselves make no claims that their machine will be capable of producing “at a mastered / release level” so vinyl mastering specialists will not yet be shaking in their boots. But the need for a DIY vinyl solution is an inevitable outcome of the growing difficulties faced by small labels and this is probably the first step in a very long process that will in the end see studios being able to produce their own short run releases. While sales of vinyl have continued to rise steadily over the last few years – a trend that has most audiophiles and music collectors purring – this has not been accompanied by a rise in vinyl manufacturers. The story goes that in the 90s, when the death of the record was widely predicted, most studios chose not to replace their cutting machines and large swatches of the hardware ended up on the scrapheap. Still today, while demand continues to grow, there is a distinct lack of good quality manufacturers about, to the extent that many of the industry leaders can’t even take on new projects and when they do will only deal with larger orders. This makes thing incredibly hard for smaller labels who may only want 200 or so pressed. Finding someone who’ll do that amount is hard enough and even when you do, the costs involved mean you’re unlikely to do anything other than break even. And with so few pressing plants catering for this demand, the wait-time is challenging to say the least. Little wonder that most labels will opt for digital-only releases, even if it’s probably not the format of their choice. So good luck to the machina crew with their endeavour. It may be a long way off but we’ll be watching that space closely.