Vinyl records, music and Dragons’ Den: The man who started in music at 13

From the BBC:  At 22 years old, Oscar Trap from Copenhagen is the world’s youngest vinyl pressing plant owner.

He started his career in the music industry nearly 10 years ago.

“I opened a record label in my dad’s name when I was 13 because I wasn’t allowed to have a company,” he explains.

“I got some support from my local authority which gave me a room so I could build a studio in there,” he tells Newsbeat.

Oscar’s record label’s unique selling point was that a band could record a demo in a day.

The idea allowed musicians to leave the studio within 24 hours with a demo in hand to send to record labels, a process that can take months.

It was such a successful idea, the Danish record label XXX bought the idea from Oscar.

“I got around 7,000 euros so as a 13-year-old kid. That is pretty impressive,” he laughs.

Oscar was in a band himself, and started touring – but he found life on the road very hard work for little financial gain.

So, forever looking for the next challenge, he went behind the scenes.

“I started working as a backline technician for Danish artists and found they are paid a decent amount of money for each job and I’m pretty good at my job,” he says.

A backline technician is the person who sets up all the equipment on stage and makes sure everything is in tune and working before the band plays.

He was still only 15 years old, so says he had a lot to prove to everyone around him.

“I’ve always been one of the youngest in every job but they actually had quite a lot of respect for me,” he explains.

“Of course you have to prove your worth but I guess you have to do that in the music business anyway.”

A vinyl record on a turntableImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionVinyl accounted for around a fifth of the total retail value of physical music in 2017

You might be wondering what his parents were thinking. Well according to Oscar they were very supportive “as long as I stayed in school.”

The story doesn’t end there. He opened another company, this time to rent out equipment like amps for touring bands.

Bands tend not to buy that kind of equipment because they only need it for short periods of time, but Oscar says renting it is “super expensive”, so he again saw the chance to make some money.

“I found out there was only one other company in Denmark doing that,” he says.

Then he spotted an opportunity in the vinyl business.

Sales of vinyl have increased dramatically in the last decade. In 2017, 4.1 million vinyl LPs were sold, the British Phonographic Industry says.

That’s the highest sales of vinyl since the early 1990s. One in every 15 albums bought in 2017 was on vinyl.

That extra demand puts pressure on the few existing pressing plants,

Oscar decided he needed to get his hands on a vinyl press, which wasn’t easy.

As soon as one went on sale, it was snapped up immediately, the demand was so high.

A vinyl pressing machineImage copyrightGUDMUNDUR ISFELD
Image captionOscar operating his vinyl pressing machine

He then heard about a Toronto-based company who had started building their own new vinyl pressers. But they weren’t cheap.

“First of all I went to the banks and when you are a 22-year-old kid asking for 300,000 euros, they turn you down easily and firm,” he says.

As you can probably guess, Oscar is not someone who takes no for an answer.

His next stop was Denmark’s version of Dragons’ Den – Løvens Hule (the Lions’ Den).

“I went to the presentation and I walked out with 250,000 euros,” he tells us.

A vinyl pressing machineImage copyrightGUDMUNDUR ISFELD
Image captionAnother of Oscar’s team works the vinyl pressing machine

“There were four on the panel, two said yes – well, three said yes but we turned down one because we didn’t want to have too big a team.

“I went to the bank and then it was pretty easy to get a loan for the remaining 50,000 euros.”

The dream now is to invest in another vinyl press, build a stage underneath the plant and a studio so that everything can be done in-house.

“If you’re really passionate about something and you can do that for the rest of your life then you will also find the confidence to do it,” advises Oscar.

“If you believe in yourself at some point you just don’t take no for an answer.”

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