30/05/2021

๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ’ฟ Games Freezer Interviews: BlipBlop VGM On Wax ๐ŸŽถ๐Ÿ’ฟ @blipblopwax #VideoGameVinyl #Vinyl

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Continuing my deep dive into the world of video game vinyl, I recently contacted Frederik at Blip Blop to get a fuller understanding of what they do over at www.blipblop.net 

Britt - For those who might not be familiar with your site and its purpose, can you tell us a little about how you started and what you do?


I bought my first game soundtrack on vinyl all the way back in 2011 - the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack. It was mostly because I really dug the music and thought it was a novel format (as I wasn't really committed to buying vinyl records back then). Then something happened in 2015 that really clicked - Data Discs announced their first releases - Streets Of Rage and Shenmue - and I thought it was a really neat idea to release game soundtracks this way. 


So eventually I started doing a little bit of research on Discogs and making a list of the game soundtracks on vinyl that I learned about. Eventually I found out about VGMDb (video game music database) who had a whole range of game soundtrack releases that couldn't be found on Discogs (back then at least, most have been added since by myself and others).


At some point it got annoying to keep track of things on various sites (including releases that weren't listed on either Discogs or VGMDb), so I decided to make my own site. It went live in July 2015 and included posts on new releases coming out with details on these, a handy list of all (known) upcoming releases, and a list of all the releases that exist (that I'm aware of).



Britt - Logging and notifying people of video game vinyl - including all releases, rarities and oddities - seems quite the undertaking! Can it get overwhelming with such a small team?


The site and social media isn't a team - it's just one person: me! Although I do rely on the community and some of the buddies I've made over the years a lot for timely updates, teasers and obscure titles. It can definitely get overwhelming. 


When I started out there was a fairly manageable few hundred releases out there in total and there'd rarely be more than one or two releases coming every month. These days there are typically multiple new announcements each week so it's a lot more work than it used to. I also got a kid back in 2018 which also means my time is a lot more limited now than back when I first started. 


Britt - Are you personally a serious collector of vinyl or is it more the logging of them for prosperity that drives you?


I was buying vinyl records well before going all in on video game music so it wasn't a sudden dive into things. It was more a progression of my already existing collection which is now about 2000+ records strong with almost half of it being video game music or related to video games somehow.


I believe the best way to get information on records is to have it in-hand where you can see all the information, listen to it, really get a feel for what kind of product you're dealing with, so the logging of them probably fuelled an already growing obsession with vinyl records. While it's definitely a "collection" at this point I also make a point out of listening to everything I buy. Records are still made for being listened to so it doesn't matter to me if it's an expensive rare pressing from Japan or a dollar bin beat-up copy of some weird 90s remix - they all get playtime on the turntable.


Britt - We originally got in contact over the 10inch record - Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Raven’s Saga - do you come across a lot of these releases, ones with scant information available?


I wouldn't say I come across a lot. Especially these days myself and other fans of game music on vinyl have unearthed information about a lot of different obscure promotional titles. But it's some of my favourite kinds of records to learn about as it essentially feels like discovering something hidden that not many people know about and - more interestingly - can't just be looked up online because no one has documented them well yet.


Britt - Are there records that you believe exist but have yet to find proof of?


It's been more the opposite actually - there's been a few releases that were thought to exist, but was eventually found out to most likely not have been released. There are a few Japanese releases from the late 80s that had been documented on VGMDb, but no-one I talked to had ever seen pictures. Only references in old commercials. For one in particular, another user on there did a great job at tracking down another commercial for that release only to find that they were not mentioning the vinyl release anymore - just the CD and cassette releases. There are a few titles back then that got cancelled as CDs were beginning to take over as the dominant format and even the titles that did get pressed are often hard to come by.


Another was for the indie game "Crouching Pony Hidden Dragon" which had a vinyl release up for sale from the developer's site back in 2012. However, the developer had a lot of issues with many of the products and ports and eventually folded in 2018. I've been told that some of their products were made but never shipped out. There's never been any actual pictures of the release so it's a bit of a Schrรถdinger's vinyl release at this point. Maybe it's sitting in a warehouse somewhere, maybe it was destroyed or maybe it was never even there.


Britt - I’m loving the resurgence of video game vinyl and especially interviewing the labels and folks involved, such as yourself. Are there some soundtracks that you’d love to see get a release? I still yearn for Landstalker, Road Rash 2, the Runabout series and Side Pocket.


There's a lot. I'm a sucker for PS1-era JRPGs - and Final Fantasy in particular - and that's still not very well-explored territory. Square Enix have put out a few vinyl releases of their own and it looks like they're beginning to focus more on vinyl releases, although I wish they were more open to work together with some of the many labels out there specializing in this. Same goes for Nintendo as that's kind of the holy grail of game soundtracks that's yet to be tackled (presumably because they are so protective of their IPs).


I could make a never-ending list, but I guess to put it broadly I'd love to see more Game Boy soundtracks as well as 90s PC game music as many games for those have not been given the love they deserve.


Britt - A few people I’ve chatted to have stated their thoughts on the ‘forced scarcity’ of some releases, does this also bother you?


This is a general thing being brought up in the vinyl resurgence and if it can be determined that it's forced scarcity, then yeah, I don't like that. However, I also feel that for video game vinyl there are a lot of factors that people forget to consider before they grab their pitchforks. Many of these labels and massive operations and can't afford to just drop a run of multiple thousand copies at once and sometimes there are licensing restrictions on how many copies can be pressed or for how long a label can continue doing pressing for a specific release. From the labels I've talked to it's quite evident that they are very passionate about their product and would like to get it out to as many people as they can. 


Forced scarcity is annoying, but I don't it's an issue (at least in video game vinyl) as much as some people believe.


Britt - You must have to contact a lot of individuals and labels to ascertain certain information, do you find them all open and receptive or can it sometimes be difficult to track down information?


One of the advantages of starting the site in the early days of video game soundtracks on vinyl catching on is that I got to cover a lot of the now established labels for some of their first titles. Labels have always been very supportive of what I do and I've been in touch with most of the dedicated VGM vinyl labels at some point and still regularly talk to many of them. Many of especially the newer labels are also active on various forums and it's quite easy to reach out to most of them to get answers to questions.


It typically means that I can quite easily get info for my posts directly from the labels - this sometimes also includes info on upcoming/unannounced releases so I can provide accurate info for my posts.



Britt - What has been your proudest moment as a site?


Celebrating the site's fifth anniversary last year. When I started it I was mostly just doing it for myself to keep track and I didn't think it was something I was actively going to work and expand on for more than 5 years. I was extremely happy to read how many people are using the site and are finding it helpful even after all these years.


Britt - What does the future hold for Blip Blop?


I have an exciting project that's been on hold since last year due to the pandemic, that I hope I can talk more about soon. But other than that, it's gonna be more of the same - news and info on video game music on vinyl.


Britt - Finally, how can people connect and get updates from you? I personally find your site quite invaluable, especially in terms of more niche releases from smaller labels.


They can find the site at blipblop.net and I'm also more or less active on most major social outlets @blipblopwax as well as on the VGMvinyl Discord server.


Again, a huge thanks to Frederik for taking the time to do this for us, www.blipblop.net is a huge, invaluable resource for those video game soundtrack lovers out there!


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