Boutique Label Omerta Aims to Reunite HipHop & Vinyl, Two Records at a Time
publish date: 2017-04-20
A decade ago, at the age of 15, James Batsford and Sam Gilbert met at a Crystal Castles gig in London and immediately bonded over a shared love for music -- particularly vinyl, an appreciation they say their dads fostered at a young age. Now, 10 years later, the two have become business partners, having co-founded the first vinyl-only hip-hop label: Omertà Inc.
Launched in January of this year, Omertà's aim is to reunite hip-hop with its roots by making both mixtapes and albums that have never been released on vinyl available in their beloved format. The commodity’s resurgence over the past decade -- although incremental, vinyl sales have increased year-over-year since the mid-2000s -- allowed Omertà Inc. to go from an idea to a reality. "There’s a market for [vinyl] now," Gilbert tells . And now that Omertà is here, he and Batsford are laser-focused on their mission.
Year after year, the market for vinyl has become increasingly inviting -- in 2016, vinyl sales were up another 10 percent over 2015, according to Nielsen Music -- the format still only made up 6.5 percent of total albums sold. But Gilbert, 26, and Batsford, 25, are confident that combining previously-unreleased vinyl editions of rap albums along with mixtapes -- a previously-unprecedented venture -- is a strong enough selling point to succeed, despite how slim a slice vinyl sales are compared to the rest of the pie.