Music Business

The Hunt For Vinyl Record Presses

QRP_Logo2While we all know that record pressing plants are facing a shortage of presses, we also know that some plants are finding new presses somewhere, somehow. Mark Guarino at The Washington Post does an excellent job of finding out more about the pressures plants face seeking presses, parts and keeping equipment running. It's a "mo' money, mo' problems" situation until someone is inspired to make the leap to press production. But I think I have the solution.

The Hunt for Record Presses

Recently I speculated about the possibility of a record press Kickstarter in response to post-Record Day concerns about the difficulties record presses face trying to keep up with spiraling demand.

A few plants, like United Record Pressing, have been able to acquire additional presses. Mark Guarino reveals more about that hunt:

"United said its expansion was made possible because it had planned ahead, stockpiling old presses over several years.Other plants say word of mouth, odd luck, and a large bankroll have led them to their finds, usually abandoned presses left dormant once CDs took hold and became the dominant format. "

Chad Kassem, founder of Quality Record Pressings:

"searched both regionally and overseas and found many of his discoveries had already lapped the world, as far as South America and as close as Los Angeles. He says restoration costs totaled nearly $30,000 for each press. Then there are the infrastructure costs: cooling tanks, boilers, plumbing, and more. Today, his plant pumps out up to 6,000 records per day, over two shifts, five days a week."

Which brings us to another problem, those presses are getting overworked.

As Bob Roczynski, president of Record Products of America points out:

"That old machinery will continue to run if you change the parts, but at what cost? If you run a press 24 hours, six or seven days a week, there is one rule of thumb: You are wearing the machine out twice as fast."

And as Guarino was told, the likely price point of a new record press would probably be too high for most pressing plants.

So Which Big Brand Will Save The Vinyl Revival?

While a record press Kickstarter sounds kind of cool and grassroots-oriented, it's the big brands that have the money and they're spending it on music from emerging artists to big stars.

With international brick and mortar chains getting into vinyl sales, why wouldn't some big brand fund a special vinyl press project?

How much would it be worth to be able to say that you saved the vinyl revival?

And how much would it be worth to say you got the brand that saved the revival to make the connection in the first place?


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) recently launched DanceLand. Send news about music tech startups and services, DIY music biz and music marketing to: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. I think you are missing the point here..
    If you suddenly have huge mass production
    And huge high street presence if vinyl that would
    Take the whole hipster cool thing off the resurgence!
    Just leave it to the market and it’ll happen when it’s

  2. The market doesn’t really work that way.
    I’m not talking about mass production.
    And brands like Red Bull have participated in music in a variety of ways without killing it.

  3. So all of this is also before stores like Target get into carry vinyl releases and I’m glad that this issues is getting some coverage.

  4. I am a supplier and consultant to to the record pressing industry. In 2003 I installed completely new LP SMT automation on 5 old hydraulic presses for United Record Pressing in Nashville, TN.
    My company is capable of producing the complete SMT press for $197,000. Delivery will be 6 months from date of order.
    Please contact Donny Eastland 615-415-1711

  5. Since we started taking about this problem back in 2012 after making a for RSD it’ great to see it getting press of any kind and hopefully the owners of the existing plants and possible new ones will get someone to actually fund them since just about every investor we talked too laughed us out of the room when we said that we’re doing physical distribution; So what the plant operators must face can only be worse.
    One of the solutions I’ve heard for this particular problem was offered up by Bill Daley at Crooked Beat Records in DC. His idea was that someone like GM with it’s giant manufacturing capabilities should just go into production on base parts for plants.
    As for why to do this… I would also like to point out that over the last few months that physical sales are climbing up from 50 precent at start of the year to being 68 percent of sales according to Soundscan for weekending 11/30. While I don’t think it digital will stay this depressed (better digital offerings are coming) the thought that only making music releases in digital format has to be snuffed out of Indie artists noggins. Even if it goes back to 50/50 or down to 60/40 –why wouldn’t indies compete in the physical area even if it’s a CDs. Who only enters half a race?
    PS might want to check out it been around for a long time

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