What a difference 326K contributors can make.
Discogs, the online vinyl and CD marketplace now in its 17th year, is today celebrating a major milestone: the site will log its eight millionth release. The benchmark was achieved with help from more than 326,000 contributors who contributed to compiling a massive database filled with release information, artists, images and more.
"We hit 5 million releases in 2015," said Ronald Rich Jr., the company's marketing director, in a statement. "It's crazy to think we’ve more than halved the distance to hitting 10 million in just 2 years. As the community’s collection grows so does the database."
Discog's most popular format is vinyl, which accounts for more than 80 percent of its sales even while cassettes this year have had a marked resurgence, growing 42 percent to more than 60,000 units. According to the most recent music sales figures for the larger market in the first half of 2016, vinyl sales jumped 11.4 percent to 6.2 million.
Discogs was founded by then-Intel programmer Kevin Lewandowski in 2000, who started it as a hobby to catalog his collection of electronic albums for which he cross-linked artists, releases and labels on a Pentium II server in his closet. The site slowly became a user-generated, wiki-like database. The platform experimented with ad revenue, paid subscription and membership models before 2007 when the site added a marketplace feature where users could buy and sell vinyl and and which led to something of a windfall.
Today Discogs has a staff of 50 and offices in Beaverton, Ore. and Amsterdam and expects its 2016 revenue to break the $100 million sales threshold. Its business model is similar to eBay or Amazon with the site taking 8 percent of sales which would mean $8 million in revenues last year.
With a database many independent retailers find indispensable, Discog's now claims 3 million users (although not all are active) and nearly 15,000 new users per week. The site gets some nearly 400,000 orders a month which would put it on pace for 4.8 million orders for 2016.
In October the growing concern acquired the Crate Diggers franchise, a live event where Discogs users and others can interface in real time and revel to various DJs and performers while purchasing vinyl.
"It’s really thanks to the passion of our users that we have been able to catalog the world’s music," says Rich. "The real thanks belongs to all the contributors out there that help give people access to music across the planet.”
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